The Story of C.R.E.A.T.E.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Where is the Makerspace?

As much as we concentrate on tape, glue and batteries, none of these are necessary for a makerspace. 3-D printers are what we might show-off to visitors, but ours is easily the least used item in CREATE. I'm infamous in my family for turning coffeeshop tables into workshops with salt shakers, sugar packets and straws. A makerspace is a creature of imagination.

A catered-space makerspace
Recently, we were asked to demonstrate what we're doing in CREATE at our district's first State of the District presentation. Out of the two-hour ceremony, we were allotted 30 minutes. We brought 30 "design challenge boxes" packed with tape, scissors, box cutters and more, two two-student video crews and five members of our Mouse Squad to show the local movers and shakers how it's done. Oh yes, and a first-grader to serve as our emcee.

The Design Challenge boxes, stacked and ready to go. (Note the blue tape Sphero track on the floor.)

As soon as the boxes hit the tables, the energy in the room skyrocketed. The attendees went from listening to speeches to building "dogbone" shooters on their linen-covered tables.

I think we made our point.


  1. What did you put in the boxes? What was the design challenge? I'm looking for ideas to help our teachers grasp the concept of design thinking & tinkering in anticipation of our maker carts in the fall.

  2. The box contained scissors, a box cutter, rubber bands, masking tape, duct tape, a plastic driving cup a plastic spoon, a pencil, a sheet of paper and a ruler. They also got a wire clothes hanger.

    The design challenge was as follows:

    Dog Bone Slinger Design Challenge


    The city of Mousopolis is in big trouble once again now that Dogzilla’s puppies are free! The Big Cheese and all the other mice must find a new way to keep the puppies away from their precious city and, of course, the Second-Annual Barbeque Cook-Off! They decide to create the incredible Dog Bone Slinger to run the pups far, far away from the city. The only problem is that the mice don’t know how to build it.


    In your assigned groups, you will help the mice design the most incredible Dog Bone Slinger. Using the design loop and the materials below, create a machine that is easy to operate and will fling dog bones as far away as possible from the city.


    Box cutter
    Rubber bands
    Masking tape
    Small cup
    Duct tape
    Clothes hanger
    Plastic spoon


    Test out your design and make any needed adjustments.
    Once your design is at its very best, your group will present to everybody.
    We’ll put all of the designs to the test and see which group’s Dog Bone Flinger could shoot the bones the farthest away.

    Mark Loundy

    Instructional Technology Specialist
    Google Certified Educator, Level 1
    De Vargas Elementary School
    Cupertino (Calif.) Union School District