maker faire 2013

Elizabeth, our incredible Maker Faire coordinator, wrote this about our 2013 Maker Faire experience:

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We had a fabulous weekend at the 2013 Maker Faire!

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Many Brightworks friends and families came to help run our booth which featured two fun activities for the kids. We were in a smaller building this year so we were busy but not mobbed and had lots of time to talk with grown ups about the school while kids pursued our challenges with focus and determination.

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At first glance these two challenges appeared quite simple, but they provided rich and engaging opportunities for all ages. Our goals for the booth were to show the simple joy of these tasks, demonstrate of proper tool usage and to illuminate Brightworksian characteristics such as curiosity, creativity, persistence and cooperation.

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We brought a dozen stumps and 20+ pounds of nails for the traditional hammering ritual. Hammer plus nails plus log equals
happy, busy children. Most parents were able to let their boys and girls work without too much interference and were surprised how engaging these simple tools were to their children. It was great to see toddlers with hammers intent on driving their nail into the hard pine logs. Hammers aren’t so scary after all, and girls love them too!

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Our second activity was the ladder challenge: a cooperative task that required two kids on adjacent 8 ft. ladders to use a shared “fishing” pole to lift an object from the floor, over a line and into a basket beyond. Again, this task looked simple but provided just the right challenge for the kids. Objects that looked easy to grab were not, and those that were, proved harder to land in the target and release. Some kids worked with a sibling or friend, while others worked with strangers. Communication, failure and persistence were required to finish the job. Great triumphs came throughout the weekend, but I was especially pleased when a three-year-old worked successfully with a nine-year-old he didn’t know, as well as when one young girl persisted though she revealed after that she had been scared up on the ladder. YES!

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Thanks to everyone who worked and visited our booth!