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Michelle Hlubinka, MAKE’s Education Director, sent us this announcement about the upcoming Open MAKE at the SF Exploratorium:

As part of our ongoing quest to encourage more young people to exercise their innate curiosity and creativity by making things, this Saturday, January 30th, we’re kicking off a four-month collaboration with the Exploratorium’s Learning Studio, TechShop, and Disney-Pixar.

Our calendar of upcoming themes and makers at the Exploratorium:

January 30th:
Bristlebots & Blinkybugs — Ken Murphy and Windell Oskay & Lenore Edman
February 27th: Wearables & Soft Circuitry — Adrian Freed
March 27th: Make Your Own Kind of Music — Walter Kitundu and Krys Bobrowski
April 24th: Motors & Mechanisms — Brad Prether and Ernie Fosselius

Each Saturday we meet follows a simple schedule:

11:00 Dale Dougherty interviews makers in the McBean Theatre
12:30 Featured makers and hands-on making on the museum floor
3:00 Events end

It’s a first experiment in a new program we call Young Makers, in which we intend to create an infrastructure to nurture kids who want to learn by making, beyond what they can do with construction kits. We hope to fulfill a dire need: satisfying a little bit of what shop classes used to do before they, lamentably, started getting booted out of schools. The idea behind Young Makers is to create a community, both on-line and physical, that brings together like-minded kids, adult mentors, and fabrication facilities — those who love to build and to learn by making. The role of the mentors is to help young people find a project vision if they don’t already have one, and then to help them realize that vision. Along the way mentors will expose the underlying math, science, and engineering principles behind the projects, teach tool usage and safety, and collectively all participants — youth and mentors alike — will create a collaborative culture of innovation and experimentation. The Maker Faire becomes the deadline, and offers a stage for the resulting projects to be exhibited and explained. Monthly meetings will be used to build the kind of collaborative culture we feel is crucial to the program. Namely, a culture that embraces failure, encourages cross-disciplinary projects that meld math, science, technology, and art, and a culture that is both open-ended and open-minded.

We feel the Young Makers program distinguishes itself in several ways from other programs such as robotics competitions and science fairs. In particular, there are no winners and losers, and the projects are open-ended and child driven. Moreover, there are very few boundaries — just like the Maker Faire, anything that is cool is fair game.

(Thanks to Tony DeRose of Pixar for the writeup about the program, from which I’ve borrowed liberally.)

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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