Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thinkers, Makers, Tinkers :: Maker Faire 2011

As a Young Makers Club, Love and Rockets was interested in everything at Maker Faire, not only SteamPunk fun and adventures, but all of the thinkers, makers, and tinkerers. We love S.T.E.A.M.M.: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Music!


We also love to support, promote, encourage, facilitate, and celebrate other thinkers, makers, and tinkerers.

Sometimes we show our love by trying something dangerous.
Well, not actually dangerous... more like bad tasting.

But Gever Tulley does make a very good point about our perceptions of danger and what we should and should not do. It seems we have grown so accustomed to rules of "safety" that we have neglected our curiosity, and our ability to learn how to safely manage dangerous activities. A consequence of this is that we miss opportunities to play, explore, and learn. Play is very important, and learning just happens to be one of the many happy side effects from frequent and unstructured play.

Gever, would you say "running" is a dangerous activity? My daughter was on a field trip, at a park, and the teachers and aids kept reminding the children: "Don't run! Remember children, no running!" Did you know that running on Tom Sawyer's Island at Disneyland is against the rules? I hear "don't run" everywhere! We are allowing an entire generation of children to grow up without skinned knees, but more prone than ever to heart disease and diabetes. Seems like the real danger is that we are not using our minds and bodies as they were designed... to reason, to work, to be challenged, to learn, to excel.

I am so glad Gever Tulley is around, to remind me, and others, that we can be daring. We can explore and be curious, we can test ideas. We can even get hurt, which is a learning opportunity. With precautions, with mentoring, with proper tools, and good sense about physics, cause and effect... it is possible to safely do dangerous things.

Maria loves tools. She helped me assemble an entire Ikea cabinet. And I am talking about really using the tools and being genuinely helpful.

If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood
and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for
the endless immensity of the sea.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It takes patience, a letting go of control and worries, to give a child real freedom... to let them discover and own that sense of longing for the endless immensity of the sea. Gever has a gift for being in the moment, and sharing the wonder of "what's going to happen... let's see!"

Maker Faire is full of people who are curious, who want to see what happens when forces and materials come together, when ideas are tested, when childhood dreams are made to come true.

I have had an igloo fascination ever since my kindergarten teacher taught me: "I is for igloo." And this teacher, Katy Arrillaga, is actually making igloos. Or as I dubbed it: Jugloos!

11:00 am... These are coming together with hot glue and labor.

3:21 pm... I did not stick around to see it get assembled. This is what it looked like when I saw it again, later the same day.

And this... this is Princess Leia.
I know, she looks Absolutely Small, and completely adorable. The Force is totally with her. for something absolutely cool. We are talking flame tube, or a Ruben's tube. I first heard of this idea from Grant, who suggested it as a Love and Rockets project to bring to Maker Faire... only he has some cool and secret improvements, which, Grant: Let's do this thing!

So, this young man, from Menlo School, was demonstrating his Ruben's tube, which has propane running through a closed tube, and a speaker attached at one end. The music makes the flames rise and fall with the... hold on, Make::Projects can explain this: "When you play a constant-frequency tone into the Flame Tube, it displays a perfect sine wave of fire. Play music, and the flames make a wild display caused by big, air-moving bass beats, standing waves from resonant frequencies, and other acoustic phenomena. It’s inspiring, fun to watch, and good for heating up your garage or workshop on a cold day."

I have something like this in mind for Fourth of July fireworks!

Are you getting the idea... that this post... could go on forever?
It could. Go. on. forever.
We were there only one day. And I will never run out of amazing stories, memories and inspiration taken from this one day. But for now, I will share just one more thinker-maker-tinker project... a hovercraft.

Plywood. Some material to create a skirt around the base. A folding chair. And... an electric leaf blower. All together, able to hover across the floor, carrying as much as four hundred pounds.

In this case... about fifty pounds of happy, daring , playing, thinking, tinkering fun.

Thank you, Hands On Science for bringing physics lessons to life, and for making a hovercraft to share at Maker Faire.


judy in ky said...

This is so cool. No wonder Maria is smiling!

ArtyZen said...

Note to self - save milk bottles!!