The annual STEAM maker festival wowed kids and parents alike on December 6th, 2014 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  This one of a kind event was created to bridge the gap between school based STEAM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) and the MAKER movement.  An annual event, the festival includes local businesses and non-profits that display their cutting edge inventions, products, and ideas, allowing children to engage in them.

The MAKER movement is a trend in which individuals create and market unique technology products that are made using unused, discarded or broken electronic, plastic, silicon or other raw material from a computer-related device.  In other words, it combines the do-it-yourself (DIY) and do-it-with-others (DIWO) techniques. This movement has led to the creation of a number of technology products and solutions by “normal” individuals working without supportive infrastructure. The expanding amount of information available online and the decreasing cost of electronic components fuels this movement.

Jordan-with-bananas-STEAM-Design39CampusDesign39Campus is filled with deep dives (classes) on tinkering and coding and provides an encouraging environment for students to create, disassemble and work in groups to make prototypes of ideas while allowing technology to advance the kiddos beyond their traditional projects.  The Design39Campus booth displayed an invention by a 6th grader to combat global warming, a marble maze made out of recyclables that students used in a kindergarten deep dive (learning time where students go “in-depth” into different subject matters), legos for children to build, and displayed pictures of kids creating at the school.  It was so fascinating to see the inventions of others at the booths around the hall, such as an electronic life-size giraffe, amazing 3-D printer images, bananas turned into a keyboard to sound like a piano when touched, and so much more.  Knowing that students at Design39Campus are exposed to this environment at an early age is inspiring.

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