Looking for That Perfect Teacher Gift? Here’s One

Area educators explored makerspace kits in a workshop earlier this fall

For Lee Elementary parents having a tough time figuring out what to get their child’s teacher for Christmas, skip the hand lotion and send them on an exploration with your child. It’s an easy way to give: just donate to the school’s “makerspace” classroom dream.

The school wants to transform its computer lab into a place where students can explore, create, invent and collaborate in a technology-rich environment, all within the educational approach called STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics).

“The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experimental learning, persist in problem-solving, enhance collaboration and work through the creative process,” says Angela Jefferson, Lee Elementary principal.

Plans are for the makerspace to include a 3-D printing station, Lego center, arts and crafts, Little Bits (an award-winning kit that introduces students to online inventing), Strawbees (a toy that lets students create structures with straws), a Skype center, deconstruction station and more.

Teachers, students and the technology department have provided input on the project, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to building the lab. Grants for it have been awarded tothe school, but it still needs money to make the dream happen.

Here’s how you can help:

The school’s goal is to have the space operating by February.

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Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio

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