Springfield Armory Camp: Messing Around in a Maker Space

Armory Camp: Maker Space 3D ActivityYesterday was our first day of this year’s Springfield Armory Camp – a writing partnership that was first forged years ago between the National Park Service/Springfield Armory National Historic Site, the National Writing Project/Western Massachusetts Writing Project, and Springfield Schools/Duggan Social Justice Academy.

One of our activities was to consider the reasons why Springfield was chose (along with Harper’s Ferry) for a national armory by George Washington and other military leaders, and we used excerpts from a letter by General Henry Knox that explained the rationale — the nearby Connecticut River, the abundance of lumber and timber, the local community of experienced workers and the high plains bluff that overlooks the entire region.


We then had our campers work in small teams to create a 3D map of the main elements of Knox’s letter, visualizing how their community was chosen so many years ago to play a crucial role in the country’s history. It was fun to watch them plan out and try to build out these maps, with glue and paper and odds and ends of things. The resulting maps then helped spur some writing and some conversation about the geography of Springfield itself.

Peace (into Day Two),


  1. This is a great way to connect history with hands on learning. These kids will value their home through this experience.

  2. What a fascinating project, Kevin. I look forward to hearing more about it in the future and sharing your work with 7th grade teachers who are designing an inquiry project based on the Revolutionary War time period to their students in September.

  3. What a fabulous way to experience the importance of your community. Reminds me of the salt dough state maps my 3rd graders did many years ago. I loved seeing their creations & hearing what they learned about the geography of the state in the process. You Springfield Armory Camp is a wonderful melding of community resources. Lucky students!

  4. You have had a busy summer! What an excellent resource you have to work with in the armory. Doing research about the role of place tells these kids a great deal about the past and about their community.

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