A number of Pittsburgh-area schools have grand plans to support hands-on learning on their campuses, and they need your help this week.

Teachers across disciplines will attest to the educational value of tinkering, building, and playing with new materials. The problem is that many institutions lack the resources to carve out spaces for experiential learning. Enter Kickstarting Making in Schools, a joint venture between the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and Kickstarter.

Over the summer, 10 local schools received guidance on developing and funding their dream makerspaces. The museum (home to the venerable MAKESHOP) provided professional development and helped the schools draw up plans for the physical spaces. Kickstarter trained the teachers and administrators to crowd-fund.

Now the school leaders turn to their communities to put the plans into action. Since the crowd-funding campaigns went live at the beginning of the month, two of the 10 schools have already exceeded their goals. The rest have until late October or early November to meet their funding requests.

A few of the fabulous projects that could still use support:

  • While the maker movement is gaining national traction, rural school districts can be left out of the conversation—and the support systems. Burgettstown Area School District wants to transform two existing rooms into learner-driven makerspaces with flexible seating arrangements, mobile material storage, and a maker library. Back this project.
  • In Swissvale, five schools have become one: Woodland Hills Intermediate. The transition provides an opportunity for fresh additions to the campus, including a potential makerspace. The school serves mostly economically disadvantaged students who are too often underrepresented in STEM fields. School leaders want to empower these students to envision themselves as engineers and creators by stocking the new space with 3D printers, sewing machines, and metalworking tools. Back this project.
  • Students at Lincoln PreK-5 have plenty of say in the design of their own project, an outdoor STEAM space next to the school. Together, teachers and students dreamed up a new use for an unused plot of land that borders their building. The vision includes butterflies, community food gardens, and hands-on outdoor learning. Back this project.

Check out all 10 projects–and make a move before it’s too late!