Back to School Edition!

So much going on!

Matt's Maker Space has had a busy year so far! Read this newsletter for the latest happenings!

Look for news about six spaces opening this fall!!

Read about our exciting new partnership with CMU and Play Included to bring the Brick-by-Brick Program to schools, hospitals and libraries in our family of maker spaces!

Look for our first teacher conference in January of 2024 at CMU!

Thanks for joining us here!


Exciting new partnership!

Matt's Maker Spaces is proud to work w/ Play Included to bring their Brick-by-BrickTM Program to Pittsburgh. Play Included's Brick-by-Brick Program is the only program in the field of LEGO-based therapy that is officially endorsed by the LEGO Foundation. 

In Brick Club, children work together to build specific LEGO models or design & build their own freestyle LEGO creations in pairs or small teams. As they build they collaborate, communicate, negotiate and problem-solve, developing friendships and creating social opportunities along the way. All children are encouraged to interact in ways that work for them so everyone understands each other.

In August, we sent a group to Cambridge, England for training. It was a great trip and we are getting ready to cohost the British contingent in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University in early October.

This is a program that we plan to make available to ALL OF OUR MAKER SPACES. Initially tested and validated with an autistic population, these brick clubs provide valuable social and emotional learning opportunities for all children and even teens! It is our hope to provide this training here in the states through a partnership with the Center for Transformational Play at Carnegie Mellon University. We will be providing more information about this partnership in future newsletters. Stay tuned!

If you are interested in learning more about MMS Brick Clubs, please contact Noelle at


Opening 6 new spaces this fall!

It has been a very busy year for Matt's Maker Space and this fall we will see the fruits of our labor pay off with 6 new space openings. Read a little about each space.

Cancer Bridges

Noelle has been a board member of Cancer Bridges since its inception in 2006 as a Gilda's Club. One of the first Matt's Media Rooms was located in this important facility in the Strip District which provides emotional, educational and social support for people with cancer and their families and friends. It made sense that the Conover family maintain their support of Cancer Bridges given their history with the organization. A new Matt's Maker Space will open there this fall providing a space where members and their families and friends can go to create, make and tinker in a cancer free zone! Designed with our partner, The Children's Museum, this space will be a combination maker/art studio.

Carnegie Elementary

An elementary school in the Carlington School District, Carnegie Elementary is a unique and special place. The school draws students from many nationalities and cultures. The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now deemed Carnegie Elementary as an "on the cusp" elementary school for demonstrating academic achievement and succeeding in changing the trajectories of students' lives. Also unique is the fact that Carnegie has a "CHILL" room, a project of AHN. The Matt's Maker Space will work in conjunction with the CHILL room to facilitate social and emotional learning.

Carmalt STEAM K-8

This is our FIRST Matt's Maker Space in a City of Pittsburgh Public Schools. We are excited to work with the Pittsburgh Public School System and Principal Alexa Tokarski Jones to open this unique and large Matt's Maker Space.

Point Park University Matt's Maker Space TOO!

We couldn't be more excited about this second Matt's Maker Space at Point Park University! The first space is used so frequently and by so many groups that the school wanted to build another space! Pre-service teachers are taking up to 4 courses in the maker spaces, learning important methods of maker facilitation. When these students leave PPU, they are ready to assume roles in maker spaces and armed with important STEAM and maker facilitation skills!

Matt's Maker Space Lab

Pittsburgh Public Sci-Tech

This Matt's Maker Space is unique in that it will be our first in a high school setting. We are partnering with the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering to bring this space to life and equip the instructors and students with help from college students and their professors who reside next door at the Pitt | Swanson School of Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program. This will be the first program of its kind where high school students and college students will interact and learn together in a maker space. We are very excited about this partnership and cannot wait to open this new space!

