Students from Perry Lower Intermediate School presented their work in the Wolverine Makerspace Workshop to the board last Thursday. If the seven 4th-graders are representative of their entire grade, then enthusiasm for the workshop is near unanimous.
The Wolverine Workshop, which allows students to work with 3-d printers, CAD and robotics, was added this year at Perry. Currently, students spend about one or two hours once or twice a week tinkering, experimenting, and building under the direction of instructor Scott Setzenfand, who was hired in the summer.
However, if the students had their say, most of the school day would be spent in the workshop. In addition, their learning curve is faster than anticipated.
“Their ability to use tinker CAD is way beyond what I thought they could do by this time of year,” Frank Keally, principal of Perry, said.
The seven students, Serena Bryson, Zoey Charmo, Matthew Gebhardt, Logan Holsinger, Kaylee Shriver, Erica Summa and Brayden Wojtkiewicz, began their presentation by describing the engineering and design processes they use and showing the Board some of the items made in the 3-d printer.
The students ended their presentation by asking in near unison, “Will you consider letting us have a Wolverine Workshop in fifth and sixth grade?”
The Ellwood School District administration intends to add a makerspace for Lincoln and Hartman, however this may not be done by next year. The administration and technology faculty is currently working on a proposal to the board for increased support in the technology department, which includes hiring a new teacher.
The value of the Wolverine Workshop extends beyond using technology and student enthusiasm. The workshop allows students to direct their own learning and most importantly, experience failure.
“We learn a lot from failing, and we don’t allow our kids to do that enough,” Keally said.