District Embarks on MakerBus Project

What is the Maker Movement?  Sweeping schools and educational institutions nationwide, the Maker Movement inspires students to create without limits. 

After the implementation of a student-designed Maker Space at the Intermediate/Middle School two years ago and elementary STEAM carts last school year, Ephrata Area School District officials are ready to take the Maker concept on the move with the creation of an elementary MakerBus. 

“We value learning opportunities for our youngest learners to work with their hands and experience trades at an early age.  The MakerBus is the next step in providing these types of opportunities,” said Dr. Brian Troop, District Superintendent.

“When students have success working with their hands or ‘making,’ we believe they are more likely to see themselves in a trade later in life,” he continued.

Once completed, the MakerBus will travel to each of the four District elementary schools for students to experience hands-on, project-based learning.  The MakerBus will offer students learning opportunities beyond the classroom and inspire students to create and work collaboratively.

“We also realize not everything can be measured on a test.  Programs, materials, and learning opportunities –  like a MakerBus – are a direct reflection of our Life Ready Graduate profile that aims to prepare students and measure success beyond traditional markers,” concluded Dr. Troop. 

Plans are currently underway to begin the complete transformation – interior and exterior – of a traditional school bus into a MakerBus.  EHS students are working alongside District teachers and staff to repurpose a donated school bus to include a variety of hardware, technology, craft supplies, and an exterior vehicle “wrap.”

Additionally, Astro Machine Works Inc. is a project partner and will be working with students and staff through each phase of the project to offer support with the planning, design, and construction.  Not only will EHS students’ ideas guide the plans for the MakerBus, working directly with professionals from Astro will give students an authentic learning experience outside of the classroom. 

Approximately 100 students have shown initial interest in working on the MakerBus project, which is scheduled to be completed in March 2019. 

Funding for the project is being provided by the Ephrata Area Education Foundation.  To learn more about the Foundation and the programs they support, visit www.EphrataEducationFoundation.org, call 717-721-1598, or e-mail foundation@easdpa.org.