What is a Makerfaire – A Makerfaire is a convention or a gathering where makers, creators, innovators come together to celebrate innovation, creativity, making and creating. At a Makerfaire you can expect makers to showcase the projects they have been working on, participate in workshops on making and creating and learn more about the maker skills involved in some of the projects on display. Read more about the Monash Makerfaire 2022 at https://monash.makerfaire.com/.
It’s time to call it a wrap : The Monash MakerFaire was held on the 4th of December 2022 at Monash University’s Clayton Campus here in Melbourne, Australia. It was an action packed event with makers, tinkerers, creators, innovators from all over Melbourne gathering to show off their creations and interact with the wider public. Some of the statistics published suggested that over 10,000 tickets (FREE) were sold for the Monash Makerfaire 2022, making this the largest Makerfaire to be held in Melbourne, Australia. From what i can remember the last Monash Mini MakerFaire held in 2019 managed to draw around 6,000 people on the day.
Monash University Tech School working closely with the Monash Council were responsible for the organization, logistics of the event. They definitely did a truly amazing job advertising the event and getting the word out there. It was amazing to see parents, kids, adults, teenagers, etc. turn up in large numbers to see what was on display, interact with the makers, tinkerers, creators and innovators.It was non-stop action from start to finish, we were run off our feet and exhausted by closing time. Great to be at the Monash MakerFaire 2022. An electrifying event that ought to be on every maker, tinkerer, innovator and creators calender here in Victoria.
How it all panned out : Along with my awesome group of volunteers we run three different groups, these include – CDAN (CoderDojo Altona North), MRPMG (Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group) and EMDRC HAB Initiative (Eastern & Mountain District High Altitude Balloon Initiative). The following individuals were responsible for each of the stalls at the Monash MakerFaire 2022.
- CoderDojo Altona North (CDAN) : Trevor Warren with our team of volunteers
- Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group (MRPMG) : Rob Conway along with our team of volunteers
- Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club (EMDRC) : John VK3PZ, Andrew VK3BQ, Luke VK3UKW, Brad VK3BKQ, Jack VK3WWW and our team of volunteers
Our kids at CoderDojo Altona North have been working on their individual projects for the Monash MakerFaire 2022 for close to two terms i.e. ~6 months. Our kids along with their enthusiastic parents supported by the volunteers were responsible for design, build and test of their projects. The volunteer leads helped the kids iterate through different ideas for projects, the kids then worked with their parents to finalize the project topics. The design and build activities commenced during term 3 with the child / parent teams finishing up their project builds by term 4 and testing things out in a real world scenario obtaining feedback, input (by getting other kids, parents to try out their project, interact with the exhibit and provide real world input, feedback).
The kids have been really excited, been really focused and have worked hard on their projects through 2022. With the support of the volunteer leads the child / parent teams managed to wrap up build, test activities in time for Monash Makerfaire. Some child / parent teams were so into their project that they wrapped it up in time for then to focus on a second project and pull together a second exhibit. The MakerFaire is an amazing opportunity for our kids to leverage the analytical, problem solving, computational thinking, reasoning skills, group work, public speaking skills, etc. they had built over these last few years working with us. The Monash MakerFaire is a great opportunity for our kids to showcase the work they have done, help inspire other kids, teenagers, parents to take up their own STEM projects, inspire a new generation of makers, tinkerers, creators and innovators.
A list of all the exhibits put together by the kids at CoderDojo Altona North include –
- Home Automation – Rob
- Automated Plant Watering system using the BBC micro:bit – Aaron R
- Automated Plant Watering system using the Raspberry Pi Pico – Xioran
- High Altitude Balloon Payload – Rob + Aaron R
- Raspberry Pi Pico Smart Car – Aaron A
- Robot Soccer – Yash
- Dancing Robots – Solemon
- Robot Navigation Challenge – Zara R
- My World Scratch Game – Xiarong
- Scratch & Microbit Boat Race – Tyrion
We arrived at 0830 on the 4th of December 2022, managed to find a temporary car park half a KM away from the entrance to the Woodside Tech & Design building (Monash Tech School). I managed to steal Rob Conway’s (founder member of the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group) trolley which made moving the boxes, equipment to the site from the car park a lot easier. With support from some of the volunteers we moved all our equipment to the display area and then moved the car to the free day car park reserved for makers. We spent the next hour or so setting up the stall, this included setting up the pull-up banners, setting up the mains wiring in a safe manner, putting the exhibits on the tables and setting up the kids so that they had their projects on display along with the posters which the kids had made to help explain the concept or theory they project was based on.
