School brings 'Star Wars' to new 'Collaboratory' room
By DANIELLE DESISTO
Dec. 21, 2017
TABERNACLE, N.J. (AP) — The Force is strong with students at Tabernacle Elementary School.
Ahead of the release of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" on Friday, students in each grade level designed and began crafting mobile makerspace carts paying tribute to their favorite intergalactic characters: Darth Vader, C-3PO, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and BB8.
In traditional makerspaces, teachers bring their students into a community room stocked with tools handy for interactive projects. Tabernacle Elementary unveiled its "Collaboratory" room this year, which features a smartboard, 3-D printer, dry erase workstations, and countless supplies, like glue, markers, Popsicle sticks, sketch pads, yarn and paint. Classes have access to the Collaboratory once a week, but teachers will be able to reserve the mobile makerspace carts any time.
So called makerspaces in schools are becoming more popular as a spot dedicated to hands-on learning.
"These spaces are also helping to prepare those 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," according to makerspaces.com.
Modeling the carts after Star Wars characters — each has large wooden shapes on either side meant to look like the movie icons — just added to the fun of Tabernacle's efforts.
"We're big Star Wars fans at this school," said Principal Jerry Paterson.
Students put in requests for the kinds of materials they'd want on each grade-specific cart, many of which were donated by the community or recycled from other projects.
"It's a great utilization of materials that otherwise would have been thrown out," said Collaboratory teacher Brittany Murro. "The possibilities are endless."
Crafting the carts also has been an engineering lesson for students, from tracing the wood shapes to drilling them to the cart. The project should be completed in early January.
Third-grader Kyle Koengetter was excited about the project inspired by his favorite movie characters.
"It's really cool that we can make makerspace carts for us," Kyle said.
It can be challenging to build crafts, but second-grader Charleigh Devereaux knows just what to do when she makes a mistake.
"We try again," Charleigh said.
Information from: Burlington County Times (Willingboro, N.J.), http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com