For the second consecutive year, Brawerman East hosted the Makers Fair, celebrating the innovative work of students while simultaneously giving them and their parents a chance to create and be inspired by people who have mastered the craft of creative engineering. For weeks in advance, students and teachers prepared for the two-hour event held in Stalford Hall at the Glazer campus. On the night of the event, families packed in and celebrated the achievements of each grade level.
As students and teachers prepared for the Makers Fair, Principal Dr. Tamara Miller sent a letter to families in the weekly newsletter, part of which read, “When I see students complete projects where they have worked with their hands to build, and strategized the design of their prototype, as well as failed in the beginning only to succeed in their subsequent models, I am reminded of the purpose of schooling. Yes, literacy and numeracy are important, learning a second language and playing an instrument are also integral, but the skills that students gain from designing, tinkering, failing, and redesigning are vital and instrumental in their ability to problem solve throughout their lives.”
Brawerman East has begun to differentiate itself from some of the leading private schools in Los Angeles with one unique classroom—the Innovation Lab. In this state-of-the-art Makers Space, students have access to power tools, 3D printers, woodcutters, robotics, in addition to Isai German, the Innovation specialist. Mr. German, who has been an integral part in establishing the yearly Makers Fair, which, he said, “showcases student work that promotes Project-Based Learning in a gathering where students, parents, teachers, and administration participate in the Makers Mindset.”
Following the success of year one, Dr. Miller, Ms. Rosner, and Mr. German set an even higher bar with this year’s featured creations: a smoothie blender powered by a bicycle, video games and original music made by current students using computer applications, a community art loom, sushi making, and dance. Special guest Mike White brought his robot named RAS that stands over six feet tall, dances, and lights up, and Roger Cheng was once again accompanied by his one-quarter-scale Mars Rover “Sawppy” (composed of 3D printed parts). Another big draw was a virtual-reality-experience project created by SONY.
All of these components are meant to inspire our students. In Dr. Miller’s letter, she also referenced one of the nation’s preeminent creative spaces: Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL often asks its applicants what they played with as children, what tools they used to take apart household items and put them back together, and what they made with their hands. The answers they’re looking for are those that are made possible by what we provide for our students when they enter any of our classrooms, not just the Innovation Lab. It’s the chance to create, make a mistake, and try again with the knowledge that the connections we make in the process are often more valuable than the final product.