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Makerspace Collaboration on Upcycling Project

Brendan Fadden uses a nail gun to put together a box while Randall Hancock holds it in place.

Brendan Fadden is a Deaf High School student in the Build a Tradesman (BAT) career-oriented program at FSDB. Fadden was chosen as a "specialist" for a project in the Lindheimer Library/Media Center—creating upcycling storage for Makerspace resources.

Makerspaces are a current initiative that aims to bring hands-on exploration back into student libraries and classrooms. This initiative lines up with STEM curricula—science, technology, and engineering projects are generally hands-on; think of bridge-building with Legos, wiring circuits, wind turbines, coding, and robotics.

David Snow, the librarian in the Lindheimer Media Center, consulted with Randall Hancock, Building Construction & Technologies teacher in the Deaf High School, on Brendan Fadden's Makerspace project. (Makerspace material purchases are made possible through federal IDEA grant support.)

Fadden's mission was to salvage an old, long, and unused counter with drawers and cupboards by converting it into two smaller mobile workbenches. Fadden is in the process of separating the counter into two discrete units, adding wheels so each unit can easily travel wherever needed. He will also remove metal elements and unnecessary pieces, add new backing, and then prime and paint the two units.

One of the two mobile workbenches will hold Legos, and the other will contain the Makerspace kits. Objectives include technical skill set training as well as focus on the ecological imperatives of recycling/upcycling to save trees and generate zero waste.

Fadden is thoroughly enjoying the project, which is "fun, entertaining, and definitely keeps me busy." He was selected to be a specialist, in his words, "because I am at the top of my class."

Brendan Fadden stands in front of completed storage box.

Woodwork is nothing new for Fadden as he has done many similar tasks at home with his father, in addition to taking BAT courses. Of the Makerspace collaboration, he said, "I hope the little kids who will use it will be happy about it and thank me."

Collaboration projects between the Lindheimer and BAT students are not unusual. Hancock's students have also built a coffee table for the Lindheimer's Reading Room and extra shelves for library storage units. As Snow describes, "students feel good seeing their handiwork whenever they come to the library and make conversation about it."

A fruitful partnership enjoyed by all stakeholders – students, staff, and visitors to the Lindheimer Library/Media Center!

By Christi Boortz, Instructional Services


About FSDB

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible Pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, or deafblind. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. For a campus tour or to inquire about eligibility for enrollment, contact FSDB Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information, visit


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