Having a space to tinker, invent design and test

Makerspace opens, Literacy Night celebrated


As part of the initiative to institute a curriculum focusing on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM), Lawrence Primary School at the Number Two School officially opened their new Makerspace on Oct. 25.

Located in the school’s library, this space was designed to give the students, all first- and second-graders, a place to creatively solve problems together with less supervision from their teachers, while using mostly-recycled materials. “The teacher kind of takes a backwards step and observes the children creating, designing and making things,” Christine Moore, the school’s principal, said.

Makerspaces have been instituted this year after teachers and administrators spent the summer studying the merits and methods of the program. “STEAM ed. is really popular right now, reason is it really helps students to work together to solve their problems,” Moore said. “[The teachers] are amazed at the language of the children when they’re just left to create a design. Children that may struggle with math and reading in the classroom, here they shine.”

Projects have included creating a marble maze and building insects out of Lego blocks. Second grade teacher, Nicholas Flammia, helped Moore research the initiative over the summer and is excited to see how the program will evolve as students spend more time in the Makerspace. “What’s going to happen now is children will have to opportunity to just be creative,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about, tinkering, inventing things, making plans, testing them out and then redesigning them. I can’t wait for that part.”

Several families who had helped paint and decorate the area with their children attended the official opening. “We asked for help, and we thought that maybe we would get one parent,” Moore said, “this library was full.”

Jaimey Concenc, mother to second-grader Autumn, was happy to be able to help because she can’t attend most events held during the day because of work. “We were just copying, pasting and making colleges, it was really cool,” Concenc said. “We got to interact with the kids, they painted. It was fun.”

Following the ceremony, the families and teachers moved to the gymnasium for their Literacy Night play. Dozens of parents and students began to trickle in and sit down in front of the stage to watch the teachers act out the book, “Math in the Bath: (And Other Fun Places Too!).”

After the play parents had the opportunity to read a book the school provided to their children, before they were given a copy of “The Three Little Pigs Count to 100.” Lawrence School District Superintendent Dr. Ann Pedersen, wanted to help parents show their kids that math is all around through this reading initiative.

“We do as much as we can to engage the families,” she said. “It’s easier as a parent to reinforce reading, but to find ways to see the world mathematically is a little bit more challenging. This group took a nice spin on Literacy Night and embedded math into it.”