The MakerBus Year in Review (2015): Part I

What a year it has been.

From being part of Maker Faire Detroit, to launching our first after school class, to creating programming for thousands of students, the MakerBus has been very busy in 2015.

In this series of blog posts we’re going to look back on some of the highlights of the past year. Because even as amazing as 2015 has been, we have our biggest and boldest plans ever for 2016. We look forward to making a number of exciting announcements in January – stay tuned!

YEAR IN REVIEW

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Showing how lasers can transmit sound at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia.

January:

We started the new year by taking a big step – in January we became a social enterprise. We made this decision because we believe in the social enterprise ethos of people over profits and are dedicated to using this belief to better our community.

Because January involved a lot of behind the scenes paperwork and planning we didn’t host very many public events. One of our most memorable public events was participating in “DorkBot” at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia – at this celebration of technology and art we demonstrated how lasers can be used to transmit sound over long distances.

Our favourite January blog post: 

Ideas for creating a makerspace in a box

February:

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Using LEDs to create working prototypes at Bresica College.

In February we were invited to design an activity for the Just Own It Conference at Brescia College. At this amazing event more than 300 young women from school boards across Southern Ontario would come together to actively engage in entrepreneurialism and leadership.

The MakerBus was invited to design an activity for all 300+ participants that would encourage them to embrace their creativity, problem solving, and entrepreneurialism.

For the event we designed a rapid prototyping challenge in which the participants had to invent a prototype. The activity had three rules: the prototype must involve a working LED; it must try to solve a problem; it must be designed collaboratively. Each team was be given a box of supplies and a brief tutorial showing possible ways to create a working circuit to light the LED. After that they had an hour to rapidly prototype a product.

We were blown away by the creativity shown by these young women. While designing the challenge we had some ideas of what they might design and create, but these young women took their designs and prototypes to levels we couldn’t have imagined.

In addition to the event at Brescia College, we organized free public events for Family Day at Carling Heights Community Centre and at Boyle Recreation Centre. Between these two events, we had more than 200 people have the opportunity to get hands-on with maker technologies.

Our favourite February blog posts:

Great Maker/STEAM Family Day Activities

Ideas for Planning Large-Scale Maker Workshops

Kitchen as Makerspace

March:

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Learning to how make looping beats at a local Islamic centre during March Break.

March was a very busy month. We received requests from all over the city to help plan public activities for March Break. From libraries, to Islamic centres, to rec centres, to the Children’s Museum, we interacted with hundreds of people in our community during March Break.

One activity that stands out from March Break was working with London Public Library to create a cardboard zoo. Using Make-Do construction kits we helped children at several library branches create a mobile cardboard zoo that travelled across the city.

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An awesome cardboard animal created for our cardboard zoo.

Also in March we were honoured to receive our second Awesome London grant to support our ambitious idea to help London create the World’s Longest Human Circuit (which we talk about more when we reach September).

Finally, we also launched our first series of after school classes. These classes introduced children ages 7-11 to the maker movement and gave them the opportunity to experience new maker challenges each week. Our first class on March 25th challenged children to create cardboard mazes to challenge a robot.

Our favourite blog posts:

Maker Projects for a Fun March Break

Introduction to Scratch (Part I): What is Scratch?

Free Apps that are Great for Digital Literacy Projects

 

It may sound like a lot has happened, but 2015 is only just getting started. Come back soon for Part II of our MakerBus Year in Review – we have many more fun memories to look back on.

If you liked this article, why not follow the MakerBus on twitter (@DHMakerBus) or like us on Facebook (/dhmakerbus)? We post some of the most creative maker projects found on the web every day. If you #getonthebus, we promise a fun ride!

-The MakerBus team

 

 

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