Middle school students use Makerspace at summer camp

Middle-school students from Thousand Oaks use drills to place screws for an art project at Moorpark College. The activity was one over three days that involved the campus Makerspace and staff.

Thirty middle school students from Thousand Oaks engaged in four Maker Space projects at Moorpark College during the week of June 11 – 14. The students designed and fabricated a woodworking project using plywood, 2×4 pieces of lumber, cordless drills and screws.

The activities were part of the college’s first Summer Enrichment Program. The program exposed the students to the college’s faculty, campus and select programs. Other disciplines involved in the camp included gamed design, theater arts, criminal justice, kinesiology, engineering and America’s Teaching Zoo.

On the first day of the camp, the students used wood burners to create customized name tags out of 3 inch by 5 inch pieces of birch plywood. They also visited a computer lab where they used graphics programs to design labels that were later cut out of vinyl and transferred to metal water bottles.

As their first activity, middle school students from Thousand Oaks design and burn wooden name tags for use at the Moorpark College summer camp. While half of the group worked with wood burning, the other half used the Makespace vinyl cutter to customize metal water bottles with their names.

They designed key chain fobs for output on a 3D printer on day two.

But most popular was a two-day project in which the students worked in groups to decorate a 2-foot by 4-food piece of plywood with screws and yarn. But before that project could be completed, each team got to design a stand out of three pieces of lumber. Teams started with paper designs and then moved to popsicle stick prototypes.

On day two, the teams translated the prototype into instructions for full-sized projects. During the session, each student received training on proper drill usage. While Makerspace staff members handled the 2×4 cuts on the compound miter saw, the students used drills to drill pilot holes, link parts with screws and place screws according to their designs. In the final step, students strung yarn from the screws to create designs. One group created a large representation of the Snapchat ghost, complete with two red hearts. The other groups worked on fashioning a Moorpark College sports jersey with the No. 1 and a rainbow of different colored yarns.

Middle school students use popsicle sticks and glue guns to design prototypes for stands that were later fabricated using standard pieces of lumber. After completing the prototypes, the groups each considered the options and selected one for completion.

For the Makerspace staff, this was a test run for a potential free standing camp in Summer 2019. Makerspace Coordinator Clare Sadnik, an art faculty member who has extensive experience working with summer camps, wants to take the experience from this summer and translate it into a maker’s camp next year.

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