Monmouth Memorial’s Makerspace Reaching Even More Students

A finished student independent project from wood and stain
A finished student independent project from wood and stain

Monmouth Memorial School has some innovative ideas on how to involve more of its students with their makerspace. Not only is this makerspace available to whole classes and individuals throughout the day, but students in grades 6-8 also take a unified arts class where they are exposed to many different components of the makerspace, including 3D printing, motors and electronics, woodworking, sewing, all the way to virtual and augmented reality. By the time the students finish middle school, they will have developed makerspace skills, learned about the design process, and completed an independent project. These projects can be hands-on, virtual, or anything in between with some projects including a YouTube instructional video on quilt sewing, marble runs, an American Flag made out of wood and stain, safety guides on tools in the makerspace, and a three-foot-tall basketball hoop.

Monmouth Memorial's studio space
Monmouth Memorial’s studio space

The makerspace projects are spearheaded by Elizabeth Bellegarde, the district librarian, and Seth Mitchell, who is the school’s technology integrator and the 2022 Kennebec County Teacher of the Tear. Bellegarde feels the system is a great fit for their school, saying “I feel as though the set-up we have is ideal for our school’s structure, allowing the maximum amount of student access.” That structure allows for many different projects happening all at once, with one space designed as a work area that involves everything from power tools and snap circuits as well as materials for the Lego Robotics and VEX Robotics teams, which competed in the 2022 Vex Robotics World Championship.

In the makerspace unified arts class, 6th-8th grade students will be working on a wide array of projects simultaneously, with Bellegarde moving between groups to provide support when needed. Students enthusiastically switch between low-tech and high-tech skills to complete their projects, but the energy and excitement from the students is constantly pulpable.

“It takes time to build that culture,” Mitchell says, “having administration who see the value in this program makes it even more successful.”

A student’s marble run project
A student’s marble run project

Attached to the main makerspace area is Monmouth’s studio space. This area contains a wide array of materials including a sound board, iPad teleprompter, green screen walls, and resources for video editing. “Students and teachers have this wonderful resource available [that can] extend learning in a way that wasn’t previously possible,” Bellegarde says. “By using the makerspace this way, classes become more fun with memorable experiences that will increase retention.” For many students in the makerspace unified arts class, having flexibility between both learning spaces gives them even more options to create unique projects.

Bellegarde wants to continue making these learning resources available for as many students as possible. “We are still working on making more students aware of this opportunity, the makerspace unified arts class is a huge part of that,” she says, “but the students who do take advantage of the makerspace find it to be a rewarding experience.” Not only can students participate in the unified arts class, classroom teachers can use the space for whole-class learning experiences as well as individual students working independently during study halls and available times throughout the day. Bellegarde sees these learning experiences leading to the development of lifelong design, critical thinking, decision-making, and independent skills. “For me, this is the best part of the makerspace.”

This story was written and coordinated by MLTI Ambassador Joshua Schmidt as part of the Maine Schools Sharing the Success Campaign. To learn more, or to submit a story or an idea for a story, email