Homepage

Maker Week lets participants get hands-on with projects

Joshua Wang, 9, is centered with friends as they watch as his dune buggy makes its way through the course during the celebration to Makers Week at Sidney Friedman Park on Saturday, August 29, 2015.
Joshua Wang, 9, is centered with friends as they watch as his dune buggy makes its way through the course during the celebration to Makers Week at Sidney Friedman Park on Saturday, August 29, 2015. CDT photo

A drone was hovering around Sidney Friedman Park on Saturday morning.

Just when you thought it would go one direction, Noah Schwab, a State College Area High School senior, controlled it another way.

It was a project Schwab completed for a computer engineering graphics class run by teacher Troy Alesi.

And on Saturday, it was showcased during the final day of Maker Week.

Maker Week was spearheaded by Schlow Centre Region Library in partnership with Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania.

In the event’s first year, library head of IT services Nathaniel Rasmussen said the goal was to introduce and educate the community on STEM projects, which focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

“We feel like this is our calling,” Rasmussen said. “The library is more than just books. We like to be an educational outlet for the community, and a place people can be hands-on and learn new things. It’s a way to connect with community members and spark creativity.”

Discovery Space held a weeklong camp for kids ages 8 to 16 that gave them the opportunity to make solar cars and dune buggies that were put through a race and obstacle course.

Other seminars, classes and interactive demos, which Rasmussen said attracted “thousands,” were open to the public

Clint Judy, founder of The Make Space in the Fraser Street Garage, held a seminar teaching people how to code using the Internet and mobile apps.

“There’s a maker movement around the country to get kids hands on and learning,” said Discovery Space director of education Michele Crowl. “Sometimes technology is involved and sometimes it’s not, but they’re learning to sew, draw, use 3-D printing and think outside the box when they make something.”

There were 40 kids registered for the camp this year.

Eight-year-old Emily Whitney, a Park Forest Elementary School student, was among the group who made sensor-powered dune buggies.

She mounted a motor on the small vehicle that was powered through an electric switch.

“It didn’t work at first — something went wrong — but I was able to work around some of the problems and get it to work,” Emily said.

Working from mistakes was part of the goal.

“It’s not necessarily failing,” Crowl said. “They can go back and learn why something didn’t work and learn from that.”

She added that Maker Week is an event the library and Discovery Space will team up with again next year.

  Comments