Monday, May 29, 2023

Brain power on wheels

Staff Writer | August 9, 2021 1:06 AM


Photo courtesy of the University of Idaho

Shaina Nomee is the Associate Tribal Educator for the University of Idaho Extension office. Nomee has lived on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation since 2003.

COEUR d’ALENE- A new makerspace has arrived at the Coeur d’Alene Reservation. And this one rolled in on wheels.

You aren’t alone if you haven’t heard the term makerspace. All about collaboration, it's a shared workplace in which people gather to make, invent and learn.

Called the Think, Make, Create lab, the space brings hundreds of educational activities to local students.

The TMC lab is a trailer outfitted with education materials, makers' tools, art supplies and curriculum designed to support science, technology, engineering and math concepts.

Young people can come into the lab and take part in projects encouraging learning in the STEM fields.

“Our biggest motivator (for getting the makerspace) is the high need to fill these roles,” said Shaina Nomee, an associate educator with the University of Idaho Extension office on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation.

There are more positions available in these fields than in any other, she said. Her goal is to prepare students for those jobs down the road.

The TMC lab is being hosted by the University of Idaho Extension 4-H Youth Program, in collaboration with the Idaho Out of School Network.

Initiated through a grant, the TMC lab is one of 16 deployed around the Inland Northwest.

Nomee’s work serves rural youth in Idaho. Bridging the gap between in-school and out-of-school learning is key, she said.

“Eighty percent of learning is done outside of school hours,” Nomee said. The 4-H Extension program keeps kids engaged in ongoing learning and the TMC lab enhances other programs.

“People think of 4-H as specifically about animals and fair activities,” Nomee said. “But in fact it is multi-faceted.”

Nomee’s group focuses on leadership and citizenship opportunities.

“There are so many activities,” Nomee said. “And we train sophomores through seniors to then teach the younger children.”

“Positive youth development is 90% of our focus,” she said. “A lot of this is done through after-school activities and with continuing education in the summer.”

The Think, Make, Create Lab can be found at the One Sky One Earth Farmers Market on U.S. 95 in Plummer every Thursday evening until Sept. 23. Activities for kids are offered from 4-6 p.m. and are designed for pre-K through eighth grade.


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