Albuquerque elementary school program encourages learning through play

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ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE)- Learning through play– one hands-on workshop is making kids excited to go to class. Now, the special learning space at E.G. Ross Elementary is expanding and teachers say it’s for good reason.

These third graders are spending fourth period playing house — arranging and rearranging cardboard boxes turned bricks and whatever else students can think up.

“That’s my bed, that’s her bed and this is her bed, and we also have a remote,” said 9-year-old Jaden Meadows.

It’s hard to distinguish between class time and play time here, but that’s by design.

“This room just lets their imagination go,” said third grade teacher Alvaro Ramazzini.

It’s E.G. Ross Elementary’s Makerspace lab, designed to foster students’ curiosity and creativity.

“They just start building and start exploring and that’s what we want them to do. And then they bring this back into the classroom and then we can really expand on our content,” Ramazzini said.

Ramanzzini calls Makerspace an extension of the classroom where his students can put prior knowledge to use and build on it, like students who unknowingly learn properties of physics by reenacting the Angry Birds Movie.

“It makes teaching a lot of fun now when they have that imagination and creativity. It gives us a sense of, ‘OK, we’re here. We can really build off of this.’ The kids, they know it. They’re excited every day,” said Ramazzini.

He says even though teachers take a hand’s off approach in Makerspace, students are not only learning, they’re also applying what they know in the classroom and the real world.

“The kids are going beyond what we actually expected,” said Ramazzini.

E.G. Ross is a Title 1 School. Many of the students who attend are underprivileged. Teachers say that makes Makerspace even more important — affording them the experience to see what sort of technology is out there and what they could do with their future.

Makerspace is designed based off of the STEALTH Model. That stands for science, technology, engineering, art, literacy, transformation and health. E.G. Ross has another lab space coordinators say they quickly outgrew.

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