If third-grader Piper Pritchard had a choice, she would spend all day in the new makerspace lab at Morningside Elementary School in Elizabethtown.
“I would choose makerspace over recess because we can create anything you want,” Piper said.
Piper worked with her friends Lily Eitutis and Carlie Humphries to use items such as Legos, Popsicle sticks and coloring utensils to complete tasks in the lab.
“It’s like science but having fun,” Carlie said.
Lily agreed, saying it was “better than recess.”
The third-graders worked in the lab Friday while the third-grade teachers cut the ribbon to the new space. Laura Beth Hayes, Wesley Hatfield and Lisa Eriksen attended a makerspace training over the summer, which inspired them to create a lab.
“(We want students to) experience, not just learn about science standards,” Hayes said.
Currently, the lab is open to third-graders, but they hope to open it to the entire school next year.
“This is just the start of a bigger vision,” Hatfield said.
A $2,500 grant from the Elizabethtown Educational Foundation helped pay for some of the initial supplies and technology. On Friday, the teachers received a surprise grant of $2,300 from the foundation. They said they’ll use the money to purchase more supplies and robots.
“We’re a little low-tech right now,” Hatfield said.
The teachers said the lab ended up better than they thought. They worked with engineering students at Elizabethtown High School to design the space.
The trailer where the makerspace is previously served as a classroom and teacher work area. The teachers and high school students transformed the space. It has several stations and is filled with supplies. Colorful gears decorate the walls.
In one station, students can take apart old electronics and complete a scavenger hunt for different parts. In another space, they can build with K’nex and Legos. In the middle of the room, students can work at a more low-tech station and complete tasks using items such as toilet paper rolls and tape.
Lana Hutson was working in the take-a-part station. She opened a toy calculator and found a circuit board. She said the device contained several screws, so she used a screwdriver.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Lana said, adding she likes exploring inside electronics.
Jackson Bickett said Friday was his second time in the lab. He was taking apart a toy truck.
“I like that you get to take stuff apart and see what’s inside,” he said.
Rylee Pritchard and Phoenix Bell worked in the K’nex station. They said their job was to build something useful.
Both said they liked problem-solving as they attempted to make their creations function. Phoenix built a cellphone holder and Rylee built a cellphone holder that could move.
“I love it,” Rylee said of the lab. “It’s really fun. You just express your feelings, hang out and build stuff. You get to present things to friends and listen to new ideas.”
Across the room, Landon Atcher was working on a Chromebook. He’s learned coding through a website on the computer.
He said he likes the lab because he has more space to work on his Lego inventions.
“I like to create stuff and use my imagination,” he said.