iSchool’s Mini Maker Fair with a Science Flare offers hands-on fun, brings community together

Children and adults of all ages were awed and amazed as they zipped balloons across the room, created spider art, and let test tube foam explosions drip down their arms.  These hands-on experiences were part of a free Mini Maker Fair with a Science Flare held on Saturday, May 31, 2014 from 1-4 pm at the Great Falls Library. iSchool for the Future organized and offered the Fair as part of our commitment to unlock the genius in every child.

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Over 100 visitors, including children from 14 area schools and home schooled students, visited eight different stations and an outdoor exhibition.  Excitement in the room was visible, with many children exclaiming with pleasure over successful experiments and many parents leaving comments about the unique and valuable learning experience.

iSchool demonstrated several activities from its exclusive STEAM SELTM curriculum, which integrates science, technology, engineering, arts, math, and 21st Century Social and Emotional Life Skills into a seamless package. iSchool is offering its STEAM SELTM curriculum in its Wizards of i Summer Camp Series. Camps will be held in Reston and The Plains, Virginia.

STEAM SELTM activities at the Mini Maker Fair included:

* Problem solving with paper airplanes and a Chopper Challenge
* Scientist CircleTM, a multiple intelligence / personal strength identification tool
* Educational questioning methods over foaming chemical reactions
* Math magic with Mobius Strips
* A Design Thinking-inspired “Playground of Your Dreams” build with recycled materials
* Balloon zip lines and Earthquake-proof builds to teach physics and inspire innovation in energy use and quality of life
* A Global Perspective Touch Table with musical instruments, science artifacts, and costumes from around the world

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Images: Fun with Chemistry Reactions

In addition to demonstrating its own STEAM SELTM approach, iSchool also brought together partners to introduce children to unique opportunities available to them in their own community.  Partner demonstrations included 3D Printing with a partner associated with Nova Labs Makerspace in Reston, a working beehive from Great Falls-based Backyard Eden Honey, and biodiversity-oriented crafts with Vienna-based Kreative Kids.  A few blocks away from the Library, visitors were treated to a rare exhibition of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, or drones) and their use in protecting endangered species from the Kashmir World Foundation’s Robotics Division. These partners will also provide hands-on and unique experiential learning experiences for students in iSchool’s summer camps.

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Images left to right: Making biodiversity crafts; watching a 3D Printer; keeping eyes on bees

iSchool would like to thank its volunteers, partners, sponsors, and visitors! Area adults and teenagers, including several from Thomas Jefferson High School, volunteered time to set up and interact with visiting children. Special thanks go to the Great Falls Library for providing space and EagleBank for committing as a fiscal sponsor. Click here to register for iSchool’s summer camps and experience its STEAM SELTM approach.

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