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TEA Time Creates Collaborative and Creative Learners

Last year, the fourth grade students of Castleman Creek Elementary would have never expected to be using robots in their school library. However, thanks to the generous grant provided by the Midway Education Foundation and named in honor of Blaine Spradlin at Farmers Insurance Group, students at Castleman Creek Elementary School have received the opportunity of a lifetime to work with robots and a 3D printer in their very own makerspace.

The grant entitled “TEA Time,” (Technology, Engineering and Application), incorporates every learner in a unique setting. Students learn in three different ways in this makerspace: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. This distinctive setting allows each individual student to learn in the best possible way for them. A makerspace is a space where students use a selection of different tools and technologies in order to join together to create, discover, learn and think critically.

“The students are super excited about the new makerspace. We named it ‘The Forge.’ They love coming in and doing different activities and learning how to use the new equipment. Every week they come to the library they ask, ‘Are we doing the makerspace this week?’ Morgan Sauer, Castleman Creek Elementary School Librarian, said.

This grant has directly impacted the lives of 614 K-4 students, as well as 35 K-4 teachers by allowing them to engage in a new environment that encourages and fosters new ways of creative and critical thinking. Students are able to be both independent and collaborative learners as they engage learning about technology and engineering.

Morgan Sauer, Castleman Creek Elementary’s Librarian, observes students interacting with the ozobots.

As technology improves each year, it is important for schools, teachers, administrators, and most importantly, students, to engage with new types of learning through utilizing makerspaces. Students are able to create whatever they want, which will not only help them learn more about technology and engineering, but also help them learn more about themselves.

“The greatest result that has come from TEA Time is exposing these students to things that they would probably never see. These students come from all different backgrounds and have never seen an “Ozobot” or a 3D printer. They love learning how to use all of this equipment and thanks to this grant, these students have this opportunity,” Morgan Sauer said.

Beginning in January, classes were able to go to the library and use the makerspace for the first time. Morgan Sauer hopes to expand and continue to grow this new area to where teachers can eventually reserve the makerspace. The kids enjoyed their first time in the makerspace and look forward to the different projects and new technologies they will be experiencing in the years to come. The kids are anxious to see what new projects they will soon encounter with the addition of the TEA Time grant.

The Education Foundation supports the Grants for Great Ideas Program through general donations. To contribute to this program, visit the website at www.midwayisd.org/foundation or call their office at (254)761-5614.