Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#MakerFaire 2015 – Inspiration at a Price

I love Maker Faire! My car is covered in Maker Faire bumper stickers. The door to my computer lab is covered in Maker Faire postcards. I run Maker Camp over the summer in anticipation of Maker Faire. It is the weekend I look most forward to in the first month of the school year. You can find me at Maker Faire from open to close, both days, and I give Maker Faire as homework for all my students.

I should explain the homework assignment a little though. My school is located in Rego Park. We are exactly one mile for the NY Hall of Science, where the World Maker Faire is held. My students come from the surrounding area, Corona, Rego Park, Lefrak City, and Forest Hills. We have one of the most diverse populations in THE most diverse city in the world. That diversity includes over 40% low income students, 50+ different languages spoken, every continent represented in our student body, and every religion practiced. The diversity of my school is even more impressive when you take in the harmonious way our students, many of whom English is a second language, interact with each other.

My students have been attending World Maker Faire since the first one was held in 2010. Back then kids could get tickets for free through organizations such as MOUSE Squad. MOUSE Squad still offers students who are part of the program free tickets, but it’s become harder and harder to find free tickets for other students.

The price of tickets has risen as I’m sure, the cost of putting on the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth has risen. The faire started out in the parking lot of NY Sci and now takes over six fields. I’m not sure what the numbers were this year, but last year, when the Pope wasn’t in town, there were over 75,000 visitors each day. Among those were some of my over 300 students who had to find me and shout out “Halsey in the House!” to get extra credit.

This year I was inspired by Miss Piggy and decided to add to the extra credit assignment; students could take selfies with me. You can see some of them below.
Last year I saw more than 80 of my students over the course of the two days at faire. This year I saw about 30. When I asked my students who didn’t attend why they did not, the reason was disheartening:
I want more »

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