Locust Grove’s New Makerspace Sparks Curiosity

Model bridges from recycled materials, rain shelters, model boats, weathervanes and windsocks for a wind study, cloud creation – these are a few of the new hands-on STEAM projects students are working on this quarter at Lancaster Mennonite.

On Lancaster Mennonite’s Locust Grove campus, this new Makerspace is helping students explore their creativity and solve unique problems. PreK- 8th grade students now have Makerspace class every week. The space is filled with drawing materials, recycled materials, playdough, Legos, a 3D printer, robots, iPads, LittleBits and a workbench full of tools.

The concept of a “Makerspace,” providing students access to 3D printing and other creative technologies, is revolutionary, and Lancaster Mennonite has worked to create Makerspace on its New Danville campus in 2018. With a grant from the High Foundation, and the vision to re-vision the traditional library space, the Locust Grove campus is now able to provide their students with this unique space as well.

Makerspaces are designed to encourage creativity in students and give them the resources to develop their own projects to address the problems that they see in the world. In a rapidly changing social and economic environment, flexibility and innovation is key to success, and working in a Makerspace gives students hands-on experience with creative thinking, teamwork, and collaboration –and having fun as they do so.

Students at Locust Grove, from PreK to 8th grade, will have a chance to work in the Makerspace once each week. With guidance from Locust Grove’s Art and Makerspace teacher Jenna Longenecker, students explore engineering projects this quarter. In the coming quarters they will explore integrations with science and math, as well as technology-rich lessons (including coding, robotics, and electronics lessons).

In Lancaster Mennonite’s faith practice statements, we aspire to be a school that “enables students to live a life of curiosity, wonder and mystery as they join with God to bring the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven!” Providing opportunities for expression and innovation such as Makerspaces to our students fulfills this statement, helping them use their God-given talents to the fullest.