Getting Back To Maker-Basics

My name is Elizabeth Mikeska-Benfield. I’ve been the maker-teacher-librarian at Wooldridge Elementary for the last 10 years. I love connecting literacy and creativity and giving students and teachers opportunities to stretch and grow through making!

How is it 2022?? This year and last have both flown and crawled by! I find myself playing catch-up all the time and decided it was time to get back to basics in our library makerspace.

Sometimes the best thing to do is stop and make something with your hands, so because Earth Day was coming up, I decided to pull out all of the saved up recycled materials (and garbage!) I’ve been collecting since the beginning of the pandemic (it was a lot!).

For the younger grades, we read a couple of sweet books about robots–then students created their own robots using the materials provided. The creativity that poured out of these kiddos into their projects was amazing and reaffirming that our kids are going to be just fine! The only instructions I gave them was to make a robot. We talked about different types of robots and what parts they might have–the rest was up to them.

The older students had more freedom in choosing what they wanted to use and what they wanted to construct. Many of them made cardboard games or items for school like pencil boxes or organizers. There were also lots of swords! The stories that they created to go along with their creations were wonderful.

This activity may seem simple, but the impact is HUGE! Students felt accomplished and excited about what they were creating. They had to problem solve and work with each other. They were so proud and wanted to share what they made. These creations could then be taken back to class for further discussions or even some storytelling!

So, as this year winds down–don’t forget that there’s always time to get back to basics and let the creativity flow. You don’t have to have fancy, expensive materials–just some recycled materials and a good book will get you there!

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