I had the opportunity to attend the Mini Maker Faire in Rochester, New York this past weekend. I was excited to be able to schedule the trip because it gave me a chance to get well outside my usual sphere of experience and see what another region of the country is doing in the field of creative making. I was not disappointed!
From my first steps on the convention floor I could see that I was among my kind of people. The welcome booth was designed explicitly to give kids in attendance a chance to begin inquiring. It was a series of tables with interesting problems and materials for kids to try to solve those problems. And the booth was busy. All around me were people, young and old, interested in finding the most compelling problem and trying to solve it, simply for the joy of struggling with something challenging.
What I found most compelling as I walked the floor was the unabashed way people were exploring things with no clear end goal. There was a 3D printer making pictures with coffee stains. I asked the creator at the station why he made the device and he gave me a funny look. It’s a great way to introduce students to the intersection of technology, making and art. Who knows where the technology and techniques will lead… but what a strange thought to imagine needing an answer to “why” before one starts the problem-solving…
So I have accumulated a number of great new ideas to put into action in my new maker space in my school. I’ve also got a renewed passion for letting students explore a space with only creative expression as the motivation. I feel full of youth and zeal again, and want to just jump into the ball pit and splash around. Or perhaps even better, I would like to jump into this maker-pit:
and splash around. Let’s not forget that inquiry is its own reward.