Pre thinking:

TED Resident Fawn Qiu designs fun, low-cost projects that use familiar materials like paper and fabric to introduce engineering to kids. In this quick, clever talk, she shares how nontraditional workshops like hers can change the perception of technology and inspire students to participate in creating it.(Official Ted site).

Who is she?

Qiu was a former research assistant at the MIT Media Lab. She has also developed and launched several mobile applications at major technology companies. Her interactive art installations have been featured in festivals and galleries around the world. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s Degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education. (Op.cite) 

Why should you view?

When Qiu managed product development in the technology industry, she noticed a significant lack of women and minorities in her company, so she began to experiment with introducing engineering to people in a more creative and accessible way. From costumes that blink to robots that move to a physical version of the popular app Flappy Bird, these projects engaged people from diverse backgrounds, especially women and minorities. As a result, she founded Make Anything, an organization that empowers people from all technological backgrounds through creative technology workshops. (Op.cite)

Discussion Questions:

  1. When it comes to creativity, is necessity the mother of invention?
  2. What does Fawn Qiu say is the problem with typical science kits designed for use with school aged children? How did she get around this?
  3. What might be the gateway for girls and ethnic minorities?
  4. What are the three principles that she uses in designing projects?

Making Connections:

Here is a link to a fun set of videos on DIY Science:

Also, be sure to click on the live link for “Make Anything” (above).

Easy DIY projects for kid engineers with Fawn Qiu


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