The 2017 Stewart Maker Fair: A Unique Showcase of Awesome

The 2017 Stewart Maker Fair: A Unique Showcase of Awesome | At the 2017 Stewart Maker Fair, my students focused less on different guided activities and more on showcasing their best projects. The results were amazing.

2017 was my fourth year of holding a Maker Fair at Stewart Middle Magnet School (see 2016, 2015 and 2014 for the previous ones).  This year, my students had to put together everything for our Maker Fair in an extra short period of time, since the school year ended early.  They rose to the challenge with some amazing, interactive projects and activities.

Check out the video below to see an overview, then scroll down for details:

The 2017 Stewart Maker Fair

Button Maker

Everyone had a blast using our button maker

Make & Takes

  • Perler Beads (see this post for resources)
  • Button Maker (Ours is really old.  This one is made by the same company and this one is one I tried at AASL and recommend.)

The star of the show this year was definitely our re-born button maker.  Ours had been out-of-commission for a while.  Then one of our parent volunteers realized that we were using the wrong kind of buttons.  We purchased the correct ones for our Maker Fair and students and guests had a blast making their own buttons.  My students decided to each make one representing the station they were working at, so guests would know what they are experts in 🙂

Maker stations

3D printer, 3D pen, stomp rockets and MaKeyMaKey

Interactive Stations

At our interactive stations, our guests could try out different maker tools and activities.  One student this year was passionate about Stomp Rockets, so we borrowed the setup from the science department and set it up outside the library.

This was our first Maker Fair having our own 3D printer, so several students took the lead, explaining to our guests how it works.  Another student brought in her own 3D pen and let guests try it out.

Student projects

Sphero obstacle course, K’nex bey blades, K’nex drag racing, Blowerzilla

Student Projects

  • K’nex Drag Racing
  • Sphero Obstacle Course
  • Blowerzilla & Cardboardzilla
  • K’nex Beyblades
  • The Shatterer 2.0 (not pictured)

The highlight of our Maker Fair this year was definitely the student projects.  They truly went above and beyond creating some amazing interactive projects.  Check out the video to see the full scale of what they created.

The K’nex drag racing was easy and so much fun.  Students used cardboard, scrap wood and duct tape to create a ramp in the library.  They made a few demonstration K’nex dragsters and then helped our guests create their own and race them. (Note: This is the set I recommend to get started with K’nex if you don’t have any yet).

The Sphero obstacle course was made with cardboard, paint, hot glue, packing tape, and according to my students, blood and sweat (note: there were no injuries in the making of this project).  It’s a super fun maze and our guests had a blast navigating Sphero through it.  They intentionally made a few of the openings slightly too small so that you’d have to back up and go faster to get through them.

Blowerzilla and Cardboardzilla are amazing and writing about them cannot truly do them justice, so make sure you watch the video.  This student LOVES Godzilla, so he was super excited to make two Godzilla-themed projects for our Maker Fair.

Wrapping up

All in all, this was an amazing, student-driven maker fair.  I may have helped a bit with prompting, but they pretty much came up with the ideas for all the attractions and ran everything themselves.  And that’s how a Maker Fair should be 🙂

(A note on terms: In the book, we refer to showcases such as these as Maker Fests.  I chose to keep the name Maker Fair this year because my students already had positive associations with it from previous events.  Choose whatever term works best for you and your students)

(Second note: Post contains affiliate links.  Actions taken may result in commissions for RenovatedLearning).


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.