Lighthouse/ Lodestar

On October 22, Maker VISTA members Anna Grossi and Claire Tiffany-Appleton participated in the East Bay Mini Maker Faire (EBMMF) at Park Day School in Oakland. The EBMMF is a yearly daylong event organized by parents, makers, and educators in the East Bay, and draws large crowds of makers, innovators, and curious minds.

The Maker VISTAs, along with teachers and student volunteers, organized and documented the maker area for sister-schools Lighthouse and Lodestar. They facilitated three activities: light-up cards, cardboard linkages, and felt ugly-dolls, incorporating making concepts from electricity and circuits, sewing, and mechanical movements.  

Leading up to the Maker Faire, Anna and Claire had a hand in every aspect; they took stock of materials, ordered supplies, mobilized student-volunteers, provided faire info and time-sheets, as well as outlined their actions and processes for future refinement. While on site, they kept documentation in the backs of their minds, ensuring that they captured enough photos and visual records of the activities. Lately, Anna and Claire have been concerned with written documentation, namely in providing streamlined project guides to build capacity and facilitate activities. In this ongoing task, a lightbulb moment has simply been realising how complicated the process of documentation is, and how avoiding redundancy and over-elaborate instructions can be difficult. They hope that by providing informed and first-hand feedback, detailed yet simple guides, and consolidated documentation, they will help their sites and future VISTAs.  

This past month, Anna and Claire have tackled and teased-out thought-provoking questions like these in their maker landscape:

  • How can we make this activity, space, or lesson more student-driven?
  • How can we engage with participants?
  • How can we balance instruction with exploration?

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