Maker Faire at The Philadelphia School (TPS)

The creativity, ingenuity, and sheer exuberance of our students were on full display in mid-March at the The Philadelphia School’s first Maker Faire – an interactive celebration of learning and discovery inspired by the Maker movement (see Every student from preschool through eighth grade participated – individually or in groups – creating art, exploring science, or making music.

And it was all about making – from a floor-to-ceiling replica of Philadelphia’s Chinatown arch, to student photography, to the wildly popular “TPS-opoly” board game, to a musical performance featuring instruments made by students. There was activity everywhere, from the schoolyard to the gymnasium to the classrooms to the hallways.

There were demonstrations of balls and ramps, presentations of creative writing and word games, a giant loom on which rugs were made from old T-shirts – and even a realistic “crime scene” created by the Middle School (with yellow “CAUTION” tape to keep out any younger children who weren’t quite ready for a peek).

Students took turns presenting their work to other students and then walked around to see what others had done. It was educational, but also a good deal of pure fun.

The TPS Maker Faire was in keeping with this year’s all-school “Mad Science” theme, but went far beyond a typical science fair. The idea was to demonstrate the integral role that “making” plays in progressive education and to recognize and celebrate the making that occurs at TPS every day.

Many of the activities were related to current classroom projects. For example, fourth and fifth graders, who were studying buoyancy, made boats out of aluminum foil and popsicle sticks, put them in water, and then dropped in pennies one by one until the boats sank. “We’re learning about Archimedes,” explained one fourth grader. (story by S. Flander; photos by K. Riccardi)

Does your school do something similar?

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