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Learning by doing

Day-long 'Maker Faire' gives kids time to tinker at Harvey Clarke Elementary


NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KATHY FULLER - First-grader Rory Hickey looks pleased with the results of her screen print.There was no sitting at a desk to learn last Friday at Harvey Clarke Elementary School.

Indeed, all the learning being done by the students was hands-on.

It was the second annual “Maker Faire,” a celebration of creativity and imagination — with a little science and engineering thrown in — organized by second-grade teacher Barbara Barker.

Activity stations included something for everyone: bubble painting, a giant-size checker board, Matchbox car racing down the side of the school building, screen printing, origami and toothbrush robots.

Pacific University brought along a 3-D printer and a computer program that allowed students to design their own pop-up greeting cards.

Intel was there with the “guts” of computers to examine.

“Kids don’t have enough time to tinker and figure out how things work,” Barker said. Her Maker Faire is designed to do just that.

Volunteer Johnny Delfs manned a popular activity as children made their own hand-held catapults out of Popsicle sticks, rubber bands and repurposed plastic water bottle lids. Then came the fun part as several boys perfected the art of launching miniature marshmallows high into the air, then across the blacktop and into their friends’ mouths.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KATHY FULLER - Harvey Clarke principal Pete Moshinsky explains the basics of creating an electrical circuit.

At another station, Harvey Clarke principal Pete Moshinsky helped students make simple electrical circuits.

“This is awesome,” exclaimed one student, as a tiny green LED bulb lit up when she touched two copper tape pieces together. ‘When did you learn to do this?” she asked Moshinsky.

“I just learned this morning,” he replied with a smile, happy to see his students so amazed by copper tape, a couple of wires and some Scotch tape.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KATHY FULLER - The marble maze grabs the attention of some of the younger students at Harvey Clarke Elementary Schools Maker Faire last Friday.

Barker said this year’s fair — a sort of field day for young engineers —is bigger and better than last year, and she’s already planning ahead for 2016.

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