This weekend was the first time that I have ever attended the Detroit Maker Faire at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Not only was it my first time attending, but I was blessed to have both a booth and a workshop at the Faire.
For those who are new, I am an 18-year-old educator, inventor, and entrepreneur who is passionate about creating accessible and affordable STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) educational materials for kids. The Maker Faire was the perfect opportunity to spread my values and engage kids in my love for robotics and STEAM.
Below, I am covering what I did at the Maker Faire and how I engaged the attendees in STEAM. I often do corporate events with adults, and the Maker Faire was so much fun because I got to engage with different types of people of all ages. I appreciated switching it up, showcasing cool electronics for kids, and chasing my robot around on the Lovett Banquet Hall floor with kids.
Not only that, but I saw many awesome robots. From FIRST Robotics Competition robots, to a shark robot, to an instrumental robot. Check out videos on my Instagram at @danielleboyer. Both of my assistants and myself are FIRST Robotics alumni and we had such a great time both networking with other alumni and planning for future events!
Making Robotics Accessible Workshop
Thanks to the generosity of APGSWUG (SOLIDWORKS User Group) President Kam Smith, we were able to offer this workshop for 32 kids each day. Each kid and their parents got to assemble a robot chassis and wheels. The robots will later go on to be donated to several causes, which I will be blogging more in depth about later. It was really cool to see the joy on the kids faces as they assembled a robot, learned about the components, and engaged to better understand the amazing world of robotics.
Thank you Camp Pencil Point and Joe Foo for letting The STEAM Connection use your workshop space and participate in your sessions!
If your kids love to illustrate, check them out here.
The STEAM Connection Books Coloring Station
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison published 2018 statistics on diversity in published children’s books. While 50% of the characters were white and 27% were animals/other, there was a staggering 1% American Indian Characters and 5% Latinx characters. Even then, the largest portion of minority characters was Black with 10%. (https://bit.ly/1O8ZHuP)
I decided to begin to tackle this horrifying problem by self-publishing 5 diverse STEAM books for grades K-3. Their absence of words and numerals allows children from any culture to enjoy learning about everything from the environment to robotics. The books have gone to 3,000+ kids in 5 countries for free and feature children with different ethnicities, religions, and disabilities.
Every Kid Gets a Robot
Outside of our workshops, we also showcased Every Kid Gets a Robot at our booth. I invented this educational robot and it costs $18.95 to produce. Kids assemble, wire, and program the robot. Designed in SOLIDWORKS, the chassis and wheels of the robot are 3D-printed to increase worldwide manufacturing accessibility.
So, why robotics? Robotics education is important because its a hands-on way to teach a variety of STEM skills from electrical work to design to programming in a way that kids will remember.
I was honored to showcase my student's projects that have been done through both FIRST robotics and the Engineering Design Club that I started. All of these designs were done in the SOLIDWORKS App for Kids. Check out my favorite kids CAD (Computer-Aided Design) program here.
We added their designs all over our table and showcased my favorite 3D prints, including the Maker Faire robot logo with a top hat.
If you are interested in checking out my local events in Oakland County, go to my events page for more information.
If you would like to bring a booth or a workshop like this to your event, email us at email@example.com. We have a few extremely exciting events coming up soon, including the Goonettes Robotics Invitational and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society Conference.
Photo credits: Bollu|Boyer Photography.