Family Lives a non-profit organization that assesses that “Play is one of the main ways in which children learn” (Family Lives, n.d.). My theory is that children are generally interested in making tangible objects with their hands. Furthermore, building with your hands can provide a sensation of accomplishment and gratitude. In recent years inventors, creators, engineers, and educators have designed an unique hands-on experience called Maker Faire. Originating in the Bay Area in California with the intent to celebrate handcrafted arts in an exhibition type atmosphere (Maker Faire, 2017). The Maker Faire can be considered as a maker-space. Head of School Enablement and TED-Ed Innovator Educator Vipul Redey (TED, 2017) disclosed that “Maker-spaces, fab labs, or fabrication labs, tinkering areas are a global phenomenon. These are a place where a bunch of creative hands-on resourceful types will get together to give a very solid form to an abstract idea in their mind.”
In the midst of drawing people that are fascinated by curious inquiry together, both adults and children can learn about experimenting with different resources or tools. Although, technical tools are provided in most larger cities, the Maker Faires enables participants to have “The ability to embed interactivity or intelligence into everyday objects” proposes inventor, Sylvia Libow Martinez and Shorty Award winner, Gary Stager (Martinez & Stager, 2014). While playing and learning, the importance of the Maker Faire is to incorporate diverse subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
After discovering that I would have the opportunity to create an environment that embraces STEM, creativity and “learning-by-doing” activities with small children, I wondered whether my idea could include complex technology. But once I was able to verify the age of the participants and the materials that were provided, I was able to formulate a simple exhibition with my partner. Working with my partner served as a perfect match, and we were able to agree upon using the following materials: scissors, copper wire tape, card-stock paper, light emitting diode (LED) batteries, lightbulbs, pipe cleaner, stickers, markers, and yarn. My partner and I selected these materials because we executed creating a lit name tag during a quick-fire exercise and found the activity to be quite rigorous, buy yet enjoyable.
Sorting supplies became the least of my worries while preparing the Maker Faire. To prepare my classmates and group members properly, the instructors, Mary Wever and Chris Seals of the Masters of Educational Technology year 1, developed a planning Google Word document that included the objective, chart, and space for questions. The entire class was able to work together developing solutions creating a Makers Faire. Once the planning document was complete, (see the Event Planning webpage.) my partner and I collaborated on ideas for illustrations a part of the instructions for our booth.
Our booth provided the objective to create a name tag using the materials provided. Additionally, the plan of creating a name tag led us down several avenues that inspired us to promote engineering careers to the participants. As a result, I purchased a variety of additional supplies from JoAnn Fabrics that included stickers and a hole puncher. As seen in Figure 2 below, a slide presentation clipboard created using LinkedIn Slideshare.
Overall, the experience was a great experience as I have never participated in a Maker’s Faire prior to planning the event. The faire also was a success because one student mentioned that they were interested in engineering. This is a very significant observation because I was able to successfully slightly influence students to consider the idea of connecting the world around them to utilize the materials supplied thinking about practical careers, which was also an objective on mine. Additionally, I was able to collaborate effectively with my classmates to ensure the success of the Maker Faire, and was happy that I was a part of bringing people together in a welcoming maker-space. The Maker Faire was an overall success because learners were able to embrace play as learning while building, creating, and sharing.
Figure 1. Above a slide show with images taken before and after the Maker Faire.
Figure 2. Above depicts the instructions utilized in the Maker Faire.
Steps to Create a Circuit Board/ Name Tag
1. Peel off the copper wire tape
2. Place the copper wire tape onto the cardstock paper as a line
3. Place the copper wire tape onto the cardstock paper in a 30 degree angle
4. Leave 0.6 cm in between the copper wire tape
5. Place the battery on the corner edge of the copper wire tape
6. Puncher a hole in the card-stock
Figure 3. Shows the visual representation of creating the name tag. (Give it a try)
Family Lives. (n.d.). How children learn through play. Retrieved from http://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/toddler-preschool/learning-play/how-children-learn-through-play/
Maker Faire. (2017). About Maker Faire. Retrieved from http://makerfaire.com/makerfairehistory/
Martinez. S., & Stager., G. (2014) The maker movement: A learning revolution. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=106
Matthews, J. R., & Matthews, R. W. (2014). Successful scientific writing: A step-by-step guide for the biological and medical sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Redey, V. (Producer). (2017, February). Every childhood deserves a makerspace [Episode ]. EDxYouth. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n7aBQDubLU