Makerspaces are an easy and efficient way to integrate science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) into your library or classroom, and Strawbees are a great way to improve an existing makerspace.
What are Strawbees?
Strawbees are straw connectors made from recyclable materials. Each connector has a different number of prongs that connect two straws to each other. Essentially, you can create different structures by just using the straws and connectors, with no tape or glue required. Because of their ease to set up and use, they were the first products I added to my makerspace.
Students can continuously modify their creation by cutting straws to size or adding more straws for a different configuration. As a result, students are able to create anything they can imagine, from mathematical shapes to windmills, Ferris wheels, animals, bridges, and more.
Building your Makerspace
In my own library, I have myriad makerspace items set out, and Strawbees are the most popular makerspace item. Every morning students rush to our makerspace area to start creating. The Strawbees are kept simply in containers on the table with the straws and connectors separated.
I have different task cards set out to guide students who need a nudge to get their creativity flowing. You can find different task or challenge cards to use on the Strawbees website, giving you different creations that your students can make.
When I first introduced the task cards, I was shocked to realize that the mathematical shapes were the most popular task card! I was sure that the puppy or Ferris wheel would be more popular but now I have various mathematical shapes all over my library that the students created.
I love that Strawbees are a simple, low-tech makerspace item. When I first started at my school, I was shocked to learn that not all the students are “wowed” by technology and actually prefer hands-on items to create their own structures. Strawbees are also easy to integrate into different subject areas. Being in the library, teachers think that I am just reading books. By having Strawbees, I can have the science and math teachers come in with their students for a hands-on lesson.
Strawbees truly allow students to bring their imaginations to life and flourish with the ability to build their own creations. Additionally, Strawbees give students a chance to work through challenges with their hands and to design and construct a creation of their own. By adding Strawbees to your makerspace, you are creating future inventors and STEAM professionals!
If you’re looking for inspiration on Strawbees activities, download this Strawbees STEM Challenge and put your students skills to the test!
Interested in Strawbees? Check them out on our website!