Jeadi Vilchis, a STEM consultant and devoted maker educator from Oakland is passionate about utilizing maker-centric tools to positively influence learning within the Oakland community. His projects with students include building LEGO robots, and using CNC routers and 3-D printers. A native of East Oakland and a product of the Oakland public school system, Vilchis has a passion for teaching students and teachers in the OUSD community about installing and managing maker spaces and designing curriculum that integrates making as a key aspect to learning STEM.


“Lots of people view STEM disciplines as difficult to learn and master. I would like to change the paradigm of what it means to work with STEM,” Vilchis says. “I think by installing maker spaces in schools and educational institutions, students can learn and be drawn into STEM experientially. I also think showing them a way to design and create tangible objects that people see value in transforms their interest and passion into entrepreneurship.”

At East Bay Mini Maker Faire, Vilchis and his students from Castlemont High School will introduce fairegoers to the world of creating tangible objects with 3-D printing. Students will also bring signs and earrings, designed and made by them, for attendees to see—and buy!

Vilchis has worked with various schools, including St. Lawrence O’Toole, Metwest High, San Leandro High, and Castlemont High School, and he offers consulting services through his company, Neologix, to educate teachers and students on setting up, maintaining, and utilizing cost-effective maker technologies. He wants to make a difference in the way STEM is taught to Oakland public schools and strongly believes that adding maker spaces within the school will increase the likelihood of young students from lower-income background succeeding in STEM fields. This belief is rooted in his experience working in education, with a particular emphasis on serving youth from lower-income families in San Francisco and Oakland communities for nearly 15 years. His principle focus is to uncover their potential and introduce new options in their choice of professions. His strategy is simple: If you can help students make tangible objects with the concepts they’re learning, and walk them through the building process, you get them interested. If the students can then sell their creations, they start thinking of themselves as entrepreneurs.


At left, middle school students from St. Lawrence O’Toole (K–8) work with Autodesk Tinkercad on a challenge to design a fruit. The winner of the contest got to print the design on a 3-D printer.

Vilchis started his educational career as part of Year Up Bay Area, a program that helps low-income youth of color ages 18 to 24 secure jobs in high-tech and obtain higher college education. He also worked with Upward Bound, whose goal is to get students from low-income families to complete secondary education and earn college degrees. For the last year and a half he has been solely focused on enabling kids in STEM, with an emphasis on making and maker spaces. lasercut_ruler

Vilchis’s hope is to make “institutions self-sufficient in the long run so that making is integrated into the curriculum and kids from an early age learn how to visualize a concept, think about its application, and build a real-world, tangible object from it.”

The ruler in the picture at right was designed and created by high schoolers from Castlemont High School in their own maker space as part of the SUDA works program.

The importance of making and maker spaces

Making provides a powerful learning experience for young kids as they are involved in the entire life cycle of how something comes to being. It helps them walk through the process of building a real object from a vague concept or idea. This in turn transforms them into critical thinkers and problem-solvers. Introducing students from to robotics, computer science, programming, 3-D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters, and power tools awakens their engagement as they are enabled to make tangible associations with their thinking and design processes.

Vilchis has watched students build furniture, jewelry, pendants, signs, rulers, and Lego robots that are programmed with sensors that enable them to follow commands. Quite a few of his students have also monetized their creations at maker faires and festivals, and are making the next natural transition into entrepreneurs—a very satisfying and rewarding experience that gives kids the incentive to stay engaged and feel productive.


The full cycle of making in action! 

The images at left showcase the essence of making, as high schoolers from Castlemont High School learned how to design their own earrings and signs, and used laser cutters to create commodities that they


could then sell to make money during the Malcolm X Jazz festival in Oakland.

The picture at right shows students experimenting with robotics using Lego Mindstorms Ev3 kits. These kids are part of the Holy Names University Upward Bound project, which is funded by the United States Department of Education to help further higher education in kids from low-income families whose parents don’t have bachelor’s degrees.

Maker spaces—and their cost implications—are varied, but all set the stage for success

makerspaceThe cost of establishing maker spaces can range from $5,000 to $125,000, with the median cost around $75,000. The most basic design space can have a low-end 3-D printer, CNC router, vinyl cutter, and power tools for building with wood. Higher-end versions might include higher-end equipment, as well as additional tools like laser cutters.table_11thgrader

The picture to the left shows the FabLab in Castlemont High School, which is equipped with CNC routers, a table saw, a chop saw, various power tools, 3-D printers, and laser cutters. The picture at right shows an 11th grader building a table using power tools like drills and a table saw for the FabLab.

