Will you survive the Zombie apocalypse? Want to master potions like Harry Potter? Then check out The Laboratory at CNS Maker Faire!The Laboratory just opened its doors in Bucktown this past March, and is run by experienced teachers Ed and Amy Kang. The mission of The Laboratory is to revolutionize how science is taught. Too often science classes focus on content through rote memorization instead of exploring how science encompasses everything. Amy and Ed want to show kids that science learning can be fun and a way for kids to express themselves. They are big proponents of STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
At The Laboratory, Amy and Ed offer a variety of classes aimed at grades K-6 with future plans for expansion. Classes combine science and art and fun! Kids learn how to make robots, potions, catapults, bath balls, and so much more. “Science with a context” means kids see how science is part of their lives already through TV shows, movies, and more, they get excited about it. The Laboratory space is also quite versatile. Embracing the DIY spirit, they built much of the furniture in the space. Ed explained that this wasn’t something he had a lot of experience in before. He said, “I learned to use a table saw, drill to build…it’s a testament to the fact that anyone can build spaces. If I can do it, so can you!”
Ed and Amy are super excited about CNS Maker Faire. In true DIY spirit, they are still planning their activities. One of their students may come out and show off their new skills. Maybe they’ll facilitate a project for other students. They plan on having an activity that embodies their teaching philosophy: science with a story. Come check out The Laboratory at Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire!
Be open to mess! Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside sat down with Kim Moldofsky, The Maker Mom, to talk about her work and philosophy. She started blogging in 2006 in part to encourage herself to learn how to make an Arduino and other electronics. That blog soon turned into The Maker Mom blog that is “dedicated to helping parents raise STEM-loving, Maker-friendly kids.” She also runs STEM Kids Chicago blog and Bedtime Math, which encourages parents to celebrate math with their children, and hosts #STEMchat on Twitter each month. Her Maker Mom blog is a wonderful combination of videos, experiments, news, and other resources for parents who are committed to STEM education and making. She sees a natural fit between STEM and the maker movement.
Kim Moldofsky stressed that parents can encourage STEM with their kids without breaking the bank. It’s not about buying lots of expensive stuff (though you definitely can do that). There is a lot that parents can do at home with ordinary household things. It’s really just observing, asking questions, and thinking about solutions. Kids can learn a lot by exploring everyday things like filling up containers of water and seeing what happens when you change elements. It’s important to help kids have the mentality of exploration and observation. And yeah, sometimes you just have to be open to messes. Parents don’t have to have all the answers. Just create a space for kids to explore. She sums it up best, “Parents do not need to feel that they have to gift wrap everything. Kids gain from being able to explore on their own.”
At Mini Maker Faire Chicago Northside, The Maker Mom is going to show people how to make Moon balls and other objects. Moon balls are made from interlocking panty hose and a balloon. It makes the balloon into a heftier object and more suitable for playing outside. But that’s just the start of all the awesome stuff you can do with panty hose! So come on out and make some Moon balls and learn more about Maker Mom’s work!