Why Educators Want to Attend Maker Faire

Why Educators Want to Attend Maker Faire

Kids with R2D2 at Maker Faire Bay Area

Maker Faire is a powerful resource for educators, providing a 2-day endlessly inspiring, hands-on experience where anything is possible. Teachers can and have organized groups of students to attend the Faire together, as well as gleaned countless ideas for ways to make learning fun and bring science and tech to life. Maker Faire Bay Area is right around the corner, taking place next weekend, May 21 and 22 at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. There is still time to get advanced pricing on tickets (until Thursday, May 12th at 12:01 a.m. PDT ). Educators, get all the information you need about the Faire on our educational outreach page. And for insight and inspiration, check out what a group of teachers answered when asked the question: “Why do you want to come to Maker Faire?”

“I feel that as our world becomes increasingly more digitized, and students ‘see’ things on flat screens, it becomes increasingly important for them to interact with the world in 3D — that is, to see/build/think/and create with real objects, in the present moment. Each year, I get about a gazillion new ideas, or new ways to think about old ideas, at Maker Faire. It highlights imagination made real.”
—Linda B., 4th and 5th grade art, computer science, math, and science teacher, Oakland, Calif.

“Maker Faire exemplifies the best coming together of creativity and science. As a teacher I feel it is not only important to convey theories, laws, and equations to my students, but also give them a sense of what can be achieved by the power of these scientific ideas that they can relate to in their day-to-day lives.”
—Thanh-Lam N., high school science teacher, San Jose, Calif.

“Last year was my first year at Maker Faire. Being there can’t compare to just looking at it on Flickr or reading about it on a blog. Besides having a great time myself, I was able to bring back great activities for my students to help spark in them a desire to learn and be curious. We tried to grow plants in our class window thanks to ideas from Windowfarms. The class used their free time to look through the stacks of 3D cards I bought from a vendor. I retold stories I heard from Adam Savage, which enthralled my third graders. We even spent days drawing new rides for Cyclecide, thinking of ways to re-purpose old bikes. I felt I was enjoying the lessons I developed as much as the kids were. Maker Faire is where learning and discovery is risky and fun, just like it’s meant to be.”
—Nick M., 3rd grade teacher, Orange, Calif.

“Are you kidding??? Maker Faire is the meeting grounds for all of geekdom! I want to share out the cool things I’ve experienced with my students!”
—Clint J., high school computer science, engineering, and math teacher, Fremont, Calif.

Kids with Raygun Rocketship at Maker Faire Bay Area

“Maker Faire is a great opportunity to get my students out from behind the computer and put their ideas into the world in a tactile way.”
—Brian A., college professor of art and computer science, Emeryville, Calif.

“I have been to Maker Faire before and am amazed at the creativity: from cupcakes on wheels to a giant Mousetrap, to exploding soda bottle fountains, I not only feel like a kid again, I get some great ideas to bring into the classroom. I would love to come again for more sources of inspiration!”
—Giselle V., early childhood art and language arts teacher, Sunnyvale, Calif.

“I am always inspired and motivated (a hard thing to do at the end of a school year!) from all the new approaches to materials and sharing. Makes for great material to chew on over the summer and apply in the next fall’s lessons. I just photograph and download on my computer as an ‘inspired images’ album.”
—Kirsten J., high school teacher and college professor of art, San Francisco, Calif.

“Thank you for being, Maker Faire! Thank you for the fun-loving craziness of it all! If I won the lottery I would bring all my friends for the day!”
—Audrey F., art, math, science, and special education teacher, Newark, Calif.

“I have been going for five years now, and every time I go, I find a new idea or product that I can use in the classroom. This year I am hoping to entice my 5th graders to design a project for show in the class. I am using old Maker Faire posters. Thank you for putting on this one-of-a-kind venue.”
—Mary T., 5th grade teacher, El Cerrito, Calif.

Russell the Rave Raffe at Maker Faire Bay Area

“I was lucky enough to come to Maker Faire last year, and I spent the entire day making voice notes in my phone of fun, cool, interesting, and innovative ideas to use in my productions. This year I would like to bring some visual notes back to my classroom to find out what might inspire my current middle school performers and builders.”
—Diane R., middle school art, music, and drama teacher in Sebastopol, Calif.

“In the past three years I have attended, I have been revitalized and inspired by the ingenuity and creativity I encounter. I pick up ideas for my courses in new media design and programming, physical computing, and sound. The collection of vendors and project groups never cease to amaze me!”
—Gary C., college art, computer science, and music professor, Santa Cruz and San Francisco, Calif.

