Saturday, November 28, 2015

Maker Faires: A Place to Share

Whether makers construct an intricate project or use their creativity to construct a quick little project a Maker Faire will give makers a venue to share their work. It is also a great place to learn about makers and projects constructed locally.

 In the book "Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom," Martinez and Stager state students will Think, Make, and Improve (T.M.I.) when completing an ideal makerspace project.  Students construct something outside of their head that is shareable in a makerspace projectThere is always room for improvement, a project is never complete.  A Maker Faire is the prefect place to share work and begin the improvement process. 

Maker Faires can be found all around the world, the two largest World Maker Faires are in New York City and in San Francisco where it all began in 2006. These family friendly faires are hosted by Make Magazine, and they also offer Mini-Maker Faires in smaller towns around the world. To find out more visit the website. After attending the Mini-Maker Faire in Houston and Austin, it is interesting to see the city's personality reflected in the faire. The Austin Mini-Maker Faire had lots of food trucks, music, and artsy tinker sessions. The faire in Houston offered lots of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related tinker sessions. 

Robotics is the theme of my school's makerspace this year. This was also the first year my school and two other schools in my district shared a booth at the Houston Mini-Maker Faire. My students were invited to share a makerspace project. I prompted by students to create a robot that does something and share it at the Houston Mini-Maker Faire. A couple of students met the challenge. One student went home and built a robot from scratch using Raspberrypi. He coded the robot to travel in a straight line and turn. Another student spent his makerspace time building a VEX Robot with a claw, so it could pick up small items. It was amazing to see these students use their imagination to create their project. At the faire, I saw them thinking and tinkering to perfect their robots. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn't, but they had the grit to see it through and share a workable project with other children their age. 

Consider hosting a Mini-Maker Faire at your school or public library. It will give makers a chance to build efficacy, grit, and perseverance. It's also a great way to build community and collaborate. Click here to find out more about planning a Maker Faire, or plan a small event just for your school or library patrons.