Tri-State Mini Maker Faire


David Li ’21

Mr. Brad Faus, director of visual arts, demonstrates the laser cutter in the EFX Lab.

On Monday morning, students walking through the Science Building might have come across lingering smells of plasma, fertilizer, and helium, left over from the weekend.
For the second year in a row, the Tri-State Mini Maker Faire was held on campus. The Faire showcases experiments, projects, hobbies, and crafts to excite audiences about STEAM. The Faire was open to the school and the local community and featured activities tailored to every age.
Mr. Bill Fenton, instructor in physics and astronomy, exhibited a “stomp rocket” booth, where attendees constructed paper rockets and launched them using recycled soda bottles. “Kids can use a lot of creativity and there’s a lot of flexibility in how they decide to make [their rockets], and it’s still going to work. Almost no matter what [the kids] do, something’s going to work. Even the simplest little rocket with two pieces of paper is going to fly somewhere.”
The Physics Bus also pulled up to the event, bringing tables covered with physics-related toys and gadgets. The Physics Bus aims to connect the research community at Cornell University with a wider audience. Gordon Younkin, a graduate student at Cornell and a Physics Bus volunteer, demonstrated a plasma cutter, which allowed kids to draw patterns in aluminum foil with a laser. Younkin said, “Science literacy is very important in terms of understanding the challenges we are going to be facing. I think it’s very important for the general public to be interested in and excited about funding science.”
Local industries, including a blacksmith and crepe-maker, also showcased their work at the Tri-State Mini Maker Faire. Ms. Erikka Adams, the technology librarian, said, “This area is very rural, but there are lots of agriculture, manufacturing, arts, and textile industries, so the purpose of the Maker Faire is to draw some attention to this area and showcase the work of the people who are doing these things.”
Throughout his tenure, Mr. Robert Hilliker, director of the Edsel Ford Memorial Library, has created initiatives to inspire innovation and spur the imagination, including Tinkering Tuesdays, the iSpace, and SM&SH Day. However, four years ago, Mr. Hilliker and Mr. Paul DePaolo, retired technology librarian, drew inspiration from the Maker Faire in New York City and the Exploratorium in San Francisco to design an event that might attract those interested in STEAM. Mr. DePaolo and Mr. Hilliker then approached Kitty Hickcox, instructor in science at the Indian Mountain School, and created the Maker Faire.
The first Tri-State Mini Maker Faire took place four years ago at the Indian Mountain School. After Hotchkiss constructed the EFX Lab in 2017, the Faire was moved to this campus.
The Tri-State Maker Faire will be routinely featured at different local schools in the future.