Friday, September 20, 2013

Maker Faire Education Day

On Thursday, September 19, I headed up to Queens and the New York Science Museum for Maker Faire's Educator Day. 11 schools, with students ranging from elementary to high school. They cycled through 6 areas of exhibits put together by Makers who are attending the 2013 Makers Faire.

Kaleidoscope was there with mini marshmallow catapults, a constant favorite. I expected the younger kids to get a kick out of the project, but even the "to cool for school" teens had fun as well. It was funny to see kids that you know would yawn at the idea of physics lab in class get so curious and passionate about launching a marshmallow into a box. They didn't just build the catapult -- they prototyped and tested and optimized. As a result we had some great discussions about angular momentum, thrust, forces and kinetic energy. We also ate a lot of marshmallows and told stupid jokes.

Several of the teachers jumped in too, and we chatted about how to include catapults into their curriculum. Luckily I was ready with a lesson plan.

That's the power of the Maker Movement. It's about fun and curiosity, not books and lab reports. It's a special kind of magic, and I loved being able to be part of it yesterday. (Even if it did mean getting a really awful picture of myself on Makezine!)


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