This summer, in cities all over the US, MakerBot will be sponsoring Makeathons which support Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 80 percent of the fastest growing careers are currently STEAM focused; however, only one-third of school aged US students pursue these careers. So, clearly there’s work to be done exposing students to STEAM education and careers. This is why MakerBot is sponsoring Summer Makeathons. Aimed at makers 18 years and older, with an emphasis on educators, who have some minimal exposure to 3D printing, the idea for these two-day-long workshops is to collaborate together on iterations for developing STEAM educational content and have some fun along the way, too!
In addition to encouraging collaboration between 3D printing fans and educators, MakerBot Makeathons, more specifically, aim to do several more things, including: make lessons and activities; teach and learn new skills; get like-minded creative people networking; provide access to powerful tools; and encourage experimentation. This is all with the ultimate goal of empowering educators to use 3D printing in their curricula as a way to teach STEAM concepts.
Just to give you an idea of past MakerBot sponsored 3D printing education projects, last summer the Thingiverse community was encouraged to create STEAM-focused projects. Out of this project emerged the Go-Go Airboat (pictured) — a payload sensing motorized propeller boat that advertises itself as a “physics concepts and electronic learning kit.” Also, a Wind Energy Stored in Gravity project teaches how stored wind and solar energy can replace batteries in this unique 3D model that harnesses the power of wind. Since this Thingiverse STEAM event was so successful, the idea is to build off the momentum with a series of Makeathons.
Each Makeathon costs $50 to participate, and you can look here to see a list of cities hosting one. The first event is in New York City beginning on May 21, 2016 and then it is on to San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Denver. Access to MakerBot 3D printers will be possible, as well as other tools that engage students in 3D printing. Connected toys company Sphero, tiny robot makers Ozobot, and SOLIDWORKS will also be offering extra resources so that participating educators can see and experience a wide spectrum of new technologies available for use in their classrooms.
One more thing to remember, is that although you have to pay a participation fee of $50, there will be amazing opportunities available for you to gain exposure to ideas, software, and hardware that’s circulating in the 3D education field and beyond. Also, the fees will go to furnishing low-income schools with MakerBot Replicator 3D printers. And finally, there will be opportunities to win prizes including “MakerBot 3D Printers, filament, swag, and many other goodies.”
So if you are a maker, and/or an educator, check out the schedule for this summer’s Makeathons across the US! Is this something that interests you? Discuss in the MakerBot Makeathons forum over at 3DPB.com.