Maker Ed & Makers at EdVenture in Columbia, SC

By Steve Davee

 EdVenture logo


Last week Maker Ed, represented by AnnMarrie Thomas and me, had the great privilege of visiting EdVenture, the largest children’s museum in the South,  for a few days of exploring and experiencing making with EdVenture Staff, visiting educators, and the public.

Events included a monthly meeting of the STEM Conversations: Making Connections series, as part of the Hands-On, Minds-On! Summer Institute.

EdVenture, with support from the South Carolina Mathematics and Science Partnership grant, is currently conducting its eighth year of Hands-On, Minds-On! Institute for Teachers. The Hands-On, Minds-On! experience offers elementary classroom teachers professional development designed to build their confidence about science and mathematics and cultivate their students’ curiosity, while providing tools for understanding the concepts of curriculum integration.

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There’s no better way to discuss and explore ideas about making than making itself, so the majority of the time was spent in making connections through conversations, and by building and making things.

AnnMarie and I came equipped with presentations and for explorations with Squishy circuits and LED paper crafts, but the staff of EdVenture were the true stars. They put together wonderful additional offerings in soldering, art robotics, cardboard construction, bead work and jewelry making, music making via multiple iPads, wind creations, and Makey Makey music and games.

The following pictures should help convey the joy of making shared and experienced by all, as we learned together about making by making.


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AnnMarie introducing Squishy Circuits


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EdVenture Staff

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Awesome Lighthouse and Earings
Ms. Shamaka, showing her LED paper craft lighthouse (and her beautiful birch and wire earrings that she made,) both indicative of her warmth and brilliance as a lighthouse of inspiration and caring as an educator.

I’d like to personally thank all of the stellar EdVenture staff for being such fantastic hosts, all of the participants for being so talented, enthusiastic and engaging, and  the beautiful city of Columbia, for among many things, introducing me to some excellent true Southern food (how did I not know what a hush puppies were before? And mustard based BBQ sauce? Yes, please.) Columbia also has a top- notch art museum that allowed me to spend hours with such revolutionary makers as Monet, Matisse, Renoir, Degas, and Boudin, and a growing, revitalized downtown being largely driven by artists, creative folks, and makers of things. The point is, the local economy is being energized by makers and doers, as it is in so many communities.

I’d like to also thank my colleague and friend Dr. AnnMarie Thomas, for being such a joy to work with. We both were both made to feel so welcome, and each of us gained great inspiration from the EdVenture staff and event participants.

The best news is, I get to return in June. I am prepared for some humidity, and looking forward to the fireflies, as well as much more hands-on exploration of making, education, and creativity.


Note that EdVenture is a Maker Corps Host Site. Applications are still being accepted through tomorrow, March 15. 








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