New MakerSpace Club Added

NASHUA – November 28, 2016 – In a recent tour of the newly dedicated MakerSpace area with Nashua Catholic’s 7th grade math teacher and Director of STEAM, Dean Winkelmann, it was impossible not to share his enthusiasm for the school’s newest club, MakerSpace.

In a small, nondescript room with goggles on the door, no chairs, wooden pallets, and boxes of seemingly useless materials, he shared his vision of an eco-friendly MakerSpace, where students will use common materials to engineer, create, and invent.  As he darted from one side of the room to the other, he added that Nashua Catholic’s MakerSpace program would be reusing, repurposing and recycling materials for their projects, and he proudly held up the grates from a fan they used on a recent project, saying that they would be used for another project soon!

When Mr. Winkelmann approached Nashua Catholic’s Principal, Mrs. Glenda McFadden, over the summer about the idea of starting this new club, she eagerly responded positively, and asked when they could get started.   Mrs. McFadden added that, “Combined with classic education, programs such as STEAM and MakerSpace allow students to think creatively and to succeed in what is now a very technical world.”

With a sparkle in his eye, Mr. Winkelmann remarked, “The idea of MakerSpace has been sprouting in schools and cities across the nation, and we are excited to be one of the first middle and junior high schools in New Hampshire to include this club.  MakerSpaces are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. They often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more.”

Many school schedules are full with traditional curriculum, and art, shop, and home economics classes have been eliminated.  Nashua Catholic’s MakerSpace allows students to use skills learned in the classroom in a creative, hands-on, student-initiated environment.  Students can create and build things as an extension of many of the lessons used in the classroom.  They will use ratios and trigonometry, answering the age-old question of ‘when will we ever need to use this’ as well as art, science, and faith.

As one of Nashua Catholic’s newest clubs, student response was overwhelming, and the students got right to work creating a Lego board, constructing a robot table, naming a robotic mascot, and using pegboards to hold tools.  The club members are both 7th and 8th grade girls and boys (about ½ and ½) and have a variety of interests.  The thought of joining a club that allows them to collaborate and solve problems as a team is appealing to this next generation of students, and the chalkboard in Nashua Catholic’s MakerSpace room is often filled with notes, ideas, and drawings.

The students are currently working on a paint spinner, using an old fan, floor tiles, and other materials.   Next they will be creating LED pins to welcome families to the fall admissions open house (November 15, 2016).  Other projects will include programmable robots, building air-propelled rockets using CAD and their new 3D printer, as well as artistic crafts using crochet, art, and paints with new and recycled materials.

As the interview was nearing an end, Mr. Winkelmann couldn’t help but add, “MakerSpace is a new way of learning where student involvement is more important than teacher instruction. Teachers are here to guide and fuel the student’s imagination.”



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