A laser engraver and sewing machine in the schools maker space. Teachers can use this room to enable hands-on learning for students.

Tucked between the robotics room and the woodshop sits a tall and deep room, lit largely by natural light coming through the glass back wall. It sits at the division between the preserved piece of old Franklin and new Franklin, and yet has no scheduled classes. It is the Makerspace, one of Franklin’s newest and least understood resources. Tim Itami presides over the space, having decked it out with posters of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The space is used largely by teachers looking to integrate more hands-on learning into their curriculum, like physics teacher Matt Stewart, who says, “design, creativity, and prototyping are all extremely important skills…Manual labor and customer service jobs are not as competitive as they once were and so we need to prepare our students for new skills.” With all sorts of tools from 3D printers to a sticker maker, the Makerspace houses a variety of creative outlets to make anything your heart desires.

The Makerspace is part of an initiative to provide a non traditional classroom

environment in which students can learn. According to Mr. Itami, one of the benefits of the Makerspace is that it allows a similar experience to the wood and metal shops for students who don’t have access to those spaces. It could also provide some materials and tools they may not have regular access to, like the 3D printers or the sticker maker. All of the modernized schools along with Marshall have a Makerspace, and one exists in all of the plans for future modernizations. According to Itami, the Makerspace at Marshall was similar to the Franklin one in terms of size and equipment.

Classes that use the Makerspace come from all departments and use the Makerspace for different things. Mr. Stewart’s physics class uses the Makerspace to make shoes to test the physics of impact absorption. He has also used the 3D printers to make classroom materials that he uses in day to day lessons. Scheduling is competitive as most departments use the space in some way or another, but other groups of people can use the Makerspace too. The space is open to anyone before school, after school, and during lunch, free of monetary charge. Itami says that he’s enjoyed every project that’s been made, so there’s no reason to not make something!

From front to back, two 3D printers and the sticker maker. Everything in the space is labeled with something made from the Sticker Maker.

From left to right, a laser engraver and a sewing machine. The Culinary Department will be using the laser engraver for future projects.