University of Vermont

University of Vermont K-12 STEM Outreach Initiative

Over 750 Attend First Aiken K-12 Maker Faire at UVM

The Fab Lab demonstrates a prosthetic hand printed in the UVM facility.

The creators of the Champlain Mini Maker Faire and the University of Vermont hosted more than 750 attendees at Vermont's first statewide Aiken K-12 Maker Faire at the Davis Center on Saturday. Embedded in the event was the annual Aiken/TASC Engineering Challenge, presented by UVM's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. The event was made possible by the George D. Aiken Fund.

K-12 students and families browsed Maker and engineering exhibits, participated in programs and workshops and cheered on the students participating in the TASC Engineering Challenge.

Team "Brothers in Arms" from Hanover High School were the winners of the TASC Challenge. Over 30 teams from schools around the region competed with the “robots” they created on three playing fields to move game pieces (golf, lacrosse and tennis balls) to specific zones in a 36" x 72" area.

Exhibits included Robots for Kids Too, the Champlain Region Model Rocket Club, the Essex Robotics Club, the 10 and 12-year-old creators of an award winning ChampBot, and 11-year-old entrepreneur Noah Schwartz with his product, Noah’s Fizzy Maple Lemonade. Noah won the FreshTracks Capital Road Pitch at the 2015 Champlain Mini Maker Faire. The Northern New England Drone User Group offered drone-piloting lessons as well.

UVM had representatives from the Fab Lab and the student-run Alternative Energy Racing Organization. AERO designs and builds either a hybrid or all electric racecar to compete in Dartmouth’s annual Formula Hybrid Competition. The UVM Fab Lab showed 3D printed prosthetic hands made as part of the e-NABLE project.

Event organizer Jenn Karson says this is a first of its kind Maker Faire that she was thrilled to pair with UVM’s TASC Challenge.

“This event was a great way to highlight the amazing creative and engineering projects being taken on by K-12 students, educators and groups. It was a perfect fit with the TASC Challenge.” 

Maker Faire events across the United States celebrate the DIY movement. Maker projects may involve robotics, re-purposing found objects, textile innovation, circuitry, unusual or custom tools, design, architecture and/or engineering. These events provide opportunities to make, create, learn and play while exploring engineering, music, science, technology, and more.

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 TASC Challenge, CEMS outreach programs include the GIV Engineering Institute, MathCounts, FIRST Robotics and more. CEMS also provides professional development for teachers through the Vermont Math Initiative and the Vermont Engineering Initiative.