Pathfinder Maker's RoomRemember when you were a kid and you could spend hours playing in the mud making tunnels, rivers, and an entire city out of sand? Or using your Easy Bake Oven to whip up a miniature cake you could actually eat?

In the 21st century, the culture of making stuff has gone high tech and has become a movement where people of all ages challenge themselves to invent and explore.

Sequoia Pathfinder Academy at Eastmark has a space in their school devoted to such aspirations. It’s called the Maker’s Room and is a central feature at the K-6 STEAM-Focused school.

“The vision for the space is to offer a variety of tools, hardware, and advanced technology so students can tinker, explore, and invent,” said School Principal Juliane Hillock.

Teachers can use the room for special projects. For example, the art teacher uses the space to train students on PowerPoint or movie making. Last semester, the third grade class made “garbage monsters” out of recycled materials and wrote stories about their creations.

All grade levels are given weekly engineering specials in the Maker’s Room. Students have explored the polarity of magnets and how they can manipulate toy cars. Then, they learned about gears and combined that knowledge with magnet polarity to create roller coasters. Students competed to create systems that use kinetic energy to move a marble or car on a series of tracks.

Students work collaboratively to develop projects and are given the freedom to experiment with objects such as wheels, LEGOS®, building kits, and robotics.

“In the Maker’s Room, students learn to explore materials and discover ways to use them,” said Hillock. “But more importantly they learn to take risks and how to give and receive critical feedback.”

See what inventions and innovations Sequoia Pathfinder Academy and other area schools are producing at the Super Sonic Tech Cool Showcase at AwesomeFest on Saturday, April 18.