Austin Maker Faire 2017

Lauren SiegelEvents, Making MathLeave a Comment

We got to talk with makers and math enthusiasts of all types, ages and interests.  Our showcase includes math made with 3d printers, epilog lasers, an iPad app, leather, and plain old paper.  Its fun to see it all together.  Our table included several kinds of calipers and golden ratio examples, Lewis Carroll exhibit activities, La Belle 1600s navigation tools, and the quite popular Fibonacci reversible rabbit and bee tree.

Our maker activities were assembling golden calipers alternating with making mothers day earrings.


The calipers are a great way to understand the golden ratio because you can both test objects, animals and anything you find for the proportion 1:1.618, and you can use the calipers to help you design your own project with the the ratio.  Breed and Co is now OUT of 3/16 stop nuts and 3×3/16 machine screws, by the way.

The earring project is a fun activity for kids of all ages and the products are amazing in variety and creativity.  Usually in a bead shop the customer picks out beads and findings (the stem and earwire), making note of what they choose, how many of each, and the cost.  Part of the experience is making a small spreadsheet with this information, and then assembling the earrings.  If we want to learn about manufacturing, cost impacts on different parts of production, or just think about the value of our time, we can ask some simple questions.  What if you made 25 pairs of earrings, what would the cost be?; Every 10th ear wire is broken.  If you are buying in bulk, is that a big deal or not an issue for your profitability?  The price of metal goes up by 50%, what does that do to the price of your design.

Interesting side note — when we were making ear rings, we had some kiddos asking relentlessly about calipers (we gave the parts to take home) and a good number just came back so they could do both.  With all the bells and whistles of maker faire it was great to have some longer conversations with visitors who were really interested in us and our made math.

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