Over the past five years, the offerings for young makers at previous iterations of Maker Faire Rome, the European Edition, have always been robust, from the specially hosted Education Day to workshops and interactive exhibits throughout the Faire. But this year, from December 1–3, the organizers have raised the bar much higher, with no fewer than 10,000 square meters of space dedicated solely to our next generation of makers and inventors. In Pavilion 4, aspiring young makers, ages 4 to 15, will have the chance to experience firsthand what being a maker really means, through a host of hands-on electronics, robotics, programming, and digital creativity activities. The opportunities for them to learn by doing will be abundant.
In previous posts leading up to the fifth annual Maker Faire Rome, we interviewed Faire curator (and father of Slic3r) Alessandro Ranellucci to gain insight, we shared a collection of assistive tech projects that will be on exhibit, and we highlighted how international the maker lineup by showcasing 10 projects from 10 countries. This Faire is going to span three full days at the Fiera di Roma exhibition center, and there’s no doubt it’s going to be a massive celebration. The overall show program lists an impressive 23 rooms packed with ongoing events! Guaranteed, there will be something for everyone, regardless of age or interest. This is not a show you want to miss. Hats off to the amazing organizing team!
Following is a breakdown of the different offerings in the dedicated Kids Area.
Open Lab Area
This interactive area capable of accommodating a large number of participants grants exclusive access to kids only, ages 4 to 15. Children can spend quality time in the area, accompanied and supported by Codemotion Kids instructors, as they explore a wealth of activities and have fun programming robots or building robotic structures and machines. To take part, register at the reception desk at the entrance to the Open Lab Area.
STEAM City: Build a smart city using over 40,000 Lego bricks and STEAM concepts.
STEAM City Junior: Which mechanism moves a carousel? What will the bicycles of the future be? How does a windmill work? Answer these questions and more!
Robot Creatures: Robotics has always been inspired by the natural world and its incredible solutions. Bring your fantasy to life by assembling your own robot creature. Get creative and invent robots never seen before!
Robot Swarm: Let’s move a swarm of more than 50 programmable mini-robots. Which language will our robots understand? Come find out!
Draw in 3D: Have you ever tried drawing in space? Unleash your creativity to make the most curious objects, thanks to the magic of 3D pens.
Teaching Islands offers 10 different workspaces for kids to discover robotics, coding, crafting, and prototyping. To participate in Teaching Islands activities during the Faire, register on-site at the entrance to the Islands. There’s a whole array of workshops planned for the three days of the Faire. Check the listings for full information. Here are just a few.
Computer Sewing Lab: Atelier Piccoli Stilisti is a fashion school for children and teenagers with the aim of transmitting passion, encouraging creativity, and giving the youngest makers the tools needed to create something unique and innovative. In this workshop for children 7 to 12 years old, kids will combine the traditional craft of sewing with the reuse of discarded PC components. Fans, connectors, and cables will become new and colorful decorative elements, able to make each creation unusual and original. Each participant will learn the basic sewing techniques needed to create a wonderful object to later bring home: choose from a bag or a robot assembled from scratch and decorated with recycled electronic components.
Power! Exploring Batteries: Have you ever wondered how batteries work and what makes them so powerful? Come and experiment in order to understand and have fun! This workshop aims to introduce kids to the functioning of electric batteries and show them how to create a battery from everyday items. Kids will explore the components of a battery, make electric circuits to test them, and experiment with different metals and electrolytes from everyday sources such as a can of soda and lemon juice.
Science in the Kitchen: The kitchen is the most scientific and technological space in many homes. Each time we cook, prepare coffee, or make a cake, we’re unconsciously doing a series of scientific experiments. Mini-scientists will explore science in the kitchen and learn through play what happens when you mix different ingredients under different circumstances.
At Fablab for Kids, young participants can discover all the most interesting machinery in digital do-it-yourself and have the opportunity to attend lab sessions dedicated to prototyping. To participate, register at the Fablab entrance. There’s a full schedule of workshops planned. Here are just a few.
Make Your Strandbeest: Strandbeest is a magic creature that could live on our future beaches. It’s a robot that moves only with the power of wind. Come to this workshop for kids ages 9 to 15 and make your own small Strandbeest starting with a kit. At home, in the garden, on the beach, and in the country, your friends will be amazed when the wind gives it life.
MyCraft Nightlight: From virtual and digital reality to your bedside table, come build a personalized lamp for lighting up your nights. We’ll build a block with the perfect amount of light generated by the LED inside.
DIY Spinner: Fight spinner-consumerism by building your very own spinner while learning the physics behind the product. Toys are always better when you make them yourself.
Science Show Stage
Every half-hour throughout the Faire, there will be a fun science show called Energy All Around, presented by Scienza Divertente Roma, a cultural association whose main aim is to promote scientific culture among children by using a practical and experience-based approach. Through the show, a science professor and his silly assistant will help the audience, in a very funny but scientific way, to know more about energy and its different forms, as well as the environmental impact of renewable and non-renewable energy sources.
In the Kids Area and throughout the Faire, exhibition spaces will include hundreds of stands where young participants can meet the makers and see their designs. There’s a wide variety of exhibits focused around kids and education, schools (of all levels),and young makers. Here’s a small sampling.
Robot Band Music: Born out of the Istituto Tecnico Tecnologic, this Robotic Band, composed of guitar, drum, keyboard and electric bass robots, can perform any musical track. It’s fueled by microcontrollers (Arduino and Microchip PIC) programmed with music and is only limited by available memory. The microcontrollers command step motors, actuators, and servomotors, driving the mechanical parts. The command system is carried out by an app programmed by students who learned to plan, simulate, and create automatic systems. It’s an open system, so the hardware and software can be changed and improved.
3D-Printed Pac-Man: A group of engineering students have brought this classic game out of the digital realm into the physical realm through the use of 3D printing. Who can resist wanting to play with it?
Looking for the Thin Match Man: Alla Ricerca Dell’Uomo Fiammifero (Looking for the Thin Match Man) is a tinkering project for primary school students. Starting from reading the book The Thin Match Man, students create rhymes, texts, and drawings, which they integrate with embedded processing systems in the pages of a book, linking them to sensory perceptions such as light, movement, sound, and feel. The pages are made of polypropylene panels and embed an ATTiny85 microcontroller processing system. Each processing system consists of a battery, an activation button, a CPU, and an actuator.
For all the information you need to join the fun at Maker Faire Rome, the European Edition, check out the website!