“Maker education offers a transformational approach to teaching and learning that attends to the real and relevant needs of learners and humans. It is an approach that positions agency and student interest at the center, asking students to become more aware of the design of the world around them, and begin to see themselves as people who can tinker, hack and improve that design.” (https://makered.org/about/what-is-maker-education/)
We jumped into the fall with some maker programming at Neighborhood North and had a blast creating using both high- and low-tech methods! In September, our friends at the Carnegie Science Center’s Mobile Fab Lab set up their high-tech camp in our Maker Space for three days and gave our learners the opportunity to design, fabricate, and experiment with STEM-based making. Every fourth-grade classroom from both local elementary schools was able to come for a field trip, and both the teachers and students loved the experience. Our afterschool program had the opportunity to dig into a two-hour workshop and experiment with the earthquake table. Our Program Coordinator, Karissa Collins shared, “The after-school program students through Trails had their first program on Thursday and were able to build houses that needed to withstand the earthquake table. At first, the kids were struggling to understand but once the FabLab instructors showed them, they loved working with the Inkscape and Laser printers to build their projects. I was not here for other projects throughout the week but know they also make gliders and keychains with the laser printer… the instructors were fabulous!” In addition to the weekday programs, families were able to explore a variety of making activities during an open maker workshop on Saturday, and this was a time of high creativity, energy, and community. We look forward to future opportunities to bring digital making into our space.
The Neighborhood North Team went low-tech the following week to celebrate the Day of Play with a Cardboard Challenge of our own. Thank you to everyone who donated cardboard boxes to be used for this event- they were put to incredibly good use. We set up stations in the museum and invited families to create any part of a city that they could imagine- from a skyscraper to a house to a castle to a bridge. We had a fabulous turn-out of young artists and engineers who created ingenious and beautiful structures. At the end of our time, we constructed a city using all of the buildings designed by our families. Our team has voted that The Cardboard Challenge will become an annual Neighborhood North event, so make sure to start saving that cardboard for next year!
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Honoring Fred Rogers, creator of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, "Won't You Be My Neighbor Day" is on March 20th. Neighborhood North will dedicate the full week of March 20-25 to exploring emotions through mask-making in the Maker Space, followed by stage or puppet show performances.