The students at Union Intermediate School have been busy the last two months, working on making different projects and crafts to feature in the school’s Maker Faire.
A Maker Faire, according to Caren Long, media specialist at the school, is something that is part science fair and part craft fair. The students are using as many recycled products as possible to construct anything from a bubble gum machine to a soda fountain dispenser.
“After going to a mini Maker Faire in Raleigh at Wake Technical Community College, I decided I wanted to bring the idea back to Union and offer our students a chance to participate,” Long said.
Maker Faires are an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students and commercial exhibitors. These “makers” participate in the Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.
The more than 300 students at Union Intermediate will have the opportunity to show their crafts and projects Feb. 22, from 3-5 p.m., during the school-sponsored event. There will be demonstrations, exhibits, make-n-takes and hands-on activities at the faire.
The ideas, Long explained, were thought out by each student.
Lilyanne White, a fifth-grade student, took initiative and designed and crafted a bubble gum machine at home. The fully-functional machine was made out of recycled cardboard, vinyl, rubber bands, a plastic jar and paint.
“I have another idea that I am working on now,” White said. “I want to make a treasure box that locks. To open the box, you will have to use a math equation to figure out the combination and there will be some type of prize inside.”
The bubble gum machine is just one of the many projects the students are working to finish before the big day.
Hakeem Murphy and Robby Lawson are working on building a soda fountain using recycled bottles, plastic tubing, cardboard and motors. The machine, when finished, will work just like a soda fountain at a restaurant.
“These projects have given each student the opportunity to learn about different things without realizing they are learning,” Long explained.
Some of the other featured projects include a life-size Operation game, a solar powered car, a drone built of Legos, slime, lava lamps and handmade stress balls.
Maker Faire launched in 2006 and demonstrated the popularity of making and interest among legions of aspiring makers to participate in hands-on activities and learn new skills. In 2017, over 190 independently-produced “Mini Maker Faires” plus over 30 larger-scale Featured Maker Faires have taken place around the world, including Tokyo, Rome, Shenzhen, Taipei, Seoul, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Detroit, San Diego, Milwaukee, and Kansas City.
Long and her students attended their first in September in Raleigh. If successful with the local event, Long said she is hoping to take a few students to the national gathering later this year.
Maker Faire is primarily designed to be forward-looking, showcasing makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies. Maker Faire features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.
“When the students are making their projects, they don’t even realize they are having to use science and math to make it work,” Long said.
Special vendors at the Union Intermediate Maker Faire are Splat Space of Durham, The Science Wizard of Raleigh, Bricks4Kids of Fayetteville, Fascinate U of Fayetteville, IEEE Move Outreach Vehicle of Raleigh, the Kings Table of Ivanhoe and Girl Scouts of North Carolina.
Students have designed several hands-on-activities for participants and visitors.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.