New Makerspace will enhance learning, creativity and critical thinking for WES students

Watervliet Elementary School will soon have the ability to expand hands-on learning activities with a brand new Makerspace thanks to an Innovation grant awarded by Capital Region BOCES School Library System!

As a recipient of the grant, the elementary school will receive a customized mobile Makerspace cart complete with components and materials that will provide opportunities for K-6 students to imagine, create, explore and discover through hands-on learning activities and projects related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“We have been building a small makerspace for some time, which until now has consisted mostly of arts and crafts activities,” said WES Principal Kelly Webster. “The ‘mobile innovation cart’ will enable us to add a STEM component to our makerspace offerings. We plan to work with our K-3 STEM teacher to build on what she is doing and further explore some of those concepts with students during weekly library time with tie-ins to books and stories. We will then expand our offerings to the grades 4-6 classes during library time.”

Mrs. Webster added that the cart offers the flexibility to bring the Makerspace to classrooms and not be limited only to when the library space is available.

“Our plan is to schedule time to collaborate with teachers and bring the Makerspace to them to enhance classroom instruction,” Mrs. Webster explained. “This would include using it as part of the ‘Hour of Code’ week and other digital initiatives that engage students in real-world applications of the code that they are creating.”

The Makerspace cart includes materials for robotics and coding, circuitry, and design and build projects. The Innovation grant also provides a full day of professional development for educators to learn how to use all of the materials and Makerspace activity guides that are included with the cart.

WES is one of 15 local schools awarded an Innovation grant, which has a value of more than $3,500. WCSD library media specialist Allison Novotarski wrote and submitted the grant on behalf of WES.