Capturing Dinosaurs at This Year’s Maker Faire in NYC

World Maker Faire NYC is coming in just two weeks (Sept 21st and 22nd) and I couldn’t be more excited. This weekend-long festival (70,000 attendees expected) held in and around the Queen’s New York Hall of Science is always a highlight of the year for me and my family. And this year, I am part of the team leading AMNH’s sure-to-amaze activities designed just for the day.

They like to describe themselves as “a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.” That’s true, but undersells the amount of insane awesomeness that pervades every inch of the space. In the past three years I have watched my children do circus tricks, win cardboard car building contents, marvel at the life-size game of Mousetrap (instead of a marble they use a bowling bowl), and delight at climbing through a dragon spitting fire (the dragon, not my kids), riding a butterfly bicycle and swinging on a set that magically avoids drenching the rider in a constant stream of water. I could go on and on. It is just so much fun.

And over the last three years I have watched the 3D printing section (the first place I ever saw a 3D printer) grow from one to three sections. But what I have yet to see are examples of how it can be used for education, or about science learning in specific. I hope AMNH’s booth will change all of that.

©AMNH Photos: Roderick Mickens

The recent press release from Maker Faire about the 650+ vendors described ours as follows:

Capturing Dinosaurs: The American Museum of Natural History staff is bringing 3D-printed dinosaur bones to World Maker Faire to help young attendees construct dinosaur models, create their own Dino-dioramas, and learn more about dinosaur bones.

But what does that mean, exactly? It means we will be partnering with our good buddies at the Makerbot Foundation to expand on the educational lessons learned and files produced during our summer program, Capturing Dinosaurs. To be specific, current plans include:

  • The Great Dino Skull Challenge: We will produce three digitally-printed Allosaurus skulls, a little larger than half size, split into 20 parts each. Teams of youth will compete to properly rebuild the skull; however, to get access to the required bones, they will have to answer scientific questions based on close observations.
  • Can’t Touch This: Actually, youth WILL be invited to touch these digitally fabricated bones from an Allosaurus’ hand, but what can’t be touched is how cool it will be to learn how to use a glue gun to rebuild the fingers (claw included), understand phalanges, and then take home their creation.
  • Printing Dinosaurs: A number of 3D printers will be on hand running off copies of bones modeled through the Capturing Dinosaurs program and available for visitors to take.
  • Q&A with Museum Staff: Details are still in the works, but we are hoping to also offer some up-close and person Q&A sessions with scientists from the Museum.

We will be located all weekend in Zone C, in the Young Maker’s Tent, right behind the food concession and next to our partners in the Hive NYC Learning Network.We hope to see you there!

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About Barry

The Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History.
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