8 April 2024
Maker Backpack High Point School

Imagine giving your students the power to dive into the world of STEM wherever they go. Well, thanks to the RAILS “My Library Is…” grant money, our school library has launched the coolest initiative we've ever done - Maker Backpacks! Maker Backpacks are STEM kits that students can check out and utilize at home. The Maker Backpacks were carefully curated to spark students’ imagination and ignite their passion for STEM. From robotics to 3D pens, engineering activities to problem-solving challenges, and even simple circuitry – these backpacks have got it all covered. It's like giving our students a mini science lab they can strap onto their backs!

I strongly believe that learning shouldn't be confined to the four walls of a classroom, which is why I was interested in extending STEM education into our students’ homes. It's about so much more than just coding robots or doodling in 3D. It's about fostering creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills – all of which are essential for student success. We are not just checking out backpacks – we're handing out opportunities for exploration, discovery, and growth. 

I am managing the backpacks as I would any other library material. Each one is barcoded and entered into Follett Destiny, where students can place holds on the ones they are interested in. As with any library material, there is an expectation that lost or damaged items must be paid for.

I am seeing the impact of our new Maker Backpacks firsthand. Students who once may have felt intimidated by STEM are now diving in headfirst, with newfound confidence and enthusiasm. They love sharing the activities with their families and showing off the skills they have learned in the library. I am seeing sparks of interest turn into flames of passion, and it's nothing short of inspiring. I have been thrilled to see our students embark on a journey of exploration and innovation – one backpack at a time!

Check out our catalog of Maker Backpacks here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FgxxRxZMKXkZ47HxDFNLtpFTEO0vQ0DE/view?usp=drive_link

Today's blog post was written by Kristy L. Gilbert, School Librarian, at High Point School, Orland Park