Out and About at the First Ever MIT Mini Maker Faire

Educators from Parts and Crafts, a Somerville maker education program for young people, show Maker Faire attendants how to make speakers out of simple materials.

Educators from Parts and Crafts, a Somerville maker education program for young people, show Maker Faire attendees how to make speakers out of simple materials.

It was a soggy Saturday in Cambridge, but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from coming out to the first ever Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Mini Maker Faire. Dozens of makers packed into two huge tents where robots clanked about, catapults hurtled objects through the air, and an interactive light up dance floor colored the very ground guests walked on.

Many of the exhibitors at the MIT Mini Maker Faire were affiliated with MIT as students, research team members, or members of student affinity groups—and it was exciting to see all of the coding, kooky projects, and serious inventions being developed by curious tinkerers throughout the school. It was also exciting to engage with makers from other local schools, after school programs, and hacker spaces. Representing the Agency by Design project, I was particularly amazed to see how many educational organizations were at the Maker Faire—all ready to work with students or talk about their programming.

So much happens at a Maker Faire—it’s hard to take it all in. Below are just a few highlight images from my visit:

Check out the batteries on this beauty. The MIT Electrical Vehicle team shows off a 1976 Porsche 914 that they have converted into a battery operated vehicle.

Check out the batteries on this beauty! The MIT Electrical Vehicle team shows off a 1976 Porsche 914 that they have converted into a battery operated vehicle.

The Build-It-Yourself Laboratory, an online platform dedicated to "inspiring and guiding the next generation of builders" had a playful and fun vegetable-rich display at the MIT Mini Maker Faire.

The Build-It-Yourself Laboratory, an online platform dedicated to “inspiring and guiding the next generation of builders” had a playful and fun vegetable-rich display at the MIT Mini Maker Faire.

There were no lack of Legos at the MIT Mini Maker Faire!

There were no lack of Legos at the MIT Mini Maker Faire!

Student from Olin College of Engineering's Robotic Sailing Team were eager to talk about their autonomous robotic sailboat.

Students from Olin College of Engineering’s Robotic Sailing Team were eager to talk about their autonomous robotic sailboat. They’ve got big plans to send an unmanned vessel sailing across the Atlantic!

The MIT Hobby Shop had a bunch of beautiful hand craft and computer generated musical instruments on display at the MIT Mini Maker Faire.

The MIT Hobby Shop had a bunch of beautiful hand crafted and computer generated musical instruments on display at the MIT Mini Maker Faire.

As the Agency by Design team prepares for next weekend’s Making, Thinking, and Understanding institute in San Francisco, the MIT Mini Maker Faire serves as great reminder of all of the enthusiasm that’s in the air around making—especially for young learners and the curious at heart.

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About Edward P. Clapp

Edward is a senior research manager and a member of the core research team working on the Agency by Design initiative at Project Zero, an educational research center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Edward’s current research interests include creativity and innovation, maker-centered education, design thinking, and contemporary approaches to arts teaching and learning. In addition to his work as an educational researcher, Edward is a lecturer on education at HGSE. Web: http://scholar.harvard.edu/edwardclapp Social: @edwardpclapp

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