Sylvia's Super-Awesome Maker show: Connecting STEM and the Young Maker Community

Sylvia's Super-Awesome Maker show: Connecting STEM and the Young Maker Community

Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Children often learn through play and hands on experiences; we wish to bring kids everywhere closer to the idea that everyone can make something, be it a robot, sewing project, or simple home chemistry experiment.

We want children of all ages and parents alike to become familiar and actively engaged in making things. Our goal is to open minds to the concept of failure as a learning tool, and that through learning from your mistakes amazing things can be made. We hope to inspire and plant the seed for a lifelong love of experimentation and learning that comes from getting out in the world and actually creating something. By gaining confidence in making, we create a nudge in the right direction for kids to continue to explore in science, engineering, and beyond.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Currently Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show reaches a potential audience of millions – everybody in the world that has internet access and an understanding of English. She has made personal appearances at Maker Faires in locations across America, and many fans have told her of the impact that her videos have had in inspiring young people to get interested in science.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Sylvia’s kid-centric, fun approach to science projects (and the motto borrowed from Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters program, “Failure is Always an Option”) speaks to children in a way that shows featuring only adults can not. Through watching Sylvia’s show, kids feel that they can own the process of exploring in science and creating cool gizmos to wow their friends. The show helps to counteract the tendency for kids, especially girls, to take the attitude that "math is hard" and Science is just for geeks. It's becoming more and more difficult in education to be hands on and learn by creating, Sylvia's Maker show aims to inspire the first steps to the lifestyle of being a maker, and opening the door early to the basics of engineering.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Sylvia and dad James produce the series of short, entertaining, web-based videos that demonstrate how to build fun projects based on: electronics, arts, crafts and science/chemistry. With the motto “Get Out There and MAKE Something!”, the videos inspire kids to use their imaginations and learn about how things work – and how they can make their own projects. Sylvia also travels to Maker Faires across the US, doing short demonstrations and interactive experiments in person with kids and adults, demonstrating simple projects and explaining some of the science behind them.
About You
Organization:
Sylvia's Super-Awesome Maker Show
About You
First Name

James

Last Name

T

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Sylvia's Super-Awesome Maker Show

Organization Phone
Organization Address
Organization Country

, CA

Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Early in 2010, when Sylvia was 8, she and her dad (both big fans of Make magazine and Mythbusters) decided that it would be fun to make a video showing how to build an electronics project that kids could make themselves. When the video went viral and they received lots of positive feedback, they decided to make more. Now Sylvia has her own YouTube channel and a website where all of her Maker Show videos can be found.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

Feedback from thousands of people who have viewed the Maker Shows indicate that they have inspired many young people to learn more about how things work, and to set aside passivity in favor of actually producing something by themselves or with others. By producing more videos on more complex subjects, the audience should continue to grow and can be measured by views and additional feedback.

View counts for the show on YouTube total over 457,000, averaging over 42,000 views per video. Her show has also been noted as a direct inspiration to a number of kids who watched the show and decided to do their own, focusing on crafts, electronics and science. Though their production values are low, they love what they do and that they get to show people what they care about, and maybe teach them something in the process.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001- 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

With funding, Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show could expand with new episodes, more detailed discussions of the science behind the technology, and perhaps venues beyond the Internet (i.e. cable television). Maker Show videos could be supplied to classrooms as a brief, entertaining Science and Technology segment of the school day, or perhaps to expand to visiting great locations and showing hands on creation techniques beyond the kitchen table.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Kids grow up, and in a few years Sylvia will be in Middle School and less of a role model for elementary school kids, though she could easily move into stronger role for High School girls who are looking for the right nudge to move into a technical career.

Tell us about your partnerships

Several of Sylvia’s Mini Maker Shows have been minimally sponsored by Make Magazine, and she has been a guest at Make-sponsored events. Several small companies that produce electronics kits have donated their wares for use in the shows.

Explain your selections

During the year-plus that we’ve been producing the shows, we’ve received some payment for sponsored "mini" episodes, and quite a few electronic kits to build on the show. All labor has been volunteer, and the audience gets access to the videos for free. The Kauffmann foundation has also recently funded Sylvia's trip to Maker Faire Kansas City.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

Receiving funding would enable us to purchase professional equipment for producing the videos, advertise them to reach a wider audience, and work to develop other venues.

Partnerships and Accountability
Please tell us more about how your partnership was formed and how it functions. What specific role does each partner play? What unique resources does each partner bring to the initiative?
How are you building in accountability for students' successful STEM learning outcomes? Please provide a summary and examples.
Needs

Marketing/Media, Innovation/Ideas.

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Offers

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