Learn, Teach, Make: Education at Austin Mini Maker Faire 2015

By Emily Weerts, AMMF Maker Ed coordinator
In the handful of years since Maker Faire first came to Austin, we’ve seen the event change and grow in many exciting ways. As the list of participating makers expands, one trend that we’re happy to embrace is the notable increase in education focused makers, booths, and presenters. Making and learning are natural partners – making provides opportunities to develop confidence, increase creativity, explore science, math, and art in new ways, and investigate engineering and technology. This year’s Faire features booths from makerspaces at libraries, organizations that teach computer programming to elementary students, and Austin Community College’s new maker program. From pre-K through college and beyond, makers, learners, and teachers will come together on May 16th and 17th to share their skills, ask great questions, and forge new friendships.
This year’s Maker Education Village is being sponsored by WonderLab, a membership-based, supplemental learning lab for children in upper elementary and middle school. Thanks to WonderLab’s generous contribution we are able to expand the Maker Ed Lounge and run a Maker Ed Stage at this year’s Faire. Check out the Maker Ed program (below) and join us for some inspiring workshops, stimulating discussion panels, and engaging networking. Alt Ed Austin is supporting this year’s Maker Ed Stage and Nucleus Learning Network is coordinating the Maker Ed Lounge.
As always, Maker Faire is free for educators to attend! Tell the teachers in your lives to come to the Palmer Events Center on May 16th and 17th to learn and be inspired. To receive free admission, teachers must bring a school ID or present other proof that they are an educator at the box office.


Time Maker Description
10:30 am Raspberry Pi and KANO Workshop with Geekbus Join the team from Geekbus to learn about the low cost Raspberry Pi computer system and how easy you get started learning Python with the Kano OS. Come to the Faire early, this popular workshop has only 20 seats and is first come, first serve.
12:00 pm How the First Maker Movement in Education Failed with J.E. Johnson of Maker Ready For centuries, progressive-minded educators espousing “hands-on” and “inquiry based” learning have failed; persistently falling short of their revolutionary aspirations. Can MakerEd escape the same fate? Presented by J.E. Johnson of Maker Ready.
12:30 pm Educator Networking with Nucleus Learning Network Stop by the Maker Ed Lounge for casual networking and topic driven discussions geared to meet fellow maker educators.Connect with the folks from Nucleus Learning Network and Maker Ed Austin.
1:30 pm Thinkery STEAM Squad Discussion Panel The Thinkery’s STEAM Squad will present how they have been promoting STEAM learning through advocacy, mentorship, and hands on learning. Members processes including researching, developing, and implementing innovative learning opportunities.
2:30 pm Maker Education Discussion Panel Join us in a discussion of how the maker movement is entering primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools. Panelists include educators and makers from a variety of programs and settings.
3:00 pm Hands-on activities led by the Thinkery’s STEAM Squad Stop by the Maker Ed Lounge for hands-on activities led by the Thinkery’s STEAM Squad.
4:00 pm Thinkery EdExchange Discussion Panel EdExchange is the Thinkery’s professional development program for formal and informal educators. Sessions focus on tinkering and making, robotics, coding, 3D modeling, circuitry and electronics, and more. Hear from several EdExchange participants and Thinkery educators about their experience in the pilot year of this program.


Time Maker Description
10:30 am E-Origami Workshop with Beverly Ball Using just paper and conductive materials, create circuits, switches, and movement. This is a great beginner’s circuit-building workshop, has only 15 seats and is first come, first serve.
12:30 pm Educator Networking with Nucleus Learning Network Stop by the Maker Ed Lounge for casual networking and topic driven discussions geared to meet fellow maker educators.Connect with the folks from Nucleus Learning Network and Maker Ed Austin.
1:30 pm Home Learning Environments presented by Breanna Sylvester Join the discussion and explore ideas for creating, organizing, and maintaining play-based home environments for toddler and preschool children.
3:30 pm Skybridge Makers Discussion Panel Hear from Skybridge Academy’s students about their process and progress in classes like Kinect Hacking, DIY Inventor, and Graphic Novels. Students and teachers will discuss their experience asking meaningful questions, taking initiative, and persevering to find answers.
4:00 pm 10 Inexpensive Reasons Not to Buy a 3D Printer for Your MakerSpace with Jeff Branson from Sparkfun Electronics In our rush to outfit exciting maker spaces, we’re tempted by the quick programming solutions 3D printers promise. Not so fast! There are many inexpensive or free options for equipping a maker space without the complexity, expense, and reliability issues a 3D printer brings. This presentation/demonstration aims to expose you to ten things that unlock creative potential without prying open your wallet.

