NoVa Mini Maker Faire Draws Innovators to Reston

Langston Hughes Middle and South Lakes High schools were swarming with families on Sunday as the second annual NoVa Mini Maker Faire returned to Reston.

Part of the popular Maker Faire nationwide network of events, the NoVa Mini Maker Faire is geared toward school-age kids, celebrating innovation, imagination and the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) and showing kids that science can be fun.

More than 100 booths featuring interactive activities and demonstrations were spread out across the campuses of the two Reston schools. Popular attractions included the chance to fly drones and pilot robots to perform small tasks, watching a 3-D printer churn out objects like a chess set and other figurines, making art out of yarn and recycled materials, building Lego towers and duct-tape forts, and much more.

There was even a blacksmithing demonstration by high school students, where the crowd got to watch them pound fire-hot iron into objects like coat hooks and swords.

The calendar’s proximity to summer made booths like Activity Rocket quite popular as well, as many parents welcomed the opportunity to read up on science and art camps for their kids taking place this year.

“I really think my son would love one of these camps, like the Lego camp or the computer programming camp, so I was very excited to see them handing out information at the Faire today,” said Candy Schmidt of Reston, the mom of a 8-year-old.

One prominent theme of this year’s faire was to encourage more girls to get excited about entering the STEM fields, as organizers said the fields still tend to be very male-heavy at many schools and companies across the country. One such booth was the GEMS organization, or Girls Excited About Math and Science, which offered fun, quick projects with electronics.

Photo gallery by Jennifer van der Kleut

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