In the Villa Park area, all schools but 1 have a STEM or STEAM lab. The focus has been to expose and prepare students for various vocations and careers paths. Villa Park Elementary has not been able to achieve this level of education due to lack of funding.
Maker Spaces and Stem labs are the necessity for education in the new millennium. To stay with the times and offer students all the opportunities possible, Villa Park Elementary (VPE) is working to build a "MakerSpace." MakerSpace follows the same structure as a STEM lab but allows for more vocation opportunities such as sewing and cooking. VPE is a K-6 elementary school that serves 640 students. We would like to offer our students the advantage to grow, learn and have opportunities to reach their goals or explore new ones.
Villa Park Elementary would like to elaborate on our Makerspace. Currently the space is set up in the library with a "mobile" space. VPE has a cart with tools and materials that the teachers and student roll out when it is "Maker Club" time. When time is over they must put everything away and as the space is needed for library. VPE would like to create a permanent space for the MakerSpace education. The school has a space in mind for a dedicated Maker Space. It is an area of 16'X16' giving us 256 square feet of workspace. This would be a wonderful space for students to work freely and store a project safely.
Villa Park Elementary has an enrollment of 640 students. Currently there are 45 upper graders (grades 4-6) and 35 Lower graders (grades 1-3) that are in our Maker Club. The upper graders come in and work on projects such as robot design, computer programming, sewing and designs for a 3d prints. Currently most of them are enjoying taking things apart to see how they work. With the lower graders, they have more specific projects. They construct them as a group and then practice with the results. The Maker club students are very motivated and rarely miss their Maker Club time.
For the students to grow, VPE needs to expand and have some dedicated supplies. Currently the Maker Club is running from donations of unused items donated by the school community. Any supplies they need, the teacher is purchasing herself.
VPE has many needs to move the Makerspace forward. Not having a dedicated spot now creates quite a challenge. For the new space, they would like to have a Makerspace where students could drop in and work when they have free time. To do this, they are in need several things.
Maker Space and Stem Lab are the tools of the future. Many surrounding schools have a stem lab or Maker Space. VPE would love to be competitive and perhaps surpass the expectations of Maker Space. VPE would like to offer after school programs and open our doors for students to explore their potential.
VPE currently has 6 touch screen computers and some tools to currently function. To grow into a functioning space, VPE would like to create a designated space with tools and supplies such as a 3-D printer, tools for Arduino, electrical components, and robotics.
VPE also encourages Rotarians from different Vocations to share and teach from their own experiences. This will help the kids understand more about that friend of study and be better prepared for their own futures.