Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Timberwolf Design Den - A Makerspace for Wolf Canyon

This school year Wolf Canyon Elementary transformed Room 703 into the "Timberwolf Design Den" through a collaboration with CVESD district leaders and the Qualcomm Corporation. At the start of the school year, Dr. McLaren decided to take the important first step of dedicating one classroom as a permanent location for a Makerspace on campus, and assigned Wesley Garcia, the school's Resource Teacher, to begin the research and launch the project.

A partnership was soon forged with Mr. Michael Bruder who runs the Innovation Station at the Chula Vista Public Library, and this relationship led to an official sponsorship of the project by Qualcomm's Thinkabit Lab. Several Wolf Canyon teachers also joined the effort to bring the vision to life, with Mrs. Marlys Williamson leading the way. She played a major role in getting the room ready for the grand opening on January 18, 2018 which took place during Science Night so students and their parents would be able to participate in the exciting event. Mrs. Williamson also came up with the name "Timberwolf Design Den"--and it immediately felt right.

Perhaps the most inspiring aspect of this journey has been the generous support we've gotten from others. The Design Den has received a wide range of monetary and equipment donations from various members of our Wolf Canyon community, and recently, the PTA voted to commit a yearly contribution to Design Den. Wesley Garcia authored Donorschoose.org projects for the first two phases of the Design Den, and these immediately garnered support from generous donors from within and beyond our local community. Then, as a blessing from above, both projects were fully funded by Mr. Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, within a week of being posted!

Teachers and students have now begun to venture into the Design Den and discover the joys of creativity and collaboration that the space is designed to foster. Recently, 1st graders constructed "Leprechaun Traps", 5th graders worked on inventions to help the homeless, and teachers engaged in collaborative "Easter Egg Challenges" inside the Design Den.

The future looks bright for the Timberwolf Design Den. Teachers have begun to sign up for time slots to bring their students into the room to engage in NGSS and Engineering activities. Next school year, all grade levels will be given dedicated windows in the calendar to use the Design Den for hands-on elements of their curriculum. Both Mr. Garcia and Mrs. Williamson are available for ongoing support with planning and implementation.

If you are interested to learn more about the Design Den, please feel free to contact Wesley Garcia at wesley.garcia@cvesd.org.