St. Paul's Episcopal Nursery School

St. Paul's Nursery School is the first and only site of a Matt's Maker Space in a pre-K environment. This special place is near to our family because both Matt and his sister, Anna, attended this school. Putting a maker space in this location made so much sense, not only because of its meaning to our family but because they are one of the few preschools who totally embrace a "play" curriculum. The maker space has flourished in this location and we found ourselves revisiting them to see if they had any additional needs.

That is when we all thought about the playground! St. Paul's families know that their children will be outside almost every school day, rain or shine. The children love the playground and the staff thought it would be a great addition to add a Matt's Maker Space OUTDOOR location.

We are excited because this will be our first garden space and hopefully, not our last. We believe there is so much making that can happen in an outdoor space!

Play Make Learn!

The Play Make Learn Conference promotes high-quality learning opportunities for educators, researchers, developers, designers, foundation leaders, policy makers, museum and library professionals, and school leaders who are dedicated to promoting making, gaming, and playful learning. 

We were honored to be chosen to present a poster at the conference, held in mid July in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Virginia Chambers from Point Park University, Brett Bielewicz, Principal of Jefferson Elementary School in Mt. Lebanon, and Noelle Conover presented a poster titled, "Maker Space Matters." The poster emphasized the relationships and collaborations that have formed as a result of the Matt's Maker Space Lab at Point Park University. Dr. Chambers received an NSF grant to develop teacher curriculum in the maker spaces.

Matt's Maker Space

Professional Development Outreach Program

Our Professional Development Outreach Program has been so busy this year. Funded by a grant from Grable, this division, headed by Emily Sanders, Asst. Superintendent of the Beaver Area School District, provides FREE professional development to all of Matt's Maker Space educators and others who are interested in STEAM, design thinking and maker learning. The goal is to help establish foundational skills to new makers as well as offering refresh training opportunities to all adults who utilize maker spaces. We have committed trainers who have vast knowledge in all things maker learning.

Emily and her team of educators have provided this training in New Castle, at The Education Partnership's Summer STEAM camp, Beaver Area High School and at TransformED in the AIU#3. Examples of courses she designed and were taught by an experienced group of maker facilitators are:

  • Coding and Microbits
  • Solutions-based Climate Change Education
  • Novel Engineering Design Through Literacy
  • Discovery Challenges and Custom Curriculum
  • Intro to Making Learning/Design Thinking

We can customize any number of training programs for your organization. If you are interested, please reach out to Emily at

Matt's Maker Space

We have been busy this year!

Matt's Maker Space

5 Year Celebration!

It was great to see so many people come to Museum Lab to celebrate our 5 year anniversary of being a 501-C-3 organization! We are proud of the progress we have made and excited to see what the future holds. We know that without all of our partners, supporters, friends, teachers, schools and donors we couldn't do this. We are ALL truly making a difference in the lives of so many students!

Mt. Lebanon Public Library

A Year of Making for Mental Health - the SHINE project

We are thrilled to partner with the Mt. Lebanon Public Library this year to support their SHINE initiative. Since 2022 the Mt Lebanon Public Library with the support of Matt's Maker Space and the collaboration of Outreach Teen and Family Services has provided mental health programming that supports wellness and self-care for all ages.

We bring many programs to the library that are presented free-of-charge to library members.

Read more about one of the programs we supported here.

Packing homework bags for our supported school at The Education Partnership

Matt's Maker Space supports the Education Partnership in many ways. In addition to donating a Matt's Maker Space, we also participate in their Adopt-A-School program. dopting a school provides sponsors with a unique team-building experience and a rewarding way of seeing the impact of their contribution. Every year, we connect businesses, organizations, and community members with schools in need, facilitating the creation and distribution of Power Tools Homework Kits for students



January 12, 2024

Inaugural Matt's Maker Space Teacher Conference

Carnegie Mellon University

Wondering how to get a Matt's Maker Space?

We are beginning to look at maker spaces for 2024 and beyond. If you know a school, hospital, community space or library who would like to be considered for a Matt's Maker Space, contact Noelle at

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