JSTEAM – Melacha Makerspace

By: Yosef Rubin
from Maimonides Hebrew Day School

Development of Critical and / or Creative Thinking

Subject(s) of entry:
Art, Computer Science, Engineering, Gemara, Halacha, Mishnah, Philosophy/ Values/ Ethics/ Hashkafa, Science, Tanach, Technology

Constructivist, Experiential Education, IBL - inquiry based learning, PBL - project based learning, 21st Century Skills

Grade(s) to which this was taught:
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Elementary school, Middle school, High school

Grade(s) for which this will be useful:
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Middle school, High school

JSTEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Makerspace. STEAM through a Jewish lens in sync with Maimonides School's mission creating a beautiful blend of Torah and Worldly experience with hands-on creativity.

Entry Narrative

Melacha Makerspace
Don’t just teach students you can not work on Shabbat, but that you have a mitzvah  to work 6 days of the week Sheshes Yamim Ta’ase Melacha 
creative work is the true nature of the 39 melachos. Makerspace – highlighting the creative work that we are instructed  to do 6 days of the week.
Our Goal is to explore each Melacha  to understand scientifically why it is creative work through the prism of STEM.
Hebrew has two words for “work”- avodah and melachah. Avodah is a general term meaning work, while melachah has a very precise halachic meaning, melachah refers to the activities which were necessary for construction of the Mishkan, 39 different categories of melachah went into building the Mishkan, encompassing all forms of human productivity. These melachot are not a haphazard collection of activities, and do not necessarily represent physical exertion. Rather, the principle behind them is that they represent constructive, innovative creative work.  “Melechet Machshevet”

example of the activities we do.

-Extinguishing and Creating fire –  opening and closing electronic circuits- (some consider it building too) whereas pure hydraulic would not be considered Melacha
-Class activity – paper circuits LED menorah
-Potential and Kinetic energy for Yom Kippur catapult boomerang teshuva return
The intended outcome for the students to help give them a deeper perspective to value the rest on Shabbat and change the way we see our role during the 6 days of the week not as a chore for monotonous work, but rather as a time to roll up our sleeves and do creative work whether in writing, math, or hands on art / Makerspace creative space.We are educating and putting the creative role in the hands of the students and guiding them as they create their own destiny.
Through placing an emphasis on Creativity during the week can help teens challenged with  observing Shabbat; by learning how electronic devices work and why they are considered a Melacha and during the week is the time to get our creative juices flowing and reserve Shabbat for a time to reflect on what we created in the past week and how our creativity and ourselves fit in with G-d’s plan of creating/making a home for Him in this world. G-d created on the six days we follow by example and create  then too, on Shabbat G-d rested and elevated to His inner thought; purpose of creation, we too follow and elevate ourselves with prayer, reflection on our individual and collective purpose.

Entrant Bio(s)

Yosef Rubin teaches JSTEAM at the Maimonides Makerspace - Legacy Learning Labs at Maimonides.