Most of us have no idea how our computer works or what tool you would need to fix one – and worse, no way to explain the mystery of modern technology to our kids. A group called GR Young Makers is out to change that. Recently about 150 6th graders from Godwin Heights were invited to find some answers to how things tick by taking things apart. A number of teachers volunteered to assist the students at the Grand Rapids Public Museum in an event called “Take It Apart Day.”
Robyn Bowles, Director of GR Young Makers, says the mission is to provide hands-on project-based learning opportunities for students and educators. The group has already visited classrooms in Jenison and Godwin Heights to introduce students and teachers to ways that science, math, and social studies can come together to help kids learn.
Lori Barr, 6th Grade Teacher at Pinewood Elementary in the Jenison Public Schools District says her students take things apart that would have ended up in a landfill and in the process learn about ecology and, “the mechanics involved…how electrons are involved in magnetics. So many things we’re learning about in the 6th grade are applied right before their very eyes.”
Director Bowles says the group is an extension of GR Makers, a company that operates like a community tool shop and design studio to encourage people to try out ideas that may require expensive or hard-to-find tools and explore entrepreneurship. The GR Young Makers focus, however, is on students, educators and other community members.
One of the founders of GR Makers, Casey Du Bois, says, “This ‘take-it-apart’ thing has really taken off. We’ve got lots of free stuff so we’re hoping to be able to encourage other schools to do this.” The GR Makers have received hundreds of free tools from sponsors that make the GR Young Makers program possible as well.
So if you would like to fix a mechanical problem that can’t be solved by switching batteries, check out the GR Makers and think about inviting the GR Young Makers to visit your school. For more information contact https://www.grmakers.com/