University of Vermont

2nd Annual Aiken K-12 Maker Faire & Engineering Challenge

Over 725 Students, Families and Educators Participate

Young child making project

BURLINGTON, Vt. –University of Vermont College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and the creators of the Champlain Mini Maker Faire and the hosted more than 725 visitors at the 2nd Aiken K-12 Maker Faire and Engineering Challenge at the Davis Center on Saturday, November 19. The event was free and open to the public thanks to funding from the George D. Aiken Fund.

 K-12 students and families explored and interacted with Maker exhibits: including flying a drone, making a custom spinning top and building a ScribbleBot, among other things. Attendees also cheered on the teams participating in the Aiken Engineering Challenge.

 This year’s Aiken Engineering Challenge winners were the Robohawks from Champlain Valley Union High School.  Over 20 teams from schools built robots and competed in the challenge.

 Exhibitors included K-12 students showing their own projects, UVM FabLab, Champlain College MakerLab, Robots For Kids Too, Champlain Regional Model Rocket, Governor’s Institute, STEAMspace at Vermont Teddy Bear, as well as FIRST Lego League and FIRST Lego League Junior.

 Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts were also an important part of this year’s success. Customized workshops helped all scouts earn badges.  While the engineering challenge has a long history of partnering with the Boy Scouts, this year for the first time UVM Students from Society of Women in Computer Science (SWICS) hosted a website design workshop for Girl Scouts. 

“We were pleased to see so many families and kids of all ages engage in the event’s STEM and STEAM activities” says event organizer, Jenn Karson. UVM students played a more prominent role in the organization of the event this year and were also very encouraged by the number of Girl Scouts who participated. We’re excited to start organizing for next year!”

 UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) is committed to increasing the participation of K-12 students in STEM education. In addition to the Aiken K-12 Maker Faire and Engineering Challenge, UVM CEMS hosts the GIV Engineering Institute and is involved in STEM education initiatives for K-12 such as  Mathcounts, FIRST Robotics and more. CEMS also provides professional development for teachers through the Vermont Math Initiative and the Vermont Engineering Initiative.