Encouraging Our Kids to Be Makers

Did anyone else attend the Mini Maker Faire at Barnes and Noble this past weekend? The event was the first annual event of its kind, meant to celebrate ingenuity and creativity of any kind. This video titled What is a Maker? helps explains this concept. It seems the push in our country is often to draw more and more kids to fields in science and technology, which of course has great benefits for society. But this can place fields including arts, history and literature on the back burner, which are equally impactful. I love the neutrality of the word maker, and how it leaves room for interpretation in endless areas of innovation and exploration.

I wasn't completely sure what to expect, and was under the impression from the marketing there would be one presentation shown at the various times each day of the event held Friday-Sunday. As it turned out, there had been multiple different presentations and activities all weekend long! So, when we finally made it for the final time slot on Sunday, we had actually missed quite a bit. Thankfully we still got to see and do some really cool stuff!

Over the course of the weekend, several experts from the community and Barnes and Noble team members held presentations including art, science, technology and so much more. My littles are very interested in coding and computers, and my nine year old is in the robotics club at school, so we were super happy to be there for a demonstration of the Ozobot mini robot.

This thing is SO COOL!! It's a mini robot that follows codes you create (you can also see the 3D printer there next to Alec which was also fascinating).

There is a code sheet, with various color combinations that you put on paper with a marker. These codes give the robot instructions to go straight, speed up, zig zag, turn around, and stop, etc. 

So, my little coder got to work.

Then, you put the Ozobot on the code you've drawn, turn it on and it follows it!

Next, we headed over to another table where they were creating paper machines. These amazing machines were put together from paper cutouts from a book and actually worked and moved once they were put together!

Finally, we got to meet some fine young men who are members of the Memorial High School T.E.A.M. Robotics. They told us all about the First Lego League, which is a robotics club for elementary aged students. Since Aidan is in the Botball club at his school and spends as many spare moments as he can coding and learning, his ears really perked up. We got to see robots that had been created from legos, which are used to charge some rechargeable batteries!

Even though we were a little unsure what to expect and ended up missing some interesting demonstrations, I'm so glad we got to experience what we did, and meet some very bright young men who have become role models for my kids. They also invited us to come and watch a First Lego League competition THIS WEEKEND! I can't find a link to include, but the woman at the table assured me that anyone could show up free of charge and competitions will begin around 1pm at Memorial High School.

I'm looking forward to learning more about these opportunities for my kids, and I definitely know what's going to be on their Christmas lists!


See you around town, 

Missy David, the Honeybee Mama

Categories: Honeybee Mama