Craig Bakay | May 01, 2019
Where could you find a scale model of the CN Tower, complete with elevator, a 3D modelling of your school and a working trebuchet?
That would be the Loughborough Public School Maker Faire, which was on display to the public last Thursday afternoon in Sydenham.
Teacher Alan MacDonald, who was one of the organizers of the event, said this was the third time they’ve done this and this time, it involved the entire student body — from kindergarten to Grade 8.
“This isn’t a science fair, where getting help from parents and neighbours is illegal,” he said. “Here, it’s encouraged.
“The idea is to make something you’re interested in. The spelling of ‘Faire’ is french for ‘to do’ or ‘to make.’”
MacDonald said another way this differs from a science fair is that it’s non-competitive.
“If it were competitive, kids might be more apt to make something they already know how to do,” he said. “In this, kids are much more apt to take risks.”
He said another inspiring attraction for students is that there is lots of choice in what they make.
“There’s really only one rule,” he said. “You can’t do something you already know how to do.
“Oh, and other than the odd mediaeval weapon of mass destruction, it must be school appropriate.”
The mediaeval weapon MacDonald referred to came from Grade 8er Lucas Steele, who along with fellow student Jack MacInnis, built a working scale model trebuchet, which is capable of launching a basketball 50 feet.
“A couple of weeks ago, we were studying levers and mechanical advantage in physics and math class,” Steele said. “Jack looked up plans online and drew up a schematic.
“We built it at my grandparents’ house.”
Edie Hillman and Caitlyn Ball turned their love of all things Harry Potter into their project — butter beer.
“We had butter beer at the Universal theme park,” said Hillman. “We found a recipe online and changed it around a little bit.”
The projects on display ran quite the gamut.
There were plenty of dioramas, but also a Nimbus 2000 (Harry Potter again, it’s a broom favoured by quidditch players), horse treats, homemade cleaning products, a refracting telescope, bath bombs, jams, cookies, homemade essential oils, maracas, a catapult, a guitar and stomp rockets.
One of the more fascinating projects came from Keagan Leonard, who got dad Wade to fly the family drone around the school and then took the data collected to map the entire school yard, complete with elevation and vegetation components.
He then printed out a 3D version of the school.
“The idea just came to me,” he said. “I asked the principal if it was OK to use 3D printers and he said sure.”