Students and staff members who use the makerspace that exists in your school or classroom should have the skills necessary to foresee possible safety issues and it is in everyone’s best interest to anticipate possible dangers.
Before your makerspace is in full swing, think about setting some boundaries and simple rules around equipment use. This article, Safety in Makerspaces gives many good examples of simple rules that will make an impact in a small classroom makerspace.
As the teacher, always look at potential problem areas and create short, memorable rules around what could go wrong. Take time to look at the materials and tools you are using in the space and how students are using them.
Although not all accidents can be prevented, a few critical rules before your students enter the makerspace can be effective at avoiding a mishap. Stand in your makerspace and walk through what your students will be doing. How will they access materials? How many students will be working in a group? Will they be standing or sitting? What will be plugged in? Are the cords for the items taped down or a hanging, tripping hazard? Minimize the amount of clutter and items on each table. It will get cluttered enough during the activity.
Also take a moment to view the room from your students’ perspective. From that viewpoint you may be able to isolate other problem areas.
Some rules follow the common sense that mirrors being in any classroom. Walk. Don’t run. Keep the chatter below “deafeningly” loud. Watch what you are doing. Pay attention to what others around you are doing. Listen and ask questions. It is okay to fail and learn from what doesn’t work.
This document supplied by the Government of British Columbia will help you model some training and documentation of your own, especially for an elementary school setting.
Set up your classroom venue for success as a makerspace and then engage your students in making and learning.