This fall, I.S. 145, the Joseph Pulitzer Magnet School of Innovation and Applied Learning, will premiere its new makerspace as part of the school’s mission of teaching students 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, information management, and problem solving. The Jackson Heights-based middle school received a federally funded magnet grant from the United States Department of Education. Ellen Darensbourg, the magnet-project director for this grant, worked with the school to bring the makerspace to life.
“The makerspace acts as a fabrication lab in that it allows students to make, create, innovate, and do a variety of things related to wood-working, carpentry, 3-D printing, [and] digital design,” Darensbourg said. “[Students] will be able to work with electronics, [and] they can essentially create and build anything that they want in that room.”
She highlighted how the school’s focus on applied learning will impact the students’ experiences with the maker space.
“[Students] are making connections to real-world skills [and] they’re understanding how what they’re learning applies to the real world, either through social innovation, through leadership, [or] through service learning,” Darensbourg said. “They understand the world in a way that then allows them to apply solutions to real life problems.”
Darensbourg noted how the school’s makerspace will set it apart from other magnet schools, saying that students will create “innovations that will improve the lives of people around the world.”
She highlighted one instance in which students read a story about the “lost boys” and then came up with ways that could’ve made the characters’ lives easier, such as creating better shoes for them to protect their feet or making rescue emergency backpacks filled with items they would need.
“Whereas before, they were simple prototypes that they were making, the makerspace now allows them to bring some of this to life,” Darensbourg said. “So the students have begun to utilize the space on a very basic level because it’s not completed yet, but we already are beginning to be able to see that students are able to use technology and electronics in order to make some of these [inventions] come to life.”
A grand opening and ribbon ceremony for the makerspace is set to take place in early fall.
For more information, visit the school’s website at http://www.145innovators.com, or call 718-457-1242.
Main Image: I.S. 145’s mission is to teach students 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, information management, and problem solving. Courtesy I.S. 145, the Joseph Pulitzer Magnet School of Innovation and Applied Learning