The first ever Peconic Community School Maker Faire, held on Saturday, March 12th, was a resounding success. Hundreds of people gathered in the gymnasium of the Riverhead Charter School in Calverton to build, play, create, learn, innovate and engage in all things “Maker.” As you walked into the space, you could feel the joyful energy and organized chaos, new synapses forming in visitors’ minds, and people buzzing about, engaging with the many STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)- inspired activities throughout the room.
Dozens of local schools, organizations, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists shared their expertise and resources with visitors of all ages. The curiosity and engagement was infectious, spurring visitors of all ages to immerse in each exhibit and move enthusiastically onto the next. Children created squishy circuits using homemade playdough and simple light circuits. Suffolk Community College’s Mobile MakerSpace displayed their 3-D printer and the Costume Department shared a variety of costumes. Hayground School students shared inventions designed to solve health problems. Peconic Community School students set up lego-making, paper-airplane building, and a widely popular cardboard box free-building station. Ultra Motion gave demonstrations of their linear actuators while The Innovation Lab at the Ross School shared students’ innovative inventions offering unique solutions to complex problems. Artist Agathe Snow donated loose parts from her extensive collection and allowed participants to create dioramas of their minds. The Custer Institute captured visitors coming and going with their outdoor exhibit, inviting all to enjoy the visual wonder of the sun through their special astronomical instruments. Brief performances took place in different locations of the gym throughout the day. Magician and Puppeteer Christopher Scheer, kept the kids laughing and shouting with his interactive performances, Lyrical Children’s Music Together made music with groups of little ones, and Turtle Dance Music had children dancing, singing and blowing bubbles throughout his show. These are just a few of the many great exhibits at the Faire.
Peconic Community School is especially thankful to Ultra Motion for sponsoring the Maker Faire, Riverhead Charter School for providing the venue, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company for donating their brewery for the evening After Party, Shinn Estate Vineyards for donating wine and Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks for their great music.
The PCS Maker Faire was a Mini Faire, part of an international movement of Maker Faires, which create “opportunities for conversations with Makers. Tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and entrepreneurs all come together to show their projects and to talk about what they have learned. It is a community-based learning event that inspires everyone to become a maker, and connect with people and projects in their local community. Yet, Maker Faire is a “fair” — fun, engaging, and exciting.”
This event aligns perfectly with Peconic Community School’s project-based, child-centered approach to learning. The school believes that by fostering a community of “makers,” they can help children learn in deep and meaningful ways, nurture creativity and collaboration and make the world a better place.
As parent Stephan Roussan said of the day, “a child’s realization that she can make something with her own hands, is a magical thing, this creates a new normal and a completely different perspective on what is possible.”
Why foster a community of makers?
Makers are visionaries, innovators, leaders, kick starters, fixers, designers, engineers, do-it yourselfers, self-learners, artists, and architects. Makers take their inspiration from their desire to solve a problem, fulfill a need, or a drive to improve upon an already existing idea. Sometimes, the inspiration can simply be prompted by the materials or the environment surrounding them. It starts with a vision; a final goal in mind. Then a design. Testing to see what works and what needs fixing. Alterations. More testing. Does it work? What can be improved? They are constantly questioning their work and looking for ways to make improvements. Makers are never satisfied; they want to make it faster, better, more compact, more efficient. Often times, the end result is completely different than what they envisioned. Sometimes, just when you think their process is finished, makers start over with a blank slate. Not because they have given up, but because they have developed a whole new way to approach the problem.
More valuable than what is created is the experience, the process. Makers problem solve, collaborate, negotiate, learn, share, and most importantly inspire other to CREATE.
To Learn More about the Maker Movement and why it matters: