Students Bring STEM to Life at Maker Faire
Posted on 03/06/2019
The excitement was palpable in the lower gym of Bishop Ahr High School this past Tuesday. But this time, it wasn’t a sporting event that captivated people’s attention, it was BGA’s first-ever School Maker Faire. Sometimes referred to as, “the greatest show-and-tell on Earth,” Maker Faires have taken off in towns and cities around the world, affording students the opportunity to show off the products of their know-how and imagination.

Visitors to the event were inspired by nearly 40 exhibits that ranged from a musical instrument made out of fruit and powered by dermal conductivity; acrylic artwork made without brushes; guided tutorials of how to program a 3D printer; do-it-yourself enamel pins; pedestrian bridges made of only cardboard and hot glue; and homemade lava lamps. Upon seeing the breadth of projects all in one place, BGA’s STEM Coordinator Dan Mulvihill commented, “It was so exciting to see everyone's hard work and creativity come to fruition! People had a great time and I can't wait to see what people make for next year!” Maker Faire Co-Coordinator Casey Walker added, ‘Our students worked incredibly hard to produce a high-quality event, and it really paid off. On top of the experience they provided for their peers who attended the faire, our core group of student leaders got a real-life lesson in the teamwork required to coordinate a large event like this.”

The BGA Maker Faire is a key component of BGA’s broader STEM initiatives, which were inaugurated last school year with the opening of its state-of-the-art Makerspace, featuring the latest hardware and tools such as a laser inscriber, 3D printer, power tools, touchscreen tablets, and more. The exhibits that students designed and built were accomplished using these tools either during school, in one of our curricular engineering or design courses, or after school, during open lab sessions that are supervised by our highly-trained teachers. Senior Kristen Delgado, who both exhibited and helped coordinate the event, commented, “The School Maker Faire, while stressful, was one of my best experiences while in high school. As a Senior, I’m disappointed that I was only able to be involved for one year but I’m excited to come back next year and see what the other students do.” Junior exhibitor Francesca Valdez-Tan added, “School Maker Faire was a great experience for myself and everyone I worked with. After months of planning, I am so happy and proud of the STEM team for accomplishing such a successful event. I loved seeing everyone’s very different and creative ideas brought to life.”

Bishop Ahr students weren’t the only ones on exhibit. Students from Diocese of Metuchen grammar schools St. Joseph School in Carteret and St. James School showed off homemade instruments, WWI trench warfare models, snowball catapults, and Roman aqueducts. A representative from NJIT brought a stripped-down 3D printer to demonstrate how they work, the maker of TechnoChic Tech-Craft kits demonstrated how kids can take their first steps working with electronics, and BGA alumnae Sarina and Sabrina Gil ’17 used chemistry and lasers to recreate Hans Solo’s lucky sabacc dice. BGA is already fielding requests from other schools to attend next year’s event.

The Faire is designed to inspire and empower attendees to find their inner maker and everyone at Bishop Ahr High School is excited to see even more students get involved in our world-class STEM programs and Maker Faires in the coming years.

Maker Faire 2019