Author Archives: suzannemcc

Power Wheels Racing Series

Power Wheels Racing was an exciting addition to Maker Faire Pittsburgh this year!  As the crowds cheered, cars in the form of a Lego block, Lightning McQueen, ambulance, the Bluth stairs, even a waffle jockeyed for position on the course.  Some sped by, others traveled more leisurely.  Moxie points were in high contention and the sprints and the endurance race had thrilling finishes.  We can’t wait for next year!  Here are the official results:

Maker Faire Pittsburgh Power Wheels Race

Sprint 1 (Saturday):   Baltimore Burners – Lightning McQueen
Sprint 2 (Saturday):   HackPittsburgh – Lego Car
Endurance (Sunday):   HackPittsburgh – Lego Car
Moxie:  HackPittsburgh – Lego Car
Overall:  HackPittsburgh – Lego Car

Power Wheel Racing 2016 Season

Championship, Tesla Cup:   Master Builders Racing – MB4
Race Points, Chapman Trophy:   FUBAR Labs – FUBAR
Moxie Cup:   Baltimore Burners – Lightning McQueen

Maker Faire Was a Blast!

Maker Faire was a time to play and learn!  We got the weekend off to a joyful start with a Faire field trip for school groups on Remake Learning Education Friday.  Thank you to Remake Learning for its support, all of the students and educators who attended, and the makers who ran workshops and set up their booths early to show everyone their amazing projects.

Over the beautiful weekend, makers and attendees (and basically anyone who got near the Faire!) demonstrated, shared, played, learned and became more inspired with every encounter.  We walked amongst Storm Troopers, monsters and people from other worlds – even a roaming Dalek. Drones flew, realities were altered,  race cars crashed, dancers and painters made art together, chocolate Makeys were molded, theater improvised, planes soared, robots wowed – and that’s just a short list of the unique experiences had at the Faire.

It takes a community of amazing people to pull off a Maker Faire and this event was no exception.  Top of the list is Maker Faire Director Kayce Dewey, and Chad Elish of Faire co-producer HackPittsburgh for their long hours and hard work.  A standing O for all of the makers who spent the weekend sharing and playing and learning with attendees. We are grateful for the support of all our wonderful Sponsors.  The Faire ran smoothly on account of the incredible Faire staff led by Greg, Allie and Casey, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh staff and the many fabulous volunteers.

As this Faire goes in the books, we know many people are planning, designing and tweaking their next maker project as a result of what they learned and saw this past weekend.

Remember to post your photos and highlights to @makerfairepgh on Twitter and Instagram, and on Facebook.  

Thank you!  #makerfairepgh

Maker Faire Is Here

Saturday was a beautiful day at Maker Faire Pittsburgh, with mini cars racing until the wheels (literally) came off, makers of all ages inviting you to discover their ingenious projects, hands-on workshops, drones flying, acrobats, artisans, music, food and so much more.

The weather report calls for another gorgeous day, the makers are excited and we’re ready for Day 2!

A few reminders:

One-day Tickets can be purchased at all three box offices at the Faire throughout the weekend.

Parking is available on street, and in the Nova Place Garage at $10 for the whole day.  Just show your Maker Faire tickets.

Food:  There are plenty of food options at the Faire, including Food Truck Village with food trucks from BRGR, Pittsburgh Po’ Boy, Franktuary and many more; the Big Red Room Cafe in the Children’s Museum;, and Eco Bistro in Nova Place mall.

Maker Faire and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, producer of the Faire, are committed to providing an inclusive and interactive experience for all visitors. Check out the Accessibility tab for information on services available.

Check out the Attend tab for all the essential details, and we’ll see you at the Faire!

Personalize Your Educational Experience

Andrea Lucas and Zachary Mehal are high-school  teachers at PA Virtual Charter School, a K-12 public cyber charter school serving students all across Pennsylvania.  Andrea teaches art and Zach teaches chemistry.  You can see their workshop “Making in the Virtual Classroom” on Saturday, October 15, at 2:00 pm.

What made you choose to get involved with Maker Faire Pittsburgh?

Andrea Lucas: I am a huge believer in the cyber model of education and have a desire to move it forward. The Maker Faire is all andrea-pa-cyber-photoabout innovation and we chose this because it is a great opportunity for us to showcase our new ideas and styles of teaching.

Zach Mehal: It’s important to share how we are innovating in the classroom. Once I heard about the opportunity, how could I say no?

What are you interested in/excited about seeing at Maker Faire Pittsburgh?

Zach: Everything! The amount of creativity in one place is amazing, and I’m excited for the robotics and 3D printing demos.

Andrea: I don’t even know what to expect but I’m so excited to see everything I possibly can in the two days we are there.

What is something that people in the Pittsburgh region might not know about PA Virtual?

Andrea: One of the cool things about PA Virtual is that the model is really centered on parent involvement. The teachers, parents, and Family Support Coordinators all support one another to make sure that each child is receiving the best education they can get. The school’s Scholar Program allows students who excel academically to graduate early without jumping through any hoops. I have had students in my classes graduate and head to college at the age of 16.

Zach: Even though we work in a virtual setting, we are still really connected to our students. There are so many opportunities to virtual-classroom-image interact in the virtual classroom and through the social outings in each region (of the state). The outings connect students from an entire region, not just one town or school district.

Andrea: We teach students at every level. I had a student who was a traveling professional concert pianist, and another who was training for the Olympics – their passion doesn’t work with the traditional school model. On the flip side, I have had students with special needs who wouldn’t have been able to graduate without an option like PA Virtual. To see someone with severe physical or mental disabilities be able to express themselves through art is a really beautiful thing.

What is something that people might not know about online education?

Zach: When I first started teaching at PA Virtual, I thought there would be little interaction.  I had the stereotype that students would just sit and stare at their computers, silently clicking away at lessons. I could not have been more wrong! It’s really amazing how the students interact with their peers and teachers.

Andrea: The opportunity to personalize your educational experience is there if you know where to look.There can be a bias against cyber education, and families might not be aware of everything you can do in an online setting.

Zach: Technology isn’t going away and being in a virtual world doesn’t mean that students won’t be able to get the skills they need to be successful. Cyber education prepares students for the next generation – technology is the future. We can prepare them for this, and encourage them to be makers themselves.

PA Virtual Charter School is a tuition- free public cyber school of choice chartered and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 2001. Celebrating 15 years of cyber excellence, PA Virtual serves approximately 2300 students throughout Pennsylvania from Kindergarten through 12th grade. PA Virtual is an award-winning and innovative online school in PA that provides K-12 home-based public education. For more information visit .