Obviously you can do designs on a computer or tablet or phone..but we need to build things.
So it is time to get some STUFF, maybe even buy some STUFF.
Cardboard is a great building material that can often be free. You can often find some awesome corrugated cardboard behind various stores. Ask people to bring in amazon boxes if you want. School kitchens might need to “get rid of” corrugated boxes. Food box cardboard is also a wonderful building material that can be readily obtained through donations.
There are some specific items for assembling cardboard. Makedo (https://www.make.do/ ), BoxLox (https://atwoodtoys.com/collections/box-lox ), 3Dux (https://www.3duxdesign.com/ ) and WondrBolt (https://wondrbolt.com/ ) are some brands that I often see being used.
You will also need tools to work with cardboard. Firstly you will need to cut the boxes into manageable, storable size pieces. Look for actual cardboard scissors. I have found that these Canary scissors work well (https://www.amazon.com/CANARY-Cardboard-Scissors-Blue-PS-6500H/dp/B000EFZKRY/ ). Many people like the electric powered cutters (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019CSHSW8 ). There is also a Canary cutter (https://www.amazon.com/CANARY-Corrugated-Cardboard-Cutter-DC-190/dp/B00KW4N9IY/ ).
Depending on the ages & responsibility of your students, you could also go with ceramic cutters (https://www.amazon.com/Slice-10515-Position-Keychain-Magnetic/dp/B07KYWLVCQ/?th=1) or Xacto knives (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GP535BZ ).
You might also consider self healing cutting mats. They come in a variety of sizes and colors. ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018DH6SJ8/ ). As well as some metal straightedges/rulers (you want rulers no matter what) (https://www.amazon.com/NOKKO-Metal-Ruler-10-Pack-Measurements/dp/B09BZZCVTY/ ). Other measuring devices you would want to have are meter sticks, measuring tapes and calipers, even a couple of digital scales.
Another good building material is coroplast. Think election signs. Besides using a knife to cut, there is a Klever cutter designed for them to cut down the channel. These cutters can also be used on corrugated cardboard. (https://www.amazon.com/Klever-Stainless-Package-Utility-Assorted/dp/B085W4CW3B/)
We need glue sticks, hot glue guns and glue sticks. We also need basic scissors and a variety of tape. I also like having small screwdriver sets around. They always come in handy (https://www.amazon.com/Meet-Beauty-Screwdriver-Flathead-Precision/dp/B09Q8TS83Y/).
You will need pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers, and Sharpies. A variety of paper is good (computer, construction). Even large rolls of paper are very useful for planning/designing. In addition to white, think about blue paper (and white colored pencils) for students to do blueprints. Somehow that color combo just makes us think differently (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IE1Q/). Index cards or cardstock will also be useful.
There are many free or low cost items that we can use to create. Any arts and crafts materials are great items. Some can be donated by your community. But you might want to make & publish a list of items you want, and pick a week for them to be brought in. Maybe pick one week in the fall and one in the spring. Can you create an online wish list or Amazon wish list?
Remember, anything and everything is a Maker Material, but here are some thoughts to get you going :
This should get you started.
What else is a favorite Low Cost material of yours?
Remember to get some books… story books, project books, books about makers… Literacy is important and I think every project can have an associated book.
(obviously I started a list of books...
Coming soon, we will talk about machines to look into for Digital creation (Digital Fabrication), as well as some physical computing/robotics ideas.