“I like to come to Maker Faire to spark my creativity, learn new things, and get ideas for projects and activities with my classroom children as well as with my own personal children. Looking at the way other people see their world helps me to ‘think outside the box,’ and in turn, to teach outside said box, and help others learn to be creative thinkers and problem solvers.”
—Karen F., Head Start teacher, Elgin, Texas

“The community of people at Maker Faire is exhilarating, from the steampunks to the families and everything in between. I always leave giddy with possibilities.”
—Claudia G-H, elementary school teacher, artist, mural maker, and community organizer, Oakland, Calif.

“Because I want to run away and join the circus for a weekend. I hope not to weep again on Sunday when Maker Faire ends.”
—Susie K., elementary school art, computer science, math, and science teacher, San Francisco, Calif.

“In this period of time where test-taking skills are deemed more important than creativity, I would like to visit a place where the opposite is true.”
—Alisa G., elementary school art, math, music, science, and language arts teacher, Millbrae, Calif.

Kids with bots at Maker Faire Bay Area

“I’m interested in STEM education, and Maker Faire fits right in. [I’d like to] bring some students and give them alternate career pathways, such as the iFixit.com model of repair manuals. I am very interested in finding out how to bring students yearly so it can be part of the middle school curriculum.”
—Henry D., high school computer science teacher, Cambria, Calif.

“Thanks for your great contribution to the planet and to so many people’s lives being better.”
—Lenore K., high school science teacher, Watsonville, Calif.

“It’s the largest display of science in one place that we’ve ever been to.”
—Erika H., 5th grade math and science teacher, San Mateo, Calif.

“The makers who present at the Faire have each answered the question ‘Why?’ with a ‘Why not?’ of their own interpretation. There’s an amazing sea of talented makers in the world, and this is just a sliver of what creativity can do.”
—Michelle P., writing and homeschool teacher, Sebastopol, Calif.

“Every year, I participate in the district and county science fairs with my students, and coming up with innovative ideas is difficult; not so when you are a Maker Faire participant. Ideas for new ways to power cars, ways to make your own –anything!– at home are great, and I always see at least one book I can add to my classroom library at the bookstore.”
—Ann S., high school math and science teacher, San Jose, Calif.

Maker Faire Bay Area hand-on activities

“I encourage many of my students to attend, and then we compare notes and discuss all the interesting demonstrations we saw. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Maker Faire is talking to all the participants about their creations and ideas.”
—Tim G., 3rd grade teacher, Foster City, Calif.

“Maker Faire really sparks discussion and ideas with even the most ‘turned off’ student.”
—Arlyn S., high school social studies and independent studies teacher, Los Altos Hills, Calif.

“I have started a “Maker Class” at my high school, and I attend Maker Faire to get ideas and see what others are doing. This helps me develop my curriculum and push the limits of what we can make.”
—Wayne B., high school engineering and science teacher, San Francisco, Calif.

“Several colleagues have gone over the years, and they never stop talking about it. I think if enough of us got together, we could pool our enthusiasm and what we learn to turn our students on, too.”
—Lili M., 5th grade teacher, Oakland, Calif.

“There are an array of new ideas on how to take everyday materials and create something new and innovative from them. I am very interested in this since the budget for science keeps being cut and I need to find new and cheaper ways to run some units. … Creativity and innovation are great motivators for middle school students, I have found, and that is what Maker Faire is all about to me.”
—Nadine S., 7th grade science teacher, San Jose, Calif.

“Learning only happens with ‘doing’…. and there’s nothing like making things to engage all learners! Lego robotics, Arduino, Vex kits, Pico boards — all these things have me fired up right now as tools to get my students exploring their own power to make, create, and control their own world.”
—Jason S., K-8 computer science, engineering, math, music, and science teacher, San Francisco, Calif.

“I used the teacher ticket for myself and I purchased three tickets for students to attend as well. I think Maker Faire not only encourages students to think about science, but also shows them that nothing is impossible if they are willing to put in the time and effort. They can be great artists, dancers, inventors, or even athletes if they have determination. Each project at Maker Faire is a product of love and dedication, and that drive can affect and direct us in any endeavor — even teaching!”
—Jillian A., 6th grade math, science, and reading teacher, San Lorenzo, Calif.

“Maker Faire is where I get inspiration and energy to share the rest of the year, and take myself and my students to the next level!”
—Brian S., high school computer science, math, science, and video teacher, Ceres, Calif.

“Basic reading skills are crucial to doing any sort of project, even if it’s making a sandwich. Knowing vocabulary is also important. Maker Faire reminds me of this, and helps me as an English teacher work with math and science teachers to build up my students’ skills. That way, they can succeed in all areas.”
—Shavon W., high school English teacher, Newark, Calif.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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