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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 4:29 pm | Mostly Cloudy 58º


Marymount of Santa Barbara Provides Day of Learning, Fun with Maker Fair

It was hard to tell who was having more fun, the children or the adults, at Marymount of Santa Barbara's recent Maker Fair event.

The well-attended Sunday event drew people of all ages from across Santa Barbara and offered more than 25 hands-on activities that were both fun and educational.

The maker fair offered a variety of experiences from learning about polymers while making bouncy balls to making lava lamps with alginate. Particularly popular were the 3D printing, the catapult building, and DNA extraction where you could see real DNA and learn about the structure of DNA while building a model from licorice and mini-marshmallows.

Students were also seen using powerful telescopes, large format printers (zar plotters), cutting glass, and coding. Others expressed their creativity through art projects using unusual materials, making hula hoops, building Lego structures, and creating wallets out of duct tape.

Junior high students embodied the creative innovator mindset while building some of the stations like the spin art machine built from an old fan.

The Maker Fair embodies the spirit of the creative design and engineering class offered to all Marymount Junior high students where they express their creativity solving problems and design innovative solutions to real world problems through 3d printing, coding and robotics.

"This is more fun than the Exploratorium in San Francisco," said one mother in attendance. Another attendee asked, "Can the hours of the event be extended to allow the adults more time at all of the stations?"

The success of many of the stations can be attributed to the expertise of several Marymount teachers, including Rodney Lee, director of science, technology, engineering and math, and Jannine Tuttle, director of creative design and engineering as well as science teachers Hannah Senner and Tim Pearson, and art teacher Jessie Haney. Community members from organizations such as EduCraft, Bruker Nano, Zar plotter, Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit Telescope Workshop and Skyberry’s Electroluminescent Gear also helped to make the event an exciting and enriching experience for attendees and appeared to love the opportunity to interact with kids enthusiastic about learning.

Importantly, every station at the Maker Fair was not just a fun activity, but a true learning experience. For students particularly attracted to a certain station, there were ample opportunities for students to delve deeper in their learning with the guidance of a teacher with expertise in that particular area of learning.

Unlike traditional school fairs, Maker Fairs are specifically designed to celebrate the arts, engineering, science and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset.

"Marymount's Maker Fair was not only a fun day of learning," Marymount Head of School Andrew Wooden said, "but a great example of the cross curriculum teaching, experiential learning, innovation, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration that are so central to our programs at Marymount."

The event, which was free of charge and open to all ages, took full advantage of Marymount's new innovation labs and design thinking learning spaces, but spilled out into other parts of Marymount's historic Riviera campus as well. The popularity of the event prompted one grandparent in attendance to ask, "Can you please do this again?" His grandson was quick to back him up, "Yes, could you?"

Marymount is an independent coeducational school, junior kindergarten through eighth grade, on a picturesque 10-acre campus nestled on the Santa Barbara Riviera.

— Molly Seguel is the admission director for Marymount of Santa Barbara.

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