The Makery® is the first dedicated Elementary (K-5) Science classroom in Maranatha Christian Schools (MCS) history. MCS will be opening the makerspace to the public during an Open House and Info Night event, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 15.

At the event, Maranatha Christian Schools will share information about MCS’ overall educational program with a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) emphasis. In addition to an Elementary Open House, the event will include a Junior High and High School Info Night.

MCS will be opening its doors for the public to see its new elementary science classroom, The Makery,® which opened at the start of the new school year in September of 2017. The makerspace is one of the many projects that resulted from a strategic plan to re-evaluate the school’s mission in 2014. Since the launch of the plan, MCS has been committed to enhancing the sciences across all divisions.

The plan to build The Makery® was two years in the making. Administrators identified the growing trend towards elementary STEAM programs, and carefully researched a smart solution that would integrate smoothly with the opening of MCS’ new high school building in 2017. The new high school structure, complete with two STEAM labs, allowed extra space to be made available for the elementary STEAM program, and paved the way for the vision to become reality.

Special features of the room allow smooth integration of technology and learning including a teacher’s rolling task chair with sit/stand presentation station, a LEGO® wall for creative play, a ‘Think Tank’ wallboard for generating fresh ideas, interlocking floor mats for individual work or group play, and a variety of rolling tables, utility carts, and whiteboards (that double as room dividers). These elements play a key role in flexible and fast collaboration while also allowing students to quickly break back into independent learning.

Since The Makery® opened its doors, the classroom has been a huge success. Elementary students were extremely excited about the room and were featured in a touching ‘Thank you’ video dedicated to the parents. The video captured the elementary students as they bubbled over with enthusiasm over The Makery,® talking about all of the amazing things they were going to learn about STEAM in the new room. In a recent poll conducted by the teachers, students overwhelmingly said their favorite part of the school day was when they were in The Makery®.

MCS teachers are excited about the possibilities of elementary students seeing the joy in science in this new venue, “No longer are the students doing experiments that are done step by step,” said elementary teacher Mrs. Werner, “but the students are asked to solve real and relevant problems. The students love it!”

MCS will continue to expand its overall STEAM offering by launching its first high school engineering program next year. The classes will roll out in sequence, featuring multiple courses over time. The first class will be Engineering Design, a full year course. Students will work individually and in teams to solve problems using 3D modeling software.