The month of February offers up many opportunities for celebration, and while we happily honor St. Valentine and our U.S. Presidents, we are committed to celebrating Black History month this February — and every month — to highlight and showcase the incredible contributions that members of the African-American community have made and continue to make. The community has a long history of maker spirit, innovation, and invention, drawn from creativity, ingenuity, and the need to thrive, and it’s more important than ever to point attention towards mentors and role models who look like the students we reach.

Here’s to the growth of maker-centered learning opportunities, embedded within and integrated into the cultural fabric that makes our communities unique.

Spotlight: Grass Valley’s Black History Month Maker Family Night and Heritage Potluck

In February of last year, Grass Valley Elementary School in Oakland, CA designed and hosted a Black History Month Maker Family Night and Heritage Potluck that drew together the school — and wider — community in thoughtful, intentional ways to celebrate together and learn together. It was an event that genuinely demonstrated the idea that we truly are all makers.

The family night flowed beautifully from the opening panel of community professionals, parents, and makers to a variety of hands-on opportunities for students and parents to make creations of their own. In individual classrooms, students led different stations that showed off the inventions of African Americans, from x-rays, 3D glasses, lanterns, and more, and facilitated activities where guest could make their own versions. The night concluded with presentations by elementary school students, who shared their own maker projects, all of which were inspired by African American innovators.

Grass Valley’s in-school makerspace, appropriately named the Wonder Workshop, is a burgeoning and developing space that, as evidenced by the Family Maker Night and Heritage Potluck, finds a balance between school content integration and student-driven ideas. To learn more about Maker Ed’s Maker VISTA program and the incredible work of Grass Valley Elementary School in Oakland, CA, check out two of Maker Ed’s blog posts and Grass Valley’s Wonder Workshop website: