Kennedy School to Launch Makerspace/Innovation Lab

  
School partnering with Lesley University Graduate School of Education to create hands-on learning space focused on Science and Inquiry-based learning

 

Somerville, MA – The John F. Kennedy School is preparing to open a Makerspace/Innovation Lab next month, working in partnership with the Lesley University Graduate School of Education. The launch of the Kennedy School Makerspace/Innovation Lab is strategically aligned with the start of the “Hour of Code” week during the second week in December. Plans are under way for a Welcome Night for families as well as a ribbon-cutting event for the grand opening, tentatively scheduled for early- to mid-December.

 

“We’re very excited to be launching a space that will offer students a creative educational environment where they can gather to create, invent and learn,” said Kennedy School Principal Mark Hurrie. “This is a remarkable project that was driven by an incredible group of community members and partners who are committed to continuing to work tirelessly to make this project a reality for our students.”

 

“As a district, we are so excited to be unveiling the first Makerspace in the Somerville Public Schools, and fully anticipate that there will be more to come,” added Superintendent of Schools, Mary Skipper. “We hope this space serves as a source of creative inspiration for educators from other schools in the District as we continue to work together to make our district an exceptional place for students to gain the skills they need for lifelong success.”

 

Kennedy’s Makerspace/Innovation Lab will be located in what is currently the school’s Science Lab, and will be designed to further support Science education by providing all students with exposure to 21st century skills and creative learning opportunities that promote critical thinking. The focus will be on providing structure and support for Science and inquiry-based learning in a 21st century Makerspace STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) environment. The partnership with Lesley University will include assistance with design and build-out of the Kennedy School Makerspace/Innovation Lab, as well as ongoing coaching from trained Lesley faculty to co-design 21st century STEAM learning projects with Kennedy teachers during the spring.

 

“Ultimately, we believe that a Makerspace designed for K-8 students naturally ignites creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving among children and helps develop 21st century skills,” stated Principal Hurrie. “Whether engaging in simple programming with KIBOs (robot kits) or Scratch, or complex kinetic art sculptures or 3D printing, this Makerspace/Innovation Lab will provide both students and educators with the opportunity to be involved with activities and resources that fully support STEAM content and practice standards.”

 

“The real beauty of this project is that it was community-driven. Makerspaces are designed to inspire inquiry and creativity in a collaborative environment, and this project exemplifies the importance of thinking creatively and working together to accomplish a goal,” added Superintendent Skipper. “I’m excited about the kind of teaching and learning opportunities that this space will offer, and am so appreciative of the community’s commitment to bringing this project to fruition.”

The genesis of the Kennedy School Makerspace/Innovation Lab was the Kennedy School Improvement Council’s (SIC) strategic goal-planning process in the spring of 2015. The SIC is comprised of representatives from various school stakeholder groups including parents and guardians, staff members, and school administration. During their planning process, the SIC identified two important goals that led to the discussion of a school-based Makerspace as the kind of space that would enhance the school’s educational mission. Those goals were (1) expanding the school learning focus beyond English Language Arts and Math to Science, and (2) providing access to all students to engage in 21st century learning. The SIC worked in partnership with the Kennedy School 21st Century Technology Integration Committee, which also consists of parents/guardians and staff members, and Lesley University partners to develop the final plan and the following mission for the new learning environment.

 

Mission of the Kennedy School Makerspace/Innovation Lab

The Makerspace/Innovation Lab will be a resource-rich space that will take on a multidisciplinary approach to encourage Kennedy School students’ development of 21st century skills as well as information and communications technology (ICT) literacy. It is our vision to connect learning to real life and to ultimately prepare students to respond better to a future that is yet to be defined.

 

Parents or community members interested in assisting with setting up the Makerspace/Innovation Lab in the next two weeks are asked to contact Principal Mark Hurrie at mhurrie@k12.somerville.ma.us.

 

 

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