Magellan News

A Community of Innovators: Reflecting On Magellan's First School Maker Faire

On Thursday, March 6th, Magellan held its inaugural School Maker Faire, a showcase of the creative spirit, ingenuity, and talent of the entire school community.
It was thrilling to see and experience so many fascinating, compelling, and ingenious showcases from our students, faculty, and school families.
From programming microcontrollers and woodworking to crafting with clay and exploring augmented reality, the rich diversity of topics was a delight to experience. It was also the perfect way to commemorate a significant Magellan milestone: the upcoming opening of our Forever Home! But, before saying farewell to Anderson Lane, we wanted to celebrate the impact of maker-centered learning has had within our school and community.

About Maker Faire
The very first Maker Faire was held in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006 and was the brainchild of Make: magazine. This annual event became a global phenomenon (even the White House hosted several) and played a major role in raising awareness around the Maker Movement, a philosophy with both cultural and educational influences. Not surprisingly, this style of maker-centered learning, called constructionism, is the cornerstone of Magellan Innovation.

Between 2007 and 2019, Austin held its own annual Maker Faire events, which I was fortunate to take part in, both as a participant and as an organizer of its maker education programming. And although Maker Faires are less prolific these days, the fun, dynamic, and community spirit that these events foster made it the obvious format for the school's innovation exhibition.

Fun fact: one common question is why is there an "e" in Maker Faire? According to Make:, they chose this spelling because faire is French for "to do" - which is what these fairs are all about!

Meet the Makers
The Magellan School Maker Faire, much to our delight, featured 26 exhibits, workshops, and projects from across the community. For those who weren't able to attend, here is a small sample of what was there so see and do.

One of the first people to reply to our Call for Makers was Naomi, a 5th grader who wanted to share her stellar digital fabrication skills. She told the team that she, "wanted to spark up the creativity and interest in someone else, like Ms. Sofia and Mr. Patrick did with me." This is maker-empowerment in action!
Beside student-led workshops, we also had Magellan parents sharing some of their entrepreneurial talents, like Lydia Contreras, Co-Founder of Griö, who facilitated an engineering design activity with students.

One of our favorite areas was the ToyBox 3D printer station. Third grade student volunteers from Ms. Mansi's class exemplified the idea of student agency as they operated, performed troubleshooting, and helped other 3D print a plethora of models for attendees. 

Leading up to the event, Ms. Mansi shared that, "Students are very motivated to use the 3D printer, and have demonstrated great creativity in looking for objects to print that are related to the UOI. The best part is the student agency and collaboration it has fostered in my classroom, as students help each other and learn to independently navigate the use of the printer without disrupting classroom procedures!" 

The Future of Innovation
Starting with the founding of the Francis-Lo i.lab for Design + Making in 2017 to the implementation of Maker Accelerator in 2021, Magellan Innovation, like the school itself, has evolved, adapted, and grown over time.

And while we'll look back fondly on our time here at Anderson Lane, we are also excited to have two separate innovation labs to better support our community at the new campus. Besides a PYP innovation space, the venerable i.lab, there will also be the bauhaus-design lab ("b.lab" for short) that will be geared for middle and high school maker-centered learning experiences.

And since we're doubling the makerspaces, our hope is to double the size of our next School Maker Faire. Whether as an attendee or as a Maker, we hope to see you there!