Meet the Young Makers: Stewart Middle School Makerspace

maker portraitHeading up our Young Makers area is Diana Rendina, of Stewart Middle Magnet School, where she’s spent the last year developing the school’s library Makerspace and becoming the go-to expert in Tampa Bay and beyond, on all things school makerspace related.  We’re  very happy Diana is part of this year’s Gulf Coast MakerCon event.  She tells us more about her work and progress at Stewart Middle School here.

GCMC: Who are and what do you make?

DR: I’m Diana Rendina, and I’m the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School in Makerspace in actionTampa, FL.  Over the last year, I have created a Makerspace in our library to give students an informal learning environment to explore STEM topics in a fun, relaxed way.  Students in our Makerspace can build, tinker and explore with a variety of materials.  They’ve built arcade games out of cardboard, trebuchets out of LEGOs and designed remote controlled cars with littleBits

GCMC: Why did you make it?

DR: I created this Makerspace because I wanted our library to play a part in the STEM theme of our school and because I saw the value in creating interactive, hands-on learning spaces for students.

GCMC: Why do you think it’s important and worth doing?

LEGO wall girlsDR: There’s so much focus on rigor and testing in our schools now, that little room is left for creativity.  I’m hoping to build a culture of creativity and discovery in our schools, one LEGO brick at a time.

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

DR: I’ll be bringing some of my students, who will share some of the projects they’ve made in our Makerspace.  We’ll have a lot of our Makerspace tools available for people to tinker with at our booth.  You might get to drive Sphero around the room, or make Playdoh into an electric circuit

GCMC: Will else will folks be able to do at your booth?

DR: In addition to tinkering with some of our tools, we plan to have a couple of make-and-take activities where you can make something to take home with you.  You can make your own personalized GulfCoastMakerCon button and hack a bookmark with paper circuits.

GCMC: Why should folks come out to a maker festival?

DR: Gulf Coast MakerCon is a great opportunity to meet amazing people who love to create things.  It’s a chance to see fantastic projects and try your hands at all sorts of cool activities.

GCMC: What’s so great about making stuff?

DR: Making stuff is awesome because it gives you the chance to personalize something and make it your own.  It gives you a sense of pride and confidence to know that you can create something that has value to you.

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Come check out the great work the students at Stewart Middle Magnet School are doing in their makerspace, and get inspired!

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