Minnewaska, MN students build leadership skills and community assets

August 18, 2017 |

Youth in west-central Minnesota spent a week this summer constructing Little Free Libraries for their township. Photo courtesy Jodee Lund

This summer, students at Minnewaska Area Schools had the opportunity to stretch their imaginations, learn new skills, create, and problem solve - all while helping their community.

Jodee Lund, Technology Integration Specialist with Minnewaska Schools, has invested significant energy into building a new Makerspace for the school, a place where, according to Lund, “students are free to create their own space with consideration and collaboration of other learners in any way they see fit.” The Makerspace serves a wide variety of purposes, but this summer, Lund hosted a week-long camp for students focusing on community-oriented projects.

“[In the Makerspace] we can give students real world problems, with real technology,” said Lund. And that’s exactly what students encountered during Makercamp. Tasked with designing “Little Free Libraries” for the township, students had to collaborate to create unique designs. They then voted on the designs and built them using the tools and technology provided in the Makerspace.

Students using the space not only learned valuable problem solving, leadership, and teamwork skills, they also strengthened their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) skills while working through the process of creating the Little Free Libraries. Additionally, the students collaborate with local businesses to source materials for the project.

Lund’s project not only incorporated STEAM learning and innovation, it also is tied to place: the end result of the Makercamp is not just a “cool” product, but a community asset. Students will be able to walk by their own creations, which will be placed throughout town for all to enjoy.

“Our Makercamp was a hit,” said Lund. “Our students loved the project.”

We’re certain the community will love these creative, thoughtful new assets as well!

Ms. Lund’s Makercamp is a project of the Rural Schools Collaborative’s Grants in Place program, and funded in collaboration with Minnesota’s West Central Initiative. RSC would like to thank West Central Initiative for their generous support of innovative, place-based initiatives in their region.
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