The Making of a Maker
When we were first told about the Maker Faire we would be hosting (8 days before the actual event), I had no idea what a Maker or Maker Faire even meant! After asking many questions and researching the Maker Movement I started to feel like this could be something fun. As a group of fourteen graduate students we had to create seven booths for possibly 150 people to visit. I’m not going to lie, it was super stressful. Where do we begin?? Thanks to some wise suggestions from our instructors we decided to get into groups of two based on interest. I am very creative when it comes to crafts so I thought working with Christen, an art teacher, would be a good fit. Boy was I right! We were so excited to start working on our booth!
At the beginning of our planning we searched for ideas of how to incorporate art in a Maker Faire. After about an hour of searching we came across this thing called a scribble machine. We noticed right away the lines the machines were drawing. Some were straight, some curvy, and some were even zig zag. Perfect, we had an idea of what our booth could be. First we decided we wanted to change the name to Scribble Bot. We wanted our participants to look at art in a new way. They could talk about the types of lines the Bot was making. When they were done creating art they could look at the abstract part of their creation.
We had a vision and we knew what we wanted the participants to get out of our booth. Next, the fun part…creating the Scribble Bot. I decided it would be best to put one of the Bots together to make sure it worked before getting the necessary supplies. In the maker spirit of things I went to a thrift store and bought a 50 cent wobble toy.
My first step was to take it apart and look for a motor inside…which I found! I had to disconnect the motor from the rest of the toy by simply cutting the two wires that were attached to it. It was pretty simple to just touch the two wires to opposite sides of a battery which made the motor spin! I put a glue stick on the end to create motion. Next, I taped everything to the top of a recycled sour cream container and taped markers on the side…viola! During class work time Christen and I made six more Scribble Bots.
On the day of the Maker Faire we had a HUGE turnout. Well over 150 participants! They were very interested in making their own Scribble Bots once they found out how simple it really was!
Click Scribble Bot for an outline of our booth and have fun!!!
A Personal Reflection
I learned a lot about the Maker Movement and planning a Maker Faire throughout this experience. I felt like the Scribble Bots were a great way to get people talking about art. When asked what lines they created, many people had to think about it for a minute before responding. I learned that sometimes it’s fun to create new things out of old things and to find a different use for something. I can see the Maker Movement being a paradigm for teaching and learning. As a teacher, the process of trying to come up with a different idea is very important. In a More Beautiful Question it is referred to as divergent thinking (Berger, 2014, p. 17) . This experience forced me to use this type of thinking to come up with the Scribble Bot and put the whole booth together. I think that the Scribble Bot is a great way to incorporate art and technology. I never thought that putting a motor on a recycled container could lead to a piece of abstract art!
Makers in the Classroom
My students will absolutely love the idea of creating scribble bots. I can see using it in math for identifying angles. By having them build the Bots themselves, they will be very interested in creating lines. Once they are finished making lines, they can label the angles! Based on this Maker Faire experience I will need to be prepared for things to fall apart. Sometimes the wires came off the Bots and it took time to tape them back together. It was also pretty messy and it would be hard to keep the marker off the floor in a classroom. I would definitely put down a lot of table cloth under the Bots. I can’t wait to try it this school year!
Photo Credit: Shari Saddison and Christen Woodruff
Berger, W. (2014). A More Beautiful Question. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA.