Reimagining the School Science Fair

Maker News
Reimagining the School Science Fair


The experience of a science fair — finding something that you are uniquely interested in exploring deeply for weeks or months, and then sharing what you discover about it — is a great way to learn.

A Maker’s experience at Maker Faire is very similar in this aspect to a student’s at a science fair. Beyond that, Maker Faire celebrates even more — invention, originality, and resourcefulness of any stripe — all while having fun! Engaging, exciting, and full of whimsy, Maker Faire brings together Makers to show what they’ve made and share what they’ve learned with others. Maker Faire rewards curiosity and fosters participation. It combines science and art, engineering and craft, technology and creativity. It’s all about learning how things work, and why. We get to try new things. It’s Science Fair++.

The Maker Faire model seems to be resonating in schools. In fact, we were getting so many requests from schools who wanted to organize Maker Faires that we finally launched the School Maker Faire program. We provide the tools and guidance you need at no cost to launch an alternative to the science fair model in a K-12 environment.

For those of you who might be interested in learning more about our program, next Friday, May 20th we will host a workshop for parents, teachers, administrators at Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo on How to Make a School Maker Faire

Since quietly rolling out the School Maker Faire program last May, we’ve heard from scores of schools eager to launch one of their own. Marshall Middle School in Olympia, Washington, plans to replace its science fair, “but still focus on the science behind making things” in its School Maker Faire. Delaine Eastin Elementary School in Union City, California, is extending its school science fair to include Maker Faire, “giving a choice to students to demonstrate their own projects.”

Your school may start a School Maker Faire for other reasons. The American Cooperative School of Tunis in North Africa hosted their inaugural Maker Faire after teacher Adam Campbell noticed “at the design tech exhibitions, which were set up like traditional art shows, the kids wanted to touch and explore the displays. In fact, they wanted to make things themselves! The playful, collaborative spirit of Maker Faire gave us the foundation to create a hands-on event that was more focused on the student experience, rather than simply displaying projects.”

We are excited to be bringing this program to your school and to your community. We need your help to broaden the Maker Movement and bring it to all kids, in every kind of school and neighborhood. We want to hear the stories of new Makers out there, and this is a great way to cast the net widely. Whether or not you can come to our workshop on Friday, be sure to check out our program for School Maker Faire.

To get started with a School Maker Faire, check us out at for more information about starting one on your campus. And if you are able to do so, make sure you register and come down Friday, May 20th for How to Make a School Maker Faire

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Michelle, or Binka, makes . While at Maker Media, she oversaw publications, outreach, and programming for kids, families, and schools. Before joining Maker Media in 2007, she worked at the Exploratorium, in Mitchel Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, and as a curriculum designer for various publishers and educational researchers. When she’s not supporting future makers, including her two young sons, Binka does some making of her own, most often as a visual artist.

View more articles by Michelle "Binka" Hlubinka


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