Week 9 Robotics: What Do You Need to Coordinate a “Maker Day”
for Your School?
First, let me tell you what is a Maker Day. To me, this is a day where the students showcase what they have created. According to the Makertool kit article, it is a day of celebrating the best gifts of humanity: the ability to think wisely and creatively and to share.
The purpose of a Maker Day is to introduce participants to the Maker Movement, focusing on four distinct elements:
- Design thinking
- Design challenges or problem sketch
- Collaborative prototyping of a design solution
- Process to encourage group reflection. (Crichton & Carter, 2014).
According to the article “Makerday Toolkit,” a maker fair is not the same as a maker day. The goal of a maker day is to encourage participants to experience making and tinkering through design tinkering and hands-on activities (Crichton & Carter, 2014).
To get started with a maker day, you will need a check list. You want to make sure everything is in place and you have a variety of activities to show. Below are the steps from the tool kit:
- Set your date and agenda for the day- start early
- Secure your location; determine if any permits are needed or permission.
- Develop a budget and manage spending
- Determine whether funding or sponsors are needed for the event. If so start proposals as soon as possible.
- Develop an agenda for the day from set up to clean up
- Develop a list of volunteers, sponsors, guest speakers and anyone else who may be involved.
- Develop a communication plan to the people involved for roles and responsibilities.
- Determine key milestones and set times to review whether the plan is on track.
Set up the venue, floor plan of where everyone is going to be, and number of volunteers needed.
- Prepare greeting/registration and any marketing required, name tags, and when reminders will be sent.
- Prepare to open the day with a ice breaker, e.g., snacks and coffee. Confirm and officially welcome the speakers.
- Plan for coffee breaks and food; put someone in charge of ordering and tending to refreshments while the event is happening.
- Capture the day with video and pictures.
- Groups participants up to 4 or 6.
- Design thinking process: who develops the problem stretch, when facilitators will be trained, who is responsible for markers, paper or pens and pencils, etc.
- Prototype building: What will be in the design kits? Who will be responsible for building the design kits, pantry, or tool kits? Any special rules?
- Reflecting on the day: How many three-fold poster presentation panels will be needed and what other materials? Who will organize gallery walk? How long will it take?
- Clean up of venue: assign someone to be responsible for removal of presentations, food, design kits, pantry, and tool kits.
- Debriefing/evaluating the day: What went well or what didn’t and what are participants saying? (Crichton, & Carter, 2014).
Being that I have never participated in a maker day, I think I would go with this checklist. I think it is well planned out. I suggest letting the students take the lead on deciding which projects should be made available for hands-on activities and which presentations should be included.
I would use Crichton & Carter’s (2014) timeline, but modify it to fit our events. The day would look something like the following:
9:00 Welcome by hosts
9:15 Speaker #1 (Intro to design concepts)
9:30 Speaker #2 (Role of design thinking; why robotics matter)
9:45 Formation of groups and coffee
10:00 Start of project work
1:00-3:00 Continuation of project work
3:00 Preparation of group presentations
3:30 Closing comments and gallery tour
3:45 Gallery tour and closing reception
I think this would be a good rough draft of the timeline for our maker day.
I know an event like this would take thorough planning, but it can work with a group of people if properly set up. I think if I used the above checklist and timeline, I could organize and event that would make for an enjoyable and educational experience.
Crichton, S. & Carter, D. (2014). It’s Your Ticket. MakerDay Tool Kit, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2015, from http://www.itabc.ca/sites/default/ files/docs/discover/Final MakerDayToolKit.pdf.