Related topics

NDA Takes Makerspace on the Road

December 10, 2017

TYNGSBORO -- When the Academy of Notre Dame created a Makerspace area over the summer, officials knew demand was there from students. What they didn’t know was that the tech enthusiasts, tinkerers, hobbyists and future engineers would be able to take their show on the road so soon.

One recent weekend, several NDA students and families presented at the Mini Makers Faire at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Nashua, N.H. Now in their third year, Makers Faires are part of a nationwide weekend during which experts, groups and individuals come together to share ideas and creativity in the science, technology, arts and design, engineering and math fields -- otherwise known as STEAM.

The academy students were one of nearly a dozen groups throughout the store.

Fifteen STEAM and Makerspace students participated by bringing their projects, which included compost columns, super-strong shelves made from paper-towel and toilet-paper rolls, handmade model airplanes with motorized propellers, games made with electronics and programmed by Scratch, jewelry boxes, such games as a ring toss, and 3-D aliens made from the school’s 3-D printer.

“The energy and enthusiasm of the students was radiant, as each member discussed his or her project,” Principal Elizabeth O’Connell said. “It reminded me of the quote once written by Emily Pilloton: ‘Let’s build the change we wish to see.’”

NDA offers a STEAM course to all students grades from K-2 through 8, as well as a Makerspace course once a week to grades 4 through 8 in the new Makerspace area. Also, two days after school, students may sign up to continue their work in the Makerspace on any project they want as long as it is appropriate, and the tools and materials are available.

During the Mini Maker Faire, adults and children who visited the academy’s tables were fascinated by what each of the students put together.

“We plan to expand our tools and materials over time,” said Randall Adams, Academy of Notre Dame president. “We recognize that established and emerging companies are strongly encouraging schools to engage students in STEM and STEAM curriculum. There is a higher and higher demand for graduates of college who have learned to improve our nation’s technology and engineering abilities.”