Maker Space area provides hands-on learning
J.C. Lyell, Staff Writer, [email protected]
South Harrison Community School Corp. students now have access to industry-standard tools, machines and training equipment used by manufacturing and agriculture professionals.
The corporation has transformed and upgraded a northwestern wing of Corydon Central High School into what is now called the South Harrison Maker Space and Vocational Agriculture Area.
A maker space is an area designed to encourage students to create things using modern technology and hands-on processes, said Ben Spencer, industrial arts teacher at CCHS.
“Learning occurs in a maker space through experimentation and trying new technical processes,” Spencer told attendees at a dedication ceremony and open house for the space before the corporation’s December board meeting last Tuesday. “A maker space can include any number of different ‘maker’ tools, including CNC (computer numerical control), 3D printers, screen printing, injection molding and numerous other tools/processes intended to channel students’ creativity.”
In addition to renovations in the school’s metal- and wood-working shops, the adjacent agriculture studies classroom has expanded its curricular capabilities with several new models and simulation technologies. These include: animal systems kits with horse, cow, pig and chicken models; a cattle hoof model; beef injector and cattle artificial insemination simulators; a cow milking model; and more.
The corporation has also purchased five new microscopes, plant cell models and a plant cell science kit for the classroom.
“All of the models create a hands-on learning exercise for the students to go more in depth to exceed the learning standards in the department,” said Whitney Sauerheber, agriculture instructor at CCHS.
She said the new equipment will allow students to have direct experience with aspects of animal and plant/soil science careers in the classroom without having to leave the school.
As part of the upgrades, the classroom was also outfitted with new lab and instructional tables, seating and storage cabinets.
Spencer said inspiration for the maker space started with a 2018 visit by administrators, board members, teachers and community leaders to Maker13, a professional co-working space in Jeffersonville with many similar features.
That trip, coupled with a needs assessment that identified under-utilized space in the shop and agriculture area at CCHS, led to a “Revitalization Project Proposal” that was approved by the board last spring.
Spencer and Sauerheber, along with a handful of students from their classes, drafted the proposal.
The total cost of the project came in at roughly $175,000, said SHCSC Supt. Dr. Mark Eastridge.
Spencer told the board some parts of the renovations were able to be completed in-house using the new equipment to save costs.
For example, students refurbished tables by flipping over the old table-tops from the shop, applying a new finish and laser-engraving SHCSC and CCHS logos onto them.
Spencer said the new equipment puts the school corporation ahead of much of the state in terms of vocational experience offerings.
“I don’t know of another school that can do what we can do now,” Spencer said. “We now have everything we need to teach kids all sorts of concepts and principles.”
Besides CCHS students, third-year engineering students from South Central Junior-Senior High School travel to Corydon Central to take computer integrated manufacturing, using the maker space regularly.
Currently, the space is to be used exclusively by students and staff of South Harrison high schools, though Eastridge said the board may choose to open it to the public on occasions once supervisors become more comfortable with the equipment.
As a fundraiser for the program, the CCHS Industrial Arts Club and shop classes will sell wooden holiday ornaments created using some of the new equipment. The ornaments can be customized with laser-engraved text and are sold for $5 each. Visit https://forms.gle/skBUWPrQtbb7fLCa6 to place an order. Checks should be made payable to CCHS. Ornaments can be picked up at the main office at the high school.
All proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to the Sonny Hardin Memorial Endowment fund at the Harrison County Community Foundation, which directly benefits students in the school’s shop program and Industrial Arts Club.
Photo by J.C. Lyell