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Jan 08

STEAM vs. Makerspace: What's the Difference?

Posted on January 8, 2019 at 4:42 PM by Crystal Hicks

Welcome to our blog! We'll be sharing behind the scenes insights and information about all that we do at the Nac Public Library. First, we tackle the burning questions...What is STEAM and what is a Makerspace? Our public library is dedicated to sparking learning in all members of the community, from the very youngest to the most accomplished adults. We believe in lifelong learning, and we also know that we can come together as a community to share our knowledge and skills with one another. In that spirit, we offer classes, workshops, skill sharing, discussion groups, and all sorts of programs for all ages.

In an effort to offer science and technology skills to our patrons, we have developed two programs that have taken various forms as we’ve incorporated feedback and tweaked our methods. Both are geared toward a wide age range and are focused more on current skill/interest level and manual dexterity, rather than strict age limits.

STEAM for Kids provides an environment where children can become engaged in fun, hands-on learning activities in an informal setting. It is for all ages, but most attendees are between 6-10 years old. (Kids under 8 are accompanied by a guardian.) Research has shown that the majority of learning in the STEAM disciplines occurs outside of school, and that children learn better when they are in control of what they learn. STEAM for Kids offers lots of room for experimentation, and the activities are simple but introduce key concepts in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.

Makerspace aims to interest an older group (starting at age 10) that has mastered some of the basic activity skills, and it also has no upper age limit. We aim to encourage and enable people to try new things, learn by doing and build the confidence that comes from guided problem solving. New skills and concepts will be introduced, and then participants will be encouraged to stretch that knowledge to address problems and projects that are of special interest to each of them. The facilitator provides access to tools and skills, along with the encouragement to think creatively and strategically to apply their newfound knowledge.

We encourage any and everyone to attend one of our workshops. We strive to create a collaborative community of all ages who share a passion for making things and who are engaged in experimentation, innovation and creativity. Those who already possess the knowledge and skills we’re exploring may find themselves surprised and challenged by how others arrive at their own understanding and how old ideas may be applied to new efforts. Plus, we have a ton of fun and laugh a lot. We can't wait for you to join us!