District Tinker-Fests and Hackathons Rev Up Student Interest in STEM Education #MakerEducation

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Via EdTechMagazine.

At the annual Tinker Fair in De Queen, Ark., science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education is put into action. In every direction, robots are dancing, racing or manipulating objects, as servo motors whir and LED lights glow. 

In one part of the auditorium, a talking smart mirror delivers a weather report. In another, an ordinary sandbox has become an augmented reality map; as fingers manipulate the sand, colorful mountains, valleys and streams are projected onto it.

All of these projects were created by the students in this tiny rural district, located about an hour north of Texarkana.

The Tinker Fair is the culmination of three years of a robust K–12 STEM curriculum, says Nena Land, technology coordinator for De Queen Public Schools, which serves roughly 2,500 students across five schools.

“We felt like the community needed to see what our students are capable of doing with coding and robotics,” Land says. “It’s like a big carnival, complete with a popcorn machine.”

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