Hamilton Maker Faire

The four of us dropped by the second annual Hamilton Maker Faire this morning. Maybe hoping for inspiration, definition, activity ideas for next year? Not having any previous experience, we had no expectations. What we found there was quite a mixture: young and old, pro and novice, high tech and low tech. Here are some stand outs for me:

  1. There was a young man who taught himself to make remote control airplanes. All his materials were inexpensive: the electronics aside, the planes cost a few dollars to make. I immediately connected this to the grade 6 science curriculum and thought about how we could give students a problem to solve: how can you construct an aircraft that can fly for a certain distance/time? How can we improve our crafts so that they can be more energy efficient but still fly?
  2. Another young man (just turned 15!) created his own costumes. Again, he learned how to do it on the cheap, using materials easily available to him. Foam sheets, liquid rubber, cereal boxes and toilet paper were his go-to items. I was shocked at how professional they looked, and how comfortable and flexible the masks were, and how realistic his weapons looked. Wondering about having students create costumes for drama…..
  3. The Hamilton Public Library was there, demonstrating how to use Little Bits with children. The HPL has a newly opened makerspace. I want to visit them over the summer and look at their green screen studio, and see how they are using their makerspace equipment. I’d love for us to do a field trip in the fall for the students to experience it. Ultimately, they are a great community partner, and I want students to be aware of it so they can continue to explore the maker movement outside of school.
  4. There was a woman who makes electronic maker kits for young children. It reminded me that, on my original list of “wants” for this project, I was considering the use of conductive thread. I see it as melding the low tech with the high. Sewing thread into material and having students figure out how to use that to conduct an electric current can have many uses beyond the grade six science curriculum.

There were many more interesting things at the Faire. I’m going to see if there are more in the summer….what better way to get ideas on how to use our equipment, than by watching others (especially young people who are near the age of our students).