Maker Faire

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On November 5th and 6th, 10 members of Ironclad, plus our coaches, assisted Barnes and Noble at their Second Annual Mini Maker Faire. The Barnes and Noble Mini Maker Faire is an opportunity to teach a younger audience the advantages of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). The first Maker Faire was started by Make Magazine in California and has grown to reach around the world, eventually adding a Mini Maker Faire for smaller Maker communities. Barnes and Noble graciously allowed members of Ironclad to come in and help with the Maker Faire. We helped with the set up of many of the items that were to be on display, including a 3d pen. Many of the products were not to be assembled by the team, but rather would be on display for kids to build. Much like Legos, those items would encourage kids to create and think critically. These creations would, many times, turn out incredible, impressing all of us. One of the products was a small robot that could be easily coded using different color combinations on a line. This rudimentary way of programming introduces children to the idea that they don’t have to just watch robots, but children can direct them with coding. The creativity and enthusiasm found in the children proved that there will always be Makers wanting to share their ideas and creations. Along with Barnes and Noble’s display items, we drove our robot,Talos, in the store, demonstrating the abilities we chose for it to have. While the robot was running, team members spoke about FIRST and our team to curious kids and parents. Many of the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. were astounded a team of high schoolers could accomplish so much, and seemed genuinely interested in encouraging their young one’s enthusiasm in STEAM. Besides the products used to create things by children, there were many cool items on exhibit to demonstrate the increasing abilities of technology, including a 3d printer. An employee of Barnes and Noble brought in his VR headset and  allowed people to try it out. The exhilarating experience of it made evident the various possibilities in technology. At the end of the Mini Maker Faire, while cleaning up, I realized that every kid we inspired those two days could, in turn, do the same later in their life, and that chain would keep on growing. The foundations laid by current STEM enthusiasts will remain throughout generations, providing the basis for future innovators. Due to the welcoming atmosphere of Barnes and Noble and the experience of the Mini Maker Faire, I, and Ironclad, look forward to the Third Annual Barnes and Noble Mini Maker Faire and thank Barnes and Noble for allowing us to help with this one.

-Smit Purohit