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The Foundation is sharing stories from grant and scholarship recipients to show how funding makes an impact. Hear how MCPASD staff, teachers and students are using their grants and scholarships, and see how your dollars make a difference!

Sauk Trail Librarian Ann O’Rourke and Advanced Learning Specialist Amy Galassi received a $1,000 grant to expand the school’s Makerspace project in 2017.

They started a Makerspace with a grant in 2016 and used this grant to purchase more materials.

Sauk Trail Librarian Ann O’Rourke

The Makerspace philosophy embraces process-oriented learning and open-ended activities. Sauk Trail students participated in daily Makerspace activities during lunch-recess.

“The program was designed to incorporate three areas of Makerspace: exploration, challenges, and make and take,” O’Rourke says. “The grant money was spent in three major areas: manipulatives, consumables and storage.”

The Makerspace philosophy embraces process-oriented learning and open-ended activities. Sauk Trail students participated in daily Makerspace activities during lunch-recess.

Sauk Trail purchased items including marble runs, Magnatiles, Code and Go Mouse and art supplies. They also purchased the Foldify app to allow students to create 3D objects by folding paper and a building kit called MakeDo to allow students to create objects out of cardboard.

O’Rourke saw an immediate impact on student learning, especially for English-language learners and students with special needs. “We observed an increase in perseverance, problem solving and team work,” she says. “Students were excited to come to Makerspace. It was engaging and fun. Due to the open ended nature of Makerspace, our special needs and ELL students were able to find success when participating due to the emphasis on kinesthetic and visual learning.”

Advanced Learning Specialist Amy Galassi

She would like to expand Sauk Trail’s Makerspace. “We hope to continue to add materials to enhance what we already have and to integrate more technology,” O’Rourke says. “We would love to have a more permanent space; currently we have our materials on a rolling cart.”

The program benefited students in several ways. “Challenge Days allowed students to work together to problem solve, and Exploration Days gave students an opportunity to create, design and manipulate materials in new ways,” O’Rourke explains. “Make-and-take days gave students an opportunity to participate in an open-ended activity making something they could take home and share with their families.

“We recommend offering some sort of Makerspace to all students in the MCPASD as well as trying to find more time in the schedule to allow more time for students to go deeper with this experience,” O’Rourke says.

MCPASD staff, teachers and students who are interested in applying for an Education Foundation grant or scholarship can contact Perry Hibner. To donate to the Foundation, use the link on our donations page or mail a check to MCPASD Education Foundation, c/o Perry Hibner, 7106 South Avenue, Middleton, WI 53562. Thank you!

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