Liggett students experiment with pop-up makerspaces

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 17, 2015

 Spencer Lukas and Billy Kopicki take part in the Maker Event and Spaghetti Dinner.

Spencer Lukas and Billy Kopicki take part in the Maker Event and Spaghetti Dinner.

Photo provided by University Liggett


GROSSE POINTE WOODS — University Liggett implements hands-on learning throughout the curriculum, which is why tackling the makerspace movement is right up its alley.

The popular makerspace movement, according to a school news release, involves “community-operated spaces for people to work on projects, learn new skills and experiment with new ideas.”

At Liggett, they’ve launched a pop-up makerspace project. Families stopped by to check it out during a program March 10 where they could work side by side with the students. 

“The makerspaces — set up in different areas of the school — offer activities such as bridge building, HTML programming and sewing,” the school stated in a news release.

During the program, parents could tackle projects in the makerspace locations with their children to get a better understanding of what makerspaces are and how they can benefit student learning.

“It’s helpful for parents to participate so they can really understand the kind of work we’re doing in education these days,” Middle School Head Jim Brewer said.

The possibilities when using makerspaces are vast, according to school officials.

“You can just create and design and tinker around,” he said.

It’s fun and “little do they know, they’re learning along the way,” he added.

It’s a new concept that they’re introducing to the middle school students with possibilities of expanding it to all grades.

“We as a school want to get to the point where we have a dedicated space,” Brewer said.

In the makerspace, students can build a bridge using newspaper. They can create paper roller coasters or even stop-motion animation using Legos.

“The makerspace incorporates the academic world and expands on it,” Assistant Head of the Middle School and Middle School Dean of Students Shaun McTigue stated in a news release. “It allows students to use their creativity, try new ideas, learn new skills and build upon their interests.”

Experiential learning isn’t new to the school. Liggett has implemented other ways to allow students to learn through doing, rather than passive learning. History is one example.

“They learn to become historians by doing the work of historians,” Brewer said.

“Kids can reach a deeper level of understanding when they’re actually doing the work,” he said.