Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Mobile Making Program aims to develop a research-based model for supporting and evaluating a making-centered afterschool program for different social, cultural, and socioeconomic settings. This project brings making to local schools by taking equipment and undergraduate STEM Ambassadors to after school program sites with the use of a van provided by the Vista Unified School District.
Currently, STEM@CSUSM has established after school making clubs at 10 middle schools in Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido. STEM Ambassadors visit these sites each week to engage students in design-based, DIY activities such as building basic robots with toothbrushes and cell phone motors, making solar-powered vehicles from recycled materials, powering motors and buzzers with conductive play dough, creating electronic textiles with microcontrollers and conductive thread, and creating unique designs with 3D printing pens.
Making is a design-based, participant-driven endeavor that is based on a philosophy of learning-by-doing. Propelled by their own curiosity, Makers look for new ways to solve problems and then share their ideas with others. Skill acquisition occurs through social interactions with peers during shared learning experiences. The Maker culture emphasizes fun and self-fulfillment while fostering interdisciplinary connections and relevancy.