Nearly $17,000 grant boosts Makerspace at Dubuque Alternative Le - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Nearly $17,000 grant boosts Makerspace at Dubuque Alternative Learning Center

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Students at Dubuque's Alternative Learning Center are getting a chance to get out from behind the desk and in front of a variety of tools.

A makerspace is allowing them to work on hands-on projects, and now that makerspace is getting a big boost with a nearly $17,000 grant.

Lowe's Foundation presented the check for $16,681 to the ALC late last week.

For students like freshman Patrick Dahl, it's making a big difference.

"I get to do hands on things, and I'm a hands on person, so it helps me learn better," Dahl said.

He's working on a grill today--part of a project that's supposed to represent himself.

 "Every summer, I barely get to see my grandparents, so I go over to their house, and then we cook almost every night on the grill," he said.

While he's working on a grill, others are busy painting, sanding or building a birdhouse. 

"It has been really phenomenal to see kids who are at first really pretty hesitant to use some of the tools, and try different things, to gain the confidence, and they go, 'whoa, I did it. I can do this!'" said Amy Burns, the technology and project based learning coach.

She says it's a learning environment that will pay off for these students in the long run.

"I think it expands their interests and gives them confidence. It improves their 21st century skills of creativity and problem solving, and collaboration and communication," she said.

They've used that grant money to buy a number of new tools to expand what the students are able to do.

Burns says they'll also be getting a 3D printer--a technology her students have expressed a lot of interest in.

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