Helping students to develop their creativity and to attempt creative solutions to problems is one of CAS’s goals in education. To help inspire students and allow them to independently pursue their more creative sides, CAS has opened two after school “Maker Spaces.” With the help of a generous grant from the Arizona Rural Activation and Innovation Network (AZRAIN), students now have a place and the tools they need to work on their creative projects.
At the CAS high school, a Maker Space has been developed in Mr. Ofstedahl’s (aka Mr. Oh!) engineering lab that includes four 3-D printers, a 3-D scanner, laser engravers and a 24” color plot printer. The high school center is open to students grades 7-12. Students can drop in any time after school to use the equipment and get help with projects they want to work on.
In the grade school, Mrs. Santiago is coordinating the Maker Space for students in grades K-6 which now includes access to a plethora of art supplies, crafts, electrical circuit kits, Lego and other design kits. Several teachers are helping out in the after school Maker Space including Ms. Gacek, Ms. Bush, Ms. Blagg and Mr. Grymko.
“It’s more of the maker mindset of creating something out of nothing and exploring your own interests that’s at the core of a makerspace,” said Mr. Oh! These spaces are also helping to prepare students who need the critical 21st century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They provide hands on learning, help with critical thinking skills and even boost self-confidence. Some of the skills that are learned in a makerspace pertain to electronics, 3D printing, 3D modeling, coding, robotics and even woodworking, Makerspaces are also fostering entrepreneurship and are being utilized as incubators and accelerators for business startups. “We extend a huge thank you to AZRAIN for allowing us this opportunity to continue to better serve our students,” said Ofstedahl.