After ten months of planning, Lake Orion High School hosted its first Maker Fair on Saturday, Dec. 3rd, 2016. We invited boys and girls in grades 3-8 with high school students serving as mentors. There were three sessions available at an hour and fifteen minutes each. Students were required to sign up ahead of time but paid $5 at the door. Using grant money, we were able to hire The Great Maker Race. We were also able to have Foundry in a Box (Susan Manyen is the contact). Their services are provided free of charge. The remainder of our stations were run by Lake Orion Community Schools staff and National Science Honor Society students. The funds for these stations came from money collected at the door, some district funds, and some building funds.
- The students had a fantastic time. Students and parents alike were raving about the offerings and wanting to know when we were going to do it again.
- High schoolers as mentors were fantastic. In my opinion, they learned more from the day than the participants did.
- Community outreach – the positive press that was generated for our school was a huge bonus.
- The age of the students seemed just right.
- The time-frame worked well. Even though many wanted to stay past their time, the workers needed a break after an hour and 15 minutes of constantly being “on.”
- Using our National Science Honor Society students was a huge plus.
- The people from The Great Maker Race and Foundry in a Box were fantastic.
What I will change for next year:
- I will use a site like Eventbrite so that parents pay up front. There were about 35% no-shows from our sign up. I had counted on that money and had to do some begging after the event to pay all the bills.
- Now that I have a video of this year’s event, I will ask the elementary and middle schools to show the video ahead of the event as a promotion in the future.
- I will look for more outside donors and partners.
Article originally published in the March issue of the Michigan Educational Technology Specialists newsletter.
Melissa Middleton (@MelissMiddleton): Melissa is the media specialist at Lake Orion High School in Lake Orion, MI. She has been in the district for 20 years. Besides her role as a media specialist, she also serves as chair of the Teachers Teach Teachers Technology Group in the district. She is an avid reader and an avid golfer. Melissa can be reached via email at .