Have you ever reached the end of a project and found yourself thinking — now what? You’ve investigated a problem, involved various community members and stakeholders, and tested multiple prototypes. But no project is truly complete until you’ve shared it and celebrated what you’ve learned. That’s why finding and creating opportunities for youth to showcase their work is such an important part of being a Champion for Making.

As we look forward to summer, we encourage you to think of ways that you can create and engage in opportunities to showcase student work. Maker Faires are one valuable showcase option. A Maker Faire brings community members together to celebrate their makers, allowing them to engage with each other about their projects and stories. Whether it’s a school-wide showcase or an at-home show and tell, creating an opportunity to share successes and challenges allows students to take pride and ownership in their work, process, and innate ingenuity.

Spotlight on Lighthouse Community Public Schools

Lighthouse Community Public Schools in Oakland, CA has been hosting a School Maker Faire (or prototype fair) each spring for the past seven years. Over the years it has grown — initially meant a day for high-school students to simultaneously work on their projects and share them, the event now includes middle-school and after-school students running activities for visitors, many of them elementary students. Here, Hetgar, an 11th grade student at Lighthouse shares his experience presenting at the Lighthouse Schools Maker Faire.

The Lighthouse School Maker Faire is an event that happens every year at Lighthouse around the end of the school year. The students have a chance to present their projects from their classes, to show their fellow peers or any visitor what the student made. It doesn’t matter if you’re in 4th grade or in 12th grade, if you have a wonderful project, you can show it at the Lighthouse School Maker Faire.

I was a student that was attending the Lighthouse School Maker Faire, because of my internship at the Wonderful Idea Co. I had to tell people how to use color bots, and facilitated the stop motion filming table. It was fun to see other people’s projects while I was working, and it was fun meeting, and getting to know the younger students at Lighthouse. At first the day was slow -nobody was showing up- because it was a Friday morning, which means classes are taking tests (or maybe nobody wanted to come?).

But in the afternoon, people decided to come and check out the Lighthouse Maker Faire as a class, and the place got packed! I saw how people got excited to see what people made, I also saw a lot of people interacting with other people’s work. But in my station people were mainly interested in the color bot: I mean why wouldn’t people be interested, it’s a robot that can paint from your program! There was still some people going to the stop-motion center, but people loved the color bot. I’ve been in the Lighthouse Maker Faire, a total of two times from when I was in the middle school side. In both cases I was just watching the projects, not making nor helping. But this time I was a part of the Lighthouse Maker Faire for the first time, which was a new fun experience for me.

Originally posted at the Lighthouse Creativity Lab.

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