On the second day of Maker Faire, we continued with our chain reaction explorations, scientific demonstrations, and the new addition of toothpick artist Scott Weaver. One surprise was that as the gates opened up, one family who had built part of the chain reaction the night before, came running into the tent to build another section for the morning set off!
We design tinkering activities to be open ended and personally meaningful, so it was great validation that after spending three hours with us these young makers wanted to come back to build more. Over the day several more groups would build return again to join in a second (and even third) session.
And with the return builders seeding the environment with ideas and inspiration, the machines got more complex and imaginative, including elements that moved under the table, materials used in surprising ways, and new homemade devices like a rubber band catapult constructed out of scrap wood and hot glue.
Some larger groups joined the activity which challenged us as facilitators to help them negotiate the collaborative element of building. In anticipation of the crowds, we had divided each table in half with colored tape, reducing the building space but increasing the number of groups that could participate. Part of the process always includes figuring out how to express ideas and share them with others, and on these smaller sections, that was more important that usual.
'Rolling through the Bay' creator Scott Weaver drove down to San Mateo to join us for the day and brought along his toothpick hat and glasses. Lots of people gathered at his work bench to watch him demonstrate the ball runs and explain his process of making toothpick sculptures. His enthusiasm was contagious and we were thrilled that so many visitors to the faire got to meet this amazing artist.
Even when Scott wasn't stationed at his maker bench, he roamed the grounds of the event center, letting younger kids place the ping pong balls in his toothpick hat!
Meanwhile, in the workshop space, the tables filled with interesting foil switches, complicated ball runs, and creative uses of materials over the course of the first three hours. Our first set off of the day at 1:00 went really well with limited use of the 'magic finger' (the way we keep the machine going when things don't go according to plan).
One of the nice things about the Maker Faire is that it serves as a mini reunion with many artists, educators, and colleagues from around the globe. This group was visiting from the New York Hall of Science and stopped by the booth to build an incredible section (complete with a flying chicken).
At 5:00 we had our last set off of the weekend and the booth was full of people cheering, taking pictures, and noticing the hard work that went into creating the complex machines. Luigi, Ron and Ryoko filmed each chain reaction and those videos will be posted soon on vimeo and here on the blog. Thanks so much to everyone who helped out to make our tenth Maker Faire an amazing experience!