The child / parent teams were divided into two shifts, the first shift starting at 0900 Hrs in the morning and finishing up at 1300 Hrs in the arvo with the second shift starting at 1300 Hrs and wrapping up at 1600 Hrs, which is when the MakerFaire came to an end. We had rehearsed things to the extent possible in class over the last few months. We were using a tracker to track progress for each of the projects, confirm suitability of shifts, confirm closure of design/build/test phases, etc. The child / parent teams were used to the rigor, this being our second MakerFaire and we had improved on our execution based on the lessons learned from the first MakerFaire held on 2019.
It was absolutely full on from the time the MakerFaire opened i.e. 1000 right until 1600 Hrs, when things came to an end. Parents, kids, adults (of all ages) were walking through the doors in large numbers, asking the kids questions about their projects, getting them to provide a demo of their exhibit, showcase what they had on display. It was amazing to see our 7-15 years standing in front of the stall, talking to other adults, kids, parents about the work they had done, explaining the theory behind their STEM exhibit. It’s humbling to see our kids in action, it’s what makes it all worth it.
We also managed to give away 100 copies of the STEM Education Magazine (sponsored by Google) and sent to us by the STEM Education team.
Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group : MRPMG (Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group) had their own stall adjacent to the Coderdojo Altona North stall and had some really amazing exhibits for people to interact with. These included –
- Cookie feeding robot (Based on the Raspberry Pi)
- Dobby the robot (Machine Learning capabilities on display, uses the Raspberry Pi)
- Autothrottle for boats
- Home Automation
The MRPMG stalled was manned by Rob Conway with support from Chris VK3PLS, Rory, Rohan VK3TRO, Mitch, Mike, Callum and the others. The Melbourne Raspberry Pi Maker Group exhibits were interactive, offered kids, parents, adults the opportunity to interact with the exhibits and experience STEM in action. Hopefully we inspired a few to take up their own electronics, robotics projects. The Raspberry Pi Makers Group were well prepared, we had a box for lollies (similar to CoderDojo Altona North, Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club) including visiting cards with QR code to the website/discord.
Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club : John VK3PZ, Andrew VK3BQ, Luke VK3UKW, Brad VK3BKQ, Jack VK3WWW and our team of volunteers helped setup and run the stall displaying Amateur Radio exhibits through the day. The EMDRC stall was also adjancent to the Coderdojo Altona North stall and was packed with visitors from 1000 Hrs to 1600 Hrs on the day. The team had the High Altitude Balloon project on display, re-flashed RS41 RadioSondes, Balloons (used for our High Altitude Balloon launches), Raspberry Pi based payload that runs the WENET software which gets launched with the balloon into the stratosphere, antennas with the hardware/software required to recieve and log data from the High Altitude Balloon during the launch. It was amazing to see kids, adults, parents dropping by, asking questions about Amateur Radio, wanting to learn about High Altitude Ballooning and other exhibits. Overall an action packed day, hopefully we were able to inspire kids, adults, parents to take up their own Amateur STEM experiments.
Looking forward to seeing you at the next Monash MakerFaire : This has turned out to be a large post, the intention was to capture some details of the various exhibits put together by CoderDojo Altona North, Eastern & Mountain District Radio Club, Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group while giving readers a view of how things panned out during the day, some of the relevant highlights. We look foward to seeing you in person at the next Monash Makerfaire. Please feel free to write to us at trevor at hack2 dot live if you have any questions, comments, input or feedback. You can read more about the various STEM groups through the links at the top of this page.