One of our long time goals in the continued shift towards community-oriented projects is to somehow get involved with the Middle and Lower Schools here at Lovett. Unlike sports, speech and debate, and other extracurriculars, Makers Club and Robotics don’t have to be completely separate from their Middle and Lower School counterparts. Down the road, we’re aiming for a community where any student interested in making stuff, regardless of what age, is comfortable with seeking out any tools and/or mentoring they need.
Last week we met for the first time with teachers in the Middle School to discuss possible workshops, intramurals, or clubs we could help out with. One of the leading ideas for the coming fall semester is a Maker Fair of sorts for the Middle School. The purpose would be to show 6th, 7th, and 8th graders the kinds of things we design, build, and/or program up in the Upper School. The emphasis here would be on interactive projects, such as a fabricated Gameboy emulator, Arduino-based catapult, games we’ve made with Python or Unity, and old FRC drivetrains. Of course, we would also show off balloon hardware and some of the near-space footage we’ve captured in the past. In doing all of this, hopefully we’d give the younger students at Lovett something to look forward to for the future. Best case: a driven few are interested enough to start their own Makers clubs. One of the main points we ended up settling on is that any sort of fair needs diversity in the types of projects it showcases. Makers Club isn’t all about coding and robots. The same tools we use can be applied in sculpture, fabrics, fitness tracking… really the options are endless.
The final topic we went over was STEM intramurals. Unlike student organizations in the Upper School, most non-athletic after school activities in the MS are run by teachers through an intramural system. Depending on interest in the fair, we could design projects or workshops for these intramurals and help lead them when the time comes. A more skilled, more inclusive Maker community is coming to Lovett. It’s only a matter of time.