I love it when an event lives up to the hype. This was definitely the case at the International Maker Faire this past weekend in Queens, New York. I was so pleased to be among a group of 46 Academy students and parents who attended the Faire, which did not disappoint.
One of the things that impressed me most was the variety – and I’m not even referring to the amazing food vendors! Our Lower School participants experienced hands-on exhibits that showed the basic elements of woodworking, lock picking (as a sport…not a criminal activity), and soldering. Middle and Upper School students could feed their established loves of science, art, engineering, design, and building through hundreds of vendors, exhibits, and live demonstrations.
The one activity that, to me, summed up the spirit of the Maker Faire was the marshmallow shooters. I’ve been to local fairs where marshmallow shooters are sold preassembled, but at the Maker Faire, they are purchased unassembled with a set of simple instructions. In addition, individual parts are sold to encourage kids to improve on the original design and put their own stamp on their shooter. Each student took those raw materials and put part of themselves into the project to make it their own.
There were so many activities to choose from, and everyone had a favorite part of the Maker Faire:
“I thought the Diet Coke and Mentos was too cool to be true. I also thought the mouse trap was cool. And I can’t wait to shoot my new marshmallow shooter!”
“We were inspired to create anything! As we left, my son announced that he had to add to what he wants to be when he grows up: author, doctor, and now inventor and scientist!”
“I can’t believe how much stuff there was! It was the coolest thing I have ever done.”
“I enjoyed the time with my daughter and the chance to see what truly interests her. It was an educational experience that would be difficult to replicate.”
And during our bus ride home, I kept hearing “we’ve got to go back next year!” I hope that we can continue to encourage the builder/inventor/creator/tinkerer/scientist in all of our students. Thank you to everyone who helped make this trip a success!