2014-2015 Makerspace Wrap Up


On the end-of-year survey, students were asked to list six adjectives to describe Makerspace.

Whew!  It has been another incredible year in the GCAA Makerspace.

Highlights include:
-7th & 8th graders in our Make, Hack, Play class designed games & hosted a Caine’s Arcade-style carnival attended by GCAA 6th graders.
-7th grader James S. designed & presented his game, The Neighborhood Ninja, at the STL Global Game Jam.
-8th grader Renny M. was awarded honorable mention in the Global Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge for her Melt Top invention!
-In May, Makerspace students exhibited over 100 different projects in the first ever GCAA Makerspace Demo Day – which was covered by Alive Magazine.

Caine's Arcade Carnival (Fall 2014)

Caine’s Arcade Carnival (Fall 2014)

By nature of four new courses being piloted in the Makerspace, my primary focus this year was prototyping new curriculum.  Skeleton outlines for each course can be found here, though because design thinking guides all of our work these will definitely be iterated upon for the upcoming year.

As we kickoff 2015-2016 and iterate the Makerspace curricula, my guiding star will be #documentation (HT: Steph Grimes at the Digital Harbor Foundation). There are so many incredible things that happen each day in the GCAA Makerspace, and design quality soars when students have an authentic audience for their work.  Stay tuned for new initiatives in 2015-2016 that will include digital student portfolios, student guest blogs on this site, and a GCAA Maker Faire!

The #MakerEd ecosystem is thriving in St. Louis.  Three years ago, the GCAA Makerspace started as the first school-based Makerspace in St. Louis.  Now there are over twenty-five in the region, with the St. Louis Science Center cutting the ribbon on its Makerspace last week.  The energy here is palpable.  I’d bet that St. Louis has the highest density of #MakerEd facilities in the country.

Click for an interactive map of K12 MakerEd in St. Louis.

Click for an interactive map of K12 MakerEd in St. Louis.  (c/o: Drew McCallister)

It takes a village, and building the GCAA Makerspace has been a team effort.  We’re so fortunate to have amazing support from students, staff, administrators, families, and community members.   To our GCAA families – thank you SO much for keeping our shelves stocked with your perpetual Makerspace Junk care packages delivered to the office almost daily, including invites by Dianne Gray to “shop till we drop” our way through vacated houses full of potential maker supplies.  We’re also grateful for the financial support from The Disruption Department that allowed us to upgrade the space to version 2.0 this past October.  Special thanks to Erich Vieth who two years ago said, “We need to make a video to explain this Makerspace concept to parents better!”  That video now has almost 10,000 views!

Grand Center Arts Academy is a grades 6-12 public charter school open to students throughout St. Louis City & County, and still has openings for 2015-2016.  For application materials or to schedule an arts demonstration call 314-533-1791 or visit our website.


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