Student Makers Teach and Inspire Adults and Peers at the First Annual School Maker Faire

May. 16, 2017

Do you create, make, tinker, build, experiment and embrace the do-it-yourself spirit, either at home or at school? Seventy students from Calgary Board of Education, Calgary Catholic School District, Rocky View Schools, charter schools and homeschools answered this call and showcased their work at the first Calgary and Area School Maker Faire at Telus Spark on the evening of May 10.

As organizers and facilitators, we wanted to uncover what students were interested in making. We were inspired by the knowledge, wisdom and enthusiasm of these Grade 1-12 students. In her opening remarks, Trustee Joy Bowen-Eyre shared her awe and inspiration saying that we need to pay attention to these kids because one day, one of them could be her boss. Here are some examples why:

A six-year-old fashion designer shared that she hand-sewed flowers onto her skirt. As she spoke, she gestured to swatches of fabric and pictures that inspired her creations. She proudly showed pictures of herself using the sewing machine to make a dress.

Another student engineer demonstrated how he created a camper trailer for under $5. He explained how he bent sheet metal for the form, took the wheels off a remote control car that he had and the hinges from a wooden treasure chest from the dollar store.

One student entrepreneur collected market research while at the Maker Faire. As the founder of Real Food Cotton Candy, he explained his process to people who visited his booth, giving them samples of his three different flavours. Those who took the time to fill out a survey about taste, flavour and other information received a container of their favourite flavour.

The No Rules Racing track invited everyone to be race car designers and make something of their own that evening. Makers started with a block of wood, four screws and four washers. They assembled a car and decorated as they saw fit, then raced it down the track with another car.

The atrium buzzed with the energy of the students who were clearly passionate about their projects. Guests and families wandered through the exhibits impressed by the entrepreneurship, ethical citizenship and engagement so clearly embraced by these students and their work.