Portland Jewish Academy is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and is proud of our partnership with them in strengthening our local Jewish community as well as the global community.












The PJA Makerspace is a vibrant center of exploration and collaboration in which students learn by doing. In the Makerspace, students’ understanding of classroom content is enhanced through hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) learning. The Makerspace strives to empower students with the skills and mindset necessary to take on new challenges with enthusiasm and confidence.

What is a Maker?

“Humans do two things that make us unique from all other animals; we use tools and we tell stories. And when you make something, you’re doing both at once.”  - Adam Savage

Available Equipment?

The PJA Makerspace has a wide assortment of equipment, tools, materials, and machines, many of which have been graciously donated. Below is a list of most of the equipment we have available.

  • Hand Tools: hammer, cutters, pliers, screwdrivers, clamps, saws, measuring devices.
  • Power Tools: drills, glue guns, rotary tools, electric cutters, woodburners, soldering irons.
  • Advanced Power Tools: drill press, band saw, miter saw, reciprocating saw, jigsaw, sanders.
  • Machine Fabrication: Makerbot Replicator Z18 3D printer, Glowforge laser cutter, sewing machines.
  • Programming: Sphero, Beebot, Bloxels.
  • Electronics: Little Bits, Microbit, Makey Makey, Raspberry Pi, Arduino.

What do different grade levels do in the PJA Makerspace?

All Grades: Create projects in the Makerspace to either build on and reinforce what the student is learning in the classroom, or focus on useful maker skills like communication, tool confidence, and problem solving.

Grades K-5: Students are able to use the Makerspace every week. The lower grades primarily focusing on proper tool use, and developing their confidence as makers. Each year new tools are introduced and the projects get more integrated with reinforce classroom learning.

Grades 6-8: Middle school is able to utilize the Makerspace in multiple ways. First, students are able to utilize the space during recess if they want to explore their own creative freedom. Second, exploratory students are able to take 15 week-long deep dives into different making disciplines. Each Makerspace exploratory can focus on a different aspect of making, or combine multiple making disciples. Currently we run digital fabrication, basic electronics, and wearable design. Finally, middle school teachers are able to book Makerspace time for their class, in order to integrate hands-on and STEAM content with classroom learning.

How can I help?

Depending on your ability, there’s a few things that would be wonderful.

1. We’re always in need of materials, tools, and supplies. We’ve created an Amazon wishlist to help keep track of some of our needs and wants. We appreciate all donations - big and small. It's amazing what creativity a new tool or material can spark!

2. If you have items in good condition that you were thinking of getting rid of, it might find a new home in the Makerspace. These items include (but are not limited to):

  • Cardboard Building Materials (boxes, rolls, tubes, inserts, egg cartons, etc.)
  • Small Containers (jewelry boxes, pill bottles, mint tins)
  • Fun crafting items (beads, buttons, pom poms, pipe cleaners, bottle caps, bottle tops, wine corks, etc.)
  • Toys that make noise (preferably older ones so we can play with the electronics)
  • Other items that would be fun to build/experiment with (clay, Playdough, resin, wire coat hangers, fasteners, paper clips, magnets)
  • If you have other materials or tools you think we would like, please email the Makerspace teacher directly and include a picture of the materials.

3. Contacts are always useful, and if you know someone who works in a place that might have a source of materials, tools, or expertise they’d be willing to donate or share and you could provide an introduction, that would be amazing.