World’s Maker Faire

My favorite toy as a kid was a box. Small boxes, large boxes, any shape boxes. I loved to imagine them as something else. What could I make out of this box? 
I was lucky to be from a family of printers. I had an endless supply of boxes and paper to play with growing up. When you are taken to work on weekends so your mother can do the bookkeeping you have to find something to entertain yourself. I played with paper and boxes. 
Seeing the World Maker Faire this weekend I was brought back to my experimentations as a youth. I’m always inspired to make. If I wasn’t in a NYC apartment I’d have a garage or workshop specifically for making things. While wandering through the numerous exhibits watching kids stare in wonder I was struck by a few thoughts. 
What keeps us from providing opportunities for our students to create in class? We pack our curriculum with information and practice. But what about personal pursuits just for the sake of it? Teaching at LaGuardia high school I saw making in the curriculum everyday through students building a set; project based learning. They were working to achieve a goal as a collaborative group. But it was during the down time that I witnessed personal creations being worked on out of scraps. Students made things from materials that were readily available and no one was concerned with exhausting. 

I’d like to see other students have this possibility. It opens doors for new ideas along with developing problem solving skills. Iterating through a process teaches better than providing answers. 

Keys to a maker community:
  • Provide inexpensive materials in an inexhaustible supply. 
  • Carve out time time work and experiment.
  • Provide space to work where there isn’t a concern something will make a mess. 
  • Goals for what to make are necessary. 
  • Explore possibilities through conversation with materials in front of you. 
  • Prompt with open ended questions. “How can we change some one’s life?” 
Halloween as a TV

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