An Update on Philadelphia School Makerspaces Funded by Crowdfunding - Generocity Philly

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Oct. 20, 2014 11:41 am

An Update on Philadelphia School Makerspaces Funded by Crowdfunding

Last May, Generocity.org interviewed two Philadelphia-based teachers about how they were using crowdfunding to create makerspaces for students in their schools. Here’s an update on how both teachers have gone on to create successful maker spaces: Klint Kanopka at the Academy at Palumbo High School Klint Kanopka, a physics teacher at the magnet school Academy […]

Last May, Generocity.org interviewed two Philadelphia-based teachers about how they were using crowdfunding to create makerspaces for students in their schools. Here’s an update on how both teachers have gone on to create successful maker spaces:

Klint Kanopka at the Academy at Palumbo High School

photo 1 (1)Klint Kanopka, a physics teacher at the magnet school Academy at Palumbo, received a grant to start a robotics team at his school. The makerspace is now the headquarters of their team, the Palumbots.

The space has also gained 10 computers for 3D design, Arduino programming and research from the Samsung Solve For Tomorrow contest. Kanopka noted that he also won a Shapeoko 2 CNC mill.

“[It] has been really frustrating to get working, but is going to be huge for the robotics team, because it will allow us to custom mill aluminum parts for our robots,” he said in an email.

They’ve also been using tools creatively to keep the space functioning and maintained in light of all the budget cuts and shortfalls affecting the school, according to Kanopka. For example a counselor at the school was in a serious accident, so he used the tools from the space to turn one of the doors in her office into a dutch door.

“I also taught a student how to use an angle grinder so he could cut old locks off of lockers. A few students and I modified a locking cage to secure a room on the 5th floor for computer storage and use. Another girl used the drill press to build flag holders for our graduation last year,” he added.

Kanopka said that his classes have been large this year — noting that one class had 42 students– but that he’s still excited to get them into the space.

“I’m excited to start getting more classes into the space and using what’s in there as well as train other teachers on the proper use of the tools and space once there’s furniture,” he said.

Kanopka added that he’s going to be putting together another DonorsChoose project to get some work tables and stools for the space, because right now it’s full of tools but lacking furniture.

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Michael Franklin at Chester A. Arthur Elementary School

Michael Franklin said that his workshop, dubbed the “Wildcat Workshop,” is coming along well.

“We have received the bulk of our materials ordered through Donors Choose and, between an event with NextFab, the Donors Choose project, and additional donations, we managed to raise nearly $8000,” he said in an email.

The K-5 students at Chester A. Arthur visit the workshop as a class for hands-on projects geared toward the science curriculum for each grade. Also, the school’s 6-8 graders are finishing up making cars made from household materials that are powered by a fan.

“They are aiming to make the most efficient car (cost of materials per foot of distance traveled),” said Franklin.

He added that the students have been using their sketchbooks, professional grade drafting tools, and Prismacolor markers to lay out their designs on vellum.

“There is still plenty of work to do to get the space where we want it, but it has been very exciting and the vast majority of students are really gravitating to the classes,”  Franklin said.

Images c/o Klint Kanopka and Michael Franklin

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