Imaginations ran wild Saturday at Eastern View High School at the third annual Maker Energy Faire.
Thousands of families played with robots, made slime, learned what’s inside a computer, flying drones and much more during the annual event celebrating science, technology, engineering, arts and math in schools.
Hosted by Culpeper County Public Schools and CareerPartners Inc., the faire gave students a chance to dive deeper into some of the STEM curriculum they are already learning in Culpeper schools.
Randi Richards-Lutz, Career and Technical Education Director for CCPS, praised the relationship between the school system and the local business community.
“This doesn’t happen anywhere else,” Richards-Lutz said. “We’re proud of that relationship.”
She estimated that nearly 3,000 people turned out Saturday, making the annual Maker Faire a success. The event had more than 100 volunteers and many new exhibitors, including Amazon.
“It’s a celebration of the energy and really a celebration of our community,” Richards-Lutz said.
Career Partners President Roque Castro pointed to the school system as being a driving force of promoting STEM.
“We have this amazing resource in our teachers that are doing these STEM projects and programs,” Castro said. “This is what they eat, sleep and breathe every day.”
Marty Bywaters-Baldwin, Director of Workforce Services, Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, Inc. and VP of Career Partners, greeted visitors at the door with a bag filled with a calculator, pens and safety goggles. The goggles came in handy later in the day when students had a chance to break apart the inside of a computer.
“Creativity gets played out in so many ways - technology, science, the arts - and this is a great way for Culpeper schools to exhibit how they are tapping into that creativity of kids,” Bywaters-Baldwin said. “It’s a good hands-on thing for the whole family to do.”
One of the highlights of the day was a drone obstacle course. During one flight, six-year-old Ben Koch, navigated the chopper up into the EVHS stands in the gym.
Other students worked on the summer’s hottest activity - making slime.
Students and teachers alike helped students mix together activator, coloring and glue to make the perfect mixture of slime.
“The collaborative energy, the spirit of volunteerism, teamwork, entrepreneurship are all exemplified,” Castro said.
In the cafeteria, Maddox Lane proudly showed off dozens of LEGO creations. It took hours to build the multiple mobiles he had - and the seventh grader proudly talked with students about their shared love of LEGOs.
“I had a kid come over here a second ago and say I want to order a bunch of those and I was like ‘if you can find those, I’ll be surprised because I built those with my own pieces,” Lane said.
“I personally like the Star Wars LEGOs, you can build the military technology but my favorite part was taking the random parts and making it into something,” Lane said.
Donovan O’Brien, CCPS Director of Instructional Delivery Coordinator, Gifted and Talented Education Curriculum Specialist, said he loves seeing the students share their love of technology.
“It’s important to get kids involved, using the technology we use in the classroom and show why it’s pertinent and how it connects to future employment,” O’Brien said. “I think they’re becoming more inquisitive on putting their hands on technology and figuring out how it actually works.”