Teaching Kids to Build Their Dreams

“I want to build and fly my own airplane,” said Runn Aunopas, a 6-year-old boy with the hidden skills needed for making. The maker movement relates to people employing do-it-yourself (DIY) and do-it-with-others (DIWO) techniques and processes to build technology items. Runn joined an activity at the Kid Makers booth organized by the National Science Museum (NSM), an outgrowth of collaboration between NSM, New York Hall of Science and the Chevron Enjoy Science Project by Kenan Foundation Asia. He enjoyed making Automota, an invention that can move forward using a rotational force. This activity helped develop all essential maker skills, as children were given opportunities to think about assembling parts, analyze how things work, solve problems, and use their creativity to decorate their inventions.

Although Runn might be too young to know what being a maker means, he had a great time learning from his invention. His mother took him to the two previous editions of the Mini Maker Faire in 2016 and 2017. He loved the play-based learning presented at the previous events, and he was happy to bring his new inventions home. This year Runn asked his parents to take him to the event again, and they were supportive. His parents appreciated giving him the opportunity to develop skills that are not available in ordinary classrooms.

“Today I had a wonderful time with Automota. I drew pictures, folded and cut papers, and assembled the wood and the box. When I finished this, I tried to rotate my Automota, but it did not work. So I had to remake it two or three times until it worked. I am so pleased that I could do it because it means I can be a maker,” Runn said with excitement. “Next year I will definitely come here again. I want the event to have an airplane making activity. I want to make an airplane and learn how it flies. I will build a unique airplane that is different from many others in the world. If I can make it, I will teach my friends to make airplanes, too,” he added.

Runn’s mother also shared her thoughts about this year’s Maker Faire. “I bring Runn to join this event every year because I want him to do activities to practice his thinking, analyzing, experimenting and problem-solving skills,” she said. “It is also great for him to meet new friends. I used to take him to attend music classes and play sports. When we joined the Mini Maker Faire in the first year, I realized that I should reconsider activities for my child. After the event, I saw positive changes regarding his creativity; he was able to make new things using unwanted items. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it did not, but the important thing was he enjoyed and was able to learn from it. As a mother who wants her child to grow up to have great opportunities, gaining essential life skills is as crucial as achieving academic excellence, and the Maker Faire activities effectively meet these needs.”

Learn more about the Enjoy Science Project.

Kenan Asia

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