North Fork School Fosters A Community of Makers
The Peconic Community School held its first-ever Maker Faire last Saturday, March
Hundreds of people gathered in the gymnasium of the
Riverhead Charter School in Calverton to build, play, create, learn, innovate and engage in all things Maker.
The PCS Maker Faire was a Mini Faire, part of an international movement of Maker Faires, which create opportunities for conversations with Makers. Tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and entrepreneurs all come together to show their projects and to talk about what they have learned. It is a community-based learning event designed to inspire everyone to become a maker.
“This event aligns with Peconic Community School’s project-based, childcentered approach to learning. The school believes that by fostering a community of “makers,” they can help children learn in deep and meaningful ways, nurture creativity and collaboration and make the world a better place,” says school founder Liz Casey.
Dozens of local schools, organizations, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists shared their
expertise and resources with visitors of all ages, who engaged with the many STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) inspired activities throughout the room.
Children created squishy circuits using homemade playdough and simple light circuits. Suffolk Community College’s Mobile MakerSpace displayed their 3D printer and the Costume Department shared a variety of costumes. Hayground School students shared inventions designed to solve health problems.
Peconic Community School students set up legomaking, paperairplane building, and a very popular cardboard box freebuilding station. Ultra Motion gave demonstrations of their linear actuators. The Innovation Lab at The Ross School shared students’ innovative inventions offering unique solutions to complex problems.
Artist Agathe Snow donated loose parts from her extensive collection and allowed participants to create dioramas of their minds. The Custer Institute captured visitors coming and going with their outdoor exhibit, inviting all to enjoy the visual wonder of the sun through their special astronomical instruments.
Brief performances took place in different locations of the gym throughout the day. Magician and Puppeteer Christopher Scheer kept the kids laughing and shouting with his interactive performances. Lyrical Children’s Music Together made music with groups of little ones and Turtle Dance Music had children dancing, singing and blowing bubbles throughout his show.
Why foster a community of makers?
Makers are visionaries, innovators, leaders, kick starters, fixers, designers, engineers, doit yourselfers, self-learners, artists, and architects. Makers take their inspiration from their desire to solve a problem, fulfill a need, or a drive to improve upon an already existing idea.
Sometimes, the inspiration can simply be prompted by the materials or the environment
surrounding them. It starts with a vision; a final goal in mind. Then a design. Testing to see what works and what needs fixing. Alterations. More testing. Does it work? What can be improved?
They are constantly questioning their work and looking for ways to make improvements. Makers are never satisfied; they want to make it faster, better, more compact, more efficient. Often times, the end result is completely different than what they envisioned.
Sometimes, just when you think their process is finished, makers start over with a blank slate. Not because they have given up, but because they have developed a whole new way to approach the problem. More valuable than what is created is the experience, the process. Makers problem solve, collaborate, negotiate, learn, share, and most importantly inspire other to create.