Essential Question: What are the rules for your makerspace?
While the focus and structure of my classroom makerspace is bound to change over time, I want to create rules which are applicable to the current vision. I feel this is important in keeping students focused on task-specific safety and as things change, we, as a group, can adapt the rules of the makerspace to accommodate positive and safe learning. Martinez and Stager (pg 161) discuss the importance of having a gender friendly space and style. Rules written by boys and girls often differ in their verbiage, so creating rules with the class as a whole can help make everyone feel welcome within the makerspace.
The way the rules are worded is also an important consideration for me. I want my rules to be conveyed in a positive and specific manner. David Bicard (2000) explains how a simple difference in wording can change interpretation and outcome of rules:
Positive rules focus on what a student should do and help teachers concentrate on helping students acquire appropriate and useful behaviors. Negative rules state what students should not do and focus teacher attention on student misbehavior. Positive rules encourage use of positive interactions, while negative rules promote using aversives and punishment. Because a teacher’s primary responsibility involves creation not elimination of students’ behavior, many educators have promoted using positively stated rules.
Specificity in rules helps students and teachers maintain the same expectations. Vague rules lead to misinterpretations, especially if any students in the classroom have language disorders or emotional or behavioral disorders. Kostewicz, Ruhl, and Kubina Jr. (2008) provide a helpful table which demonstrates the difference in wording between positive and negative rules as well as specific and nonspecific rules. As an example, a specific positive rule would be, “Raise your hand to gain the teacher’s attention.” The same rule, phrased in a nonspecific positive manner would be, “Be courteous.” In a negative specific form, the rule would be written, “No talk outs in class,” and a nonspecific negative form would be, “Don’t bother others.”
I will create general usage and safety rules for the makerspace with the help of my students. I love the idea of a makerspace “membership” with a document stating the rules and having students sign indicating their understanding and agreement. The SLO MakerSpace does a nice job of outlining the basic expectations of the makerspace user, so I would start with their rights and responsibilities and have students add any other specific things they feel would be needed for our particular classroom environment.
Member Rights and Responsibilities (SLO MakerSpace, 2013)
● Right to a safe work environment
● Safety is everyone’s responsibility
● Right to a clean shop
● Cleaning up is everyone’s responsibility
● Responsibility to report misconduct
Safety is a key concern, especially with younger students. All students using the makerspace area would be required to wear safety glasses. Because the classroom makerspace working space is limited, I would like to adapt a version of Michelle Hlubinka’s safety plan for all student projects which use materials which might be of risk to others. Hlubinka describes how a safety plan (what students will do to keep others safe when they exhibit their project to others) can improve situational awareness. “Safety plans make you and your students more confident that you are all aware of the foreseeable risks, considered possible consequences, and have taken all the precautions you could to ensure everyone’s safety.”
The three areas of focus in our makerspace (circuit building, construction, and textiles) differ enough that they should each have specific safety rules for their particular tools. For the circuit building station, students will be working with tools such as wire cutters and pliers which could pinch or cut fingers. They may also be using a soldering iron, which heats to a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, a potential source of burns. In the sewing station, sharp scissors and seam rippers create the potential for cuts, while pins, needles, and the sewing machine could puncture skin, especially fingers. An iron, used for pressing fabric, could also cause burns. The construction station uses a variety of hardware and tools, including nails, screws, glue, hammers, hand drills, and hand saws. Cuts, punctures, and crush injuries are all possible, even while using basic non-powered equipment. While I don’t plan on having any power tools when beginning my makerspace, there is potential that these could be added which would necessitate the need for additional safety rules to be put in place.
Bicard, D. F. (2000). Using classroom rules to construct behavior. Middle School Journal, 31(5), 37–45.
Hlubinka, M. (2013, September 02). Safety in School Makerspaces | Make:. Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://makezine.com/2013/09/02/safety-in-school-makerspaces/
Kostewicz, D.E., Ruhl, K.L., & Kubina Jr., R.M. (2008). Creating classroom rules for students with emotional and behavioral disorders: A decision-making guide. Beyond Behavior. Spring, 14-21.
Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Torrance, CA.
SLO Makerspaces Rules and General Safety. (2013, December 26). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://www.slomakerspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SLOMakerSpaceRulesandGeneralSafety.pdf