Westerville Students Wow the Crowds at the Columbus Maker Expo

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Westerville North Engineering students showcased work that was developed and produced in The Shop at the Warrior Innovation Center.  




On Saturday, April 21, Westerville City Schools students and staff participated in MakerX, the Columbus Maker festival for everyone interested in digital design and creation. The first annual expo took place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Reynoldsburg Performing Arts Center & Fablab.

Advisers Megan Winand and Rhonda Letterio, along with four of their outstanding coding club students, represented the Hawthorne Hackers, a coding club for students in grades 3 - 5.  These youngsters showed off their coding, engineering, and building skills.  Some demonstrations included OSMO programs, Little Bits, Redboards, LED lights, and robotic car builds.  The children were able to show and explain multiple aspects of the Hawthorne Hackers coding club to excited visitors who showed interest in the program.

Westerville’s Technology Integration Specialists demonstrated the Augmented Reality Sandbox (ARS), a dynamic, hands-on tool to address learning objectives such as landform identification, the effects of forces on landforms, contour lines, topographic maps, erosion, weathering, and watersheds.  Visitors were able to make hills, mountains, islands, plateaus, rivers, and even add human elements like small structures and dams by moving the sand with their hands or small scoops.  They simulated rain entering the watershed by making a “rain cloud” with their hands and were wowed by a demonstration of adding greater quantities of water or draining the ARS with different computer keystrokes.

Middle school engineering teachers Dwight Back, Lee Smith, and Julia Swartzel provided visitors an opportunity to engage with Vex, robotics pieces that Westerville City Schools’ seventh graders program in their Engineering and Design classes.  Visitors learned how a Vex Robot is programmed and had the chance to create art with a drawing bot.  They also learned how students utilize FabLab equipment in the classroom, including the vinyl cutter machine.

Westerville North Engineering students Brice Wilson, Alex Borger, Sam Haga, Ethan Knowles, and Anthony Valdez showcased work developed and produced in The Shop at the Warrior Innovation Center.  These pupils drove a tank that shot ping-pong balls and explained their creations on the laser engravers. 

From this expo, Westerville students came back with many more ideas about what they want to explore, including new laser techniques and the possibility of building and flying drones made with a 3D printer.  Westerville’s Robotics team, The Wild Warbots, also enjoyed facing off in some friendly competition with other local robotics teams, to the delight of many in the crowd.