Workshops! Performers! Speakers! Maker ED! Full schedules are UP!

alesi_20140124_01034Wowza y’all!  We have 2 days CHOCK FULL of amazing workshops, speakers, and performers, on multiple stages… You might need to get a weekend pass just to get to it all!  We have a Fun with Chemistry show, performances by  Austin Breakdance, Total Unicorn, and Mazeltov Kocktail Hour, an amazing speaker stage line-up curated by Nerd Nite and Dorkbot, with talks on topics like bee-keeping, large-scale 3D printing, metalworking, and natural home building, and even a presentation on Science in the Movies with Steve Wolf of Stunt Ranch.  Workshops on everything from Making Bath Bombs  to Playful Smartphone Photography to Using 0zobot to teach coding to kids in our workshop area.  Apart from the workshop area, there will be separate areas with ongoing arduino workshops offered by Radio Shack all day Saturday AND Sunday, as well as hoop-making workshops going on in the Hula Hooping area and a wide variety of fascinating workshops in the Fabric Factory AND the Fiber Lounge.   Dragon VerticalInterested in Maker Ed?  NEW this year, we have an unbelievable schedule of panels, talks, and workshops on the Maker Ed stage and in the Maker Ed Lounge.  There will be Hands-on activities by the Thinkery’s STEAM Squad, an E-Origami workshop, a Raspberry Pi and KANO Workshop from Geekbus, a talk on Ten Inexpensive Reason NOT to buy a 3D printer by Jeff Branson from Sparkfun Electronics, and SO much more.

Start planning your weekend now… There should be PLENTY for everyone, of all different ages and interests!

Nerdy Derby: The Competition!

                                              NERDY DERBY! Sponsored by FND_Logo_Black

This year Foundry (a new social network for Makers!) is sponsoring the Nerdy Derby track and is giving away SIX HUNDRED racecar building kits on a first come, first serve basis at the Faire on Saturday morning starting at 10 am.  You can build you car at the Faire, or take it home with you and build it there, and then bring it back on Sunday (must be turned in at the track by 12 pm to race!) for the SUPER EXCITING COMPETITION starting at 1 pm .  Build and race to win amazing prizes: gift ceritificates to SparkFun, Circuit Scribe Maker kits, and even a Makerbot 3D Digitizer!!


1) You can use these materials provided, or you can use any other materials you would like. But to race your car must :

       a) be no more than 5 pounds

       b) Contain no blades, spikes, projectiles, or pyrotechnics

       c) be no more than 8 inches wide

2) You can work on the car at the Faire (Austin Tinkering School will be on site providing teachers, tools, and tinkering know-how) or you can take your kit home with you and work on it there but…

3) You MUST turn in your car on Sunday May 17 AT the Nerdy Derby racetrack BEFORE 12 pm to be able to compete. Cars turned in after 12 pm on Sunday May 17 will not be able to race. Cars left overnight on Saturday will not be able to race. You must be present to win.

4) Suggestions:

      a) Car bodies should be approximately 1 1/2 inches wide to be able to straddle the ‘rail’ of the racetrack. Wheels should be no more than 1/2 inch wider on either side.

     b) Give your car an awesome name: The Abominator. Heck on Wheels. Texas Tornado.

      c) Prizes are great, but above all else, HAVE FUN!!

5) Tweet a pic of your finished ride to @hellofoundry for a chance to win even more prizes!

NERDY DERBY: The Prizes!!

6th place – $50 gift certificate to Sparkfun

5th place – $75 gift certificate to Sparkfun

4th place – $100 gift certificate to Sparkfun

3rd place – $150 gift certificate to Sparkfun + Circuit Scribe Maker Kit

2nd place – $200 gift certificate to Sparkfun + Circuit Scribe Maker Kit

1st place – Makerbot 3D Digitizer + Circuit Scribe Maker Kit

Best designed $150 gift certificate to Sparkfun + Circuit Scribe Maker Kit

Most creative use of parts $150 gift certificate to Sparkfun + Circuit Scribe Maker Kit

Why the Austin Mini Maker Faire is truly a Family Friendly event


By Bernadette Noll of Slow Family Living

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There are many events that call themselves Family Friendly and with great intention. They have kid booths and adult booths and it seems like there is something for everyone! And there is, just not always at the same time and place.

At the Austin Mini Maker Faire, there truly is something for all ages and often while sitting at the same table. At Austin Mini Maker Faire you won’t find yourself hovering above your child as they work on a kid craft. Rather you’ll be in the chair next to them working on your own thing. Maybe you’ll be soldering together or stitching up a cool lunch bag or working on a weaving or listening to the Walking Tree of Life as he discusses how he made that amazing costume of his. And when you’re engaged in an activity, your child will most likely be engaged too – in your project or a project of their own.20130505-DSC_0571 (2)  20130505-DSC_0335 (2)

This Faire is truly multi-generational. You’ll find yourselves sitting down together – both of you equally enthralled and engaged in an activity. You’ll be glad when your kid wants to linger a little longer in the craft area. Your child will be psyched that you want to check out the drones for just a while more. And you’ll both be ecstatic by weekend’s end, that you learned something, tried something, discovered something, or made something together. Over and over and over again. DSC05155_1



Boneshaker Big Wheel

Ron Schroer and his Boneshaker BigWheel will be at the Faire this year, all the way from Jacksonville, FL!

Boneshaker Big Wheel 2014 incarnation from Ron Schroer on Vimeo.

From an article in Fine Woodworking magazine: This unique wooden “penny farthing” style bicycle was built by Ron Schroer, a Jacksonville, Florida resident. After going through chemo a few years ago, he said he realized “if I didn’t let some of my crazy out before I passed, I’d be disappointed with myself.” The only goal of his art projects has been to make people smile- and they do.

Read more: http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/117933/a-classic-bicycle-gets-re-imagined-in-wood#ixzz3ZU8K1mZW
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