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Crafton Elementary School gets Mobile Makeshop studio

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

They're getting crafty at Crafton Elementary with a Mobile Makeshop studio.

The Mobile Makeshop is the outreach arm of the permanent Makeshop exhibit at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. Crafton was one of five sites in the tri-state area chosen to receive a Makeshop site.

The Makeshops focus allowing children to design and build with “real stuff” — woodworking, circuitry, sewing and digital media.

“The whole maker movement is really big, but I think tapping into school and libraries is a great way to tap into it even more,” said Crafton Elementary principal Jacie Maslyk.

The Mobile Makeshops are part of an outreach initiative by the Children's Museum.

“As part of our ongoing desire to work with schools and community centers, we'd done a little bit, but we want to ramp it up,” said Makeshop manager Rebecca Grabman.

The prototype was launched during the summer, she said — Makeshop curators went to 30 schools and libraries throughout the area to test the idea of a mobile Makeshop site.

“We went where we were out in the community to see how the stuff we do can be applied to these locations and audiences,” she said.

The second phase involved choosing the five Mobile Makeshop sites and helping the venue create their own spaces. The museum provides each site a Makeshop curator for one day every week — “So we're not just dumping them in the deep end,” Grabman said.

“They'll be assisting and educating and working with the teachers to get used to these things,” she said. “They'll be helping them in thinking about how to use the supplies. The teachers will be thinking about how they can apply them to their lessons.”

For their part, Maslyk said, the teachers are excited. A one-week workshop was offered during the summer to teachers from the Makeshop sites demonstrating all that can be done with the sites, and Maslyk said the teachers were enthusiastic.

“The excitement in the teachers made it so clear to me how this is going to benefit the kids,” Maslyk said.

“The teachers look at things with a really creative eye. When teachers are thinking that way and designing lessons that are more engaging – I think we need kids to get exposed to those kinds of things.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@ribweb.com.

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