We demonstrated the procedure for making the bows, which involves cutting a magazine page into strips of different lengths, twisting the strips, and layering them. Then it was time for the Makers to create their own from a pile of old magazines. They quickly discovered that brightly colored and boldly patterned pages make for the most interesting bows. While this activity takes a bit of time (especially when several kids are sharing just a couple of glue sticks), we noticed that the Makers were able to use this time to converse and get to know each other. Some groups shared insights as to how to twist the strips “just right,” and others just chatted about school and their weekend plans. And that’s a big part of makerspaces– sharing, collaborating, and hanging out as a community.
The Makers came back together as one group and we demonstrated some “best practices” for wrapping presents, using a simple box for the example. Then we issued a wrapping challenge. The kids could choose to wrap a regular box, cylindrical tubes, a stapler, a closed-up umbrella, or a woven straw cornucopia basket (naturally, this was the most highly-coveted object). The Makers practiced their geometry skills in deciding how much paper they might need, and practiced their problem-solving skills when they started wrapping with too much paper. All of the objects got wrapped successfully, and we discussed the challenges of wrapping objects without any right angles.
It was great to see how well the kids responded to a low-tech activity, and to see how they are broadening their perspectives of what a makerspace can be!