Lafayette Meadows pupils repurpose everyday items

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The maker movement is gaining momentum at Lafayette Meadows Elementary School.

Students in K-5 are making objects from scratch, using everyday materials and imagination, said Erin McKeever, the school’s art teacher.

McKeever and two other teachers have attended two full-day workshops on the maker movement. Physical education teacher Renae Jameson, computer specialist Jennifer Fritsch and McKeever will attend a third full-day workshop April 13. The workshops are presented through the Region 8 Education Service Center, which represents public, private and parochial schools in Allen and all or part of 13 other counties.

“We had a family night last year and the second year was even bigger and better,” McKeever said. That was Feb. 8, the same night as the science fair, she said.

“They’re helping us to bring makers to the Indiana standards, and also 21st century skills, which is a big push in education,” she said. “They’re giving us a lot of free materials, including books for literacy standards.”

Materials are mostly recycled items, such as paper towel rolls and battle caps, she said. “We make some duct tape pencil pouches and students are using them to carry their supplies in. That was one of the really popular ones,” she said. “It’s about having a purpose for something, and not just having something for a while and throwing it away.”

“We’re running a makers camp after school. It’s only for a few kids, but we’re making leaves out of toilet paper rolls, and when you’re done with them and paint them they look like they’re made out of metal,” she said.

McKeever said she believes the progress made so far, coupled with the workshops, will qualify the school to expand on the initiative with a grant from the Schwab Foundation.

Region 8 Education Service Center area – the counties of Adams, Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Grant, Huntington, Jay, Madison, Noble, North Miami, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. It also serves public, private and parochial schools.