“I’m going to be a mad scientist” the girl in a pink jacket skipping in front of her parents exclaimed as they entered the Maker Faire in Reston last month. She had certainly come to the right place! The Reston Maker Faire in Northern Virginia, one of many Maker Faires held in cities around the world, was primarily sponsored by Nova Labs - a community based space that encourages hands-on STEM learning.
Because we're all about hands-on science, VISTA staff seized the chance to attend and report back.
Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.
The Reston event drew thousands. There was lots to do and see, including robotics demonstrations and even a drone aerial display! Children up to age 92 participated and had fun.
In addition to the demonstrations, there were several lectures – including one on creating your own 3D printer, and there was lots of hands-on “making”. Children, and adults, were given the tools and skills to create. Perhaps most popular at the Reston Maker Faire were the booths that allowed kids to play with the remote controlled robots, seen above.
Although Maker Faires have been around for over a decade, this was the first one in the Northern Virginia area. With a crowd of thousands, and a write up in the Washington Post, I think we are seeing the beginning of a great movement in Virginia; a move towards an appreciation of the hands-on fun (and learning) that science, technology and engineering can provide.