Summary:

Despite its small size, the truck is packed with a laser cutter, a 3D printer, hand tools and much more. Two members of the crew weighed in on what it’s like to work with young makers.

SparkTruck mobile makerspace
photo: SparkTruck

While adults are leading the maker movement, kids have been building Lego towers, fantastical costumes and makeshift forts for generations. This summer, five college students and recent grads drove all over the country in the SparkTruck: a mobile makerspace built just for kids.

The truck is equipped with a laser cutter, a 3D printer, handheld tools, LittleBits electronic modules, Lego Mindstorms robotics kits and all other sorts of maker tools.

“It was really fun to get to travel and to get to work with kids, to get to see their faces when they complete a circuit or get to see the Mindstorm move or see a laser cutter go for the first time,” said Brittany Hallawell, a junior at Stanford University.

There’s a big emphasis on brainstorming too. Kids are encouraged to dream up crazy creations.

“I really value creativity in kids; showing them this technology, giving them the tools to show them how they can brainstorm and how they can prototype,” said Sarah Cohen, a recent graduate of University of California-Santa Cruz. “With that knowledge and with that confidence, they’re able to accomplish anything. They’re able to think really big picture.”

Since July 1, the crew visited 14 cities. They capped off their tour with a stop at the SoMa StrEat Food Park. I was able to take a quick peek inside the truck for some photos.

 

 

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