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Mini Maker Faire at the Science Center of Iowa

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As a homeschooling parent, I am always looking for new ways to get us out of the house and into some hands-on learning. The Science Center of Iowa is hosting the first Mini Maker Faire in Iowa, and it seems like the ideal way to kick off the school year on a high note.

If you’re like me, the first question you have is “What’s a Maker Faire?” It is a way to showcase the “makers” of the world. Innovative thinkers and inventors and creators come together to show off their wares - whether it’s hi-tech or going green or anything in-between.

The Maker Faire began in San Mateo, California in 2006, where it’s grown into an event that featured over 1,100 exhibitors and 130,000 attendees. Maker Faires are now held all over the world, and Mini Maker Faires are coming into smaller markets like Des Moines.

The Des Moines Mini Maker Faire is being held in Des Moines on September 1, 2014, 9am – 5pm at the Science Center of Iowa. Admission to the Maker Faire is free with your Science Center admission (no charge at all if you are a member).

Some of the highlights will include:

  • R2-D2: Yeah, you read that right — the beloved “Star Wars” character will make an appearance at the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire. The robot boasts high-tech engineering, with RC control and Arduino automation.
  • FRC Team 4646 ASAP: This Des Moines-based robotics team unites 15 high school students and seven mentors to design and build a robot to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition.
  • Iowa LEGO Users Group: The Iowa LUG will present interactive LEGO activities for Maker Faire attendees, including LEGO Marble Mazes and LEGO/Duplo construction.
  • Balloon Geodesic Dome: This exhibit needs your help! Attendees will inflate and attach 165 balloons throughout the day to build a geodesic dome reaching five feet in height and 10 feet in diameter.
  • CoderDojo: In today’s tech-savvy world, coding is an ever-expanding industry. CoderDojo will present information about its coding education programs.
  • Forward Learning Experience: Industrial engineering encompasses a wide variety of exciting, cutting-edge work. Industrial design graduate students will teach attendees about the growing fields of CNC programming, computer-aided drafting, 3D scanning, 3D printing and more!
  • Jewels Academy-Young Emerging Scientists: Fashion and 3D design unite in this exhibit. The Jewels Academy will teach girls how to design in 3D (and create custom tote bags for their tech projects).
  • Drop Spinning: This exhibit has only two requirements: fingers and fiber (and creativity, of course). A drop-spinning expert will demonstrate how to twist fibers, plastic and more into yarn or cord.
  • Dream: Space telescopes aren’t the only way to capture atmospheric art. This exhibit uses simple materials like spray paint to create vivid representations of the universe.
  • DICE FTC: Techies, don’t miss this exhibitor! The DICE FTC team will exhibit computers, a competition-ready robot and a 3D printer.
  • Sports Car Club of America (Des Moines Valley Region): Experience the scientific side of racing with this outdoor exhibitor. The DMVR SCCA will present DIY racing projects and a photo gallery of the racecar-building process!
  • Traveling TARDIS: Calling all Whovians! Step inside a hand-crafted replica of the “Dr. Who” trademark police phone box.
  • And many more. For a complete list, visit the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire website.

In addition to these, there will be numerous events throughout the day.

  • 10:00 am – Junk into Art Drop-in Workshop with the Des Moines Arts Center in Physio Lab
  • 11:00 am and 3:00 pm - Kid’s Circuits with Area 515 Maker Space – Sign up at the Area 515 booth in Principal Hall.
  • 1:00 pm – Recycled Runway Drop-in Workshop with the Des Moines Arts Center in Physio Lab
  • 4:00 pm – Recycled Runway Fashion Show in Physio Lab

There will also be live music, food, and laser shows throughout the day. Click here for the complete schedule.

This event is a great way for homeschooling parents to kick off their school year and maybe inspire your future “makers”.

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