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Arleta School hosts a "Make It Faire"

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Steve Spears, retired PPS teacher, helps Arleta School students Jeremiah Fowlkes get ready to blast off his rocket - using air compressed with a tire pump.Students at Arleta School looked excited on June 12 – as they well might, because it was the day before school let out for the summer.

But this particular enthusiasm came from the opportunity to participate some of the many activities being offered that day at a “Make It Faire”.

“My mission for this event is get students thinking about becoming inventors, engineers, designers, and creators,” said the organizer, Arleta School Teacher-Librarian Melinda McCrossen. “The ‘Maker Culture’ is based on the sharing of ideas.”

Her goal was to find an engaging way to teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) content, especially on the last few days of school. “The idea came about from well-known ‘Maker Fair’ national events held in San Francisco and New York City, as well as a regional event held at OMSI every year.”

At a conference, McCrossen said she met Ben Jones of “PDX DIY”, whom she recruited to bring in volunteers and procure supplies.

The stations at the faire included:

Awesome Chemical Reactions – Creating silly sludge from glue

Makey Makey Rock Band – Making musical instruments with fruit, play-dough, and cardboard

Game Designer – Create a video game using Pixel Press

Squishy Circuits – Using play-dough to conduct electricity

Papercrafter – Making amazing shapes with origami

Rocketeer – Building and launching rockets with compressed air

The Faire was a success. Every room was filled with kids having a lot of fun, while playing with math, science, and technology. And the following day, school was out till September.