This illustrates the power of making with cheaper, cost-effective tools and raw materials. Basically, kids learn that they can use skills from building utilitarian objects on a day-to-day basis. Since they actively participate in the making process, they have well-founded respect for the raw materials and objects that they use.


Advice to students

Vilchis advises kids to actively seek out making in their free time as a way to solidify their learning experience. He also urges students to read up online on making and maker spaces, and to subscribe to Make: magazine. He also tells them that he taught himself robotics and computer programming, and he notes that tools are available in spaces like the SF Tech Shop, which gives students a chance to learn how to work with CNC routers, laser cutters, and other tools.

Vilchis urges kids to take advantage of East Bay institutions like Laney College FabLab and Ace Monster Toys Hackerspace as resources for learning about and experiencing maker tools. Even if their schools don’t yet have the budget to support on-site maker spaces, they can still access—and master—tools at these facilities.

Interested in learning more about Vilchis’s thoughts and work? Check out this video with Cat Bobino:

foodtrucksIt’s time to talk about the food options present at the fair to feed your hungry selves while your minds are busy at Making!

There will be something for everyone to relish whether it be gourmet pizzas, tasty burgers, refreshing yummy sushi, scrumptious tacos,  mouth watering Indian food and the list goes one. For those with a sweet tooth there are a few dessert food trucks options as well to keep your taste buds happy!

Here’s our list of food trucks that are already committed to being present at the Faire.

Spicy, salty & peppery savories


Chocolaty, sugary & frosted bites


Note – do bring cash or cards; there will not be an ATM onsite.

See you Sunday!!

camp_tipsyGuess what ???  We are stinkingly proud to present Camp Tipsy at EBMMF 2016 !!

Join Camp Tipsy at the EBMMF and build your own rotten boats using 2/4s, pieces of plywood, rope, foam and any interesting tidbits from their pile of junk that fits your style, skill, disposition and imagination. They will be bringing power tools to the fair for you to use at their booth so you can go buck-wild and see what you end up making!

They are hoping for a body of H2O to test out your amazing; heartfelt creations, but water or not you will be building boats at their maker booth!

Because, because, because It’s fun to build a boat !!!

We spoke with Colin Fahrion who is a board member at the San Francisco Institute of Possibility.and helps with branding, event planning and everything else that makes art and creation a possibility!


riverboat-2016What is Camp Tipsy and who came up with the boat building idea?

Camp Tipsy is an annual rotten-boat building contest and camp-out held at East Park Reservoir in Colusa County, California organized by the SFIOP.

The event is open to all ages and skill levels with the idea being, building the silliest, sloppiest, craziest boats with a possibility of floating in the lake.  The goal is to build a boat that stems from your imagination with recycled junk and awesome power tools amidst nature. The only lay of the lake at Camp Tipsy is, what goes in the lake comes out of the lake with no trace left behind.

The idea of building boats was the brainchild of the legendary Chicken John who also happens to be the executive director of SFIOP.

power-toolsAt Camp Tipsy they have an entire workshop dedicated to building boats, equipped with power tools, wood, foam, bottles, milk jugs, furniture and random pieces of  scraps that they lovingly refer to as a pile of junk . Once the boats have been built and flaunted on the lake they get dismantled and the materials go back in the pile they came from. Occasionally people bring their own building material and leave it behind when the event ends for reuse the following year.

Colin tells us when he first thought of going to the event he was extremely intimidated by the idea of building. However he showed up with no clue on what to build and with no tools of his own. Not only did he build his first boat, he ended up as the winner of one of the contest categories. Ever since, he has been fondly returning to the event year after year for a total of 5 years now! Boat builders at Camp Tipsy are often fondly referred to as recreationeer (recreation + engineer).

What are the some of the fun aspects of Camp Tipsy ? 

mermaidOf course, the funnest and biggest attraction is the idea of building a boat from concept to realization. Additional gratification comes from the act of winning a valueless award for absurd categories like “Unnecessary use of materials”, “Boat most likely to sink but doesn’t”, “Boat least like a boat”, “Worst Implementation”, “Worst Idea”, “Least Effort” etc. The kids can enjoy their own category called “Sherif of kidtown”, which is the first award that is given at the contest, naturally as kids go first at Camp Tipsy.

Kids love being outdoors and watching the different creative boats on the lake and enjoy being in the water.

Colin brought up that one of his funnest memories from the past events is when this child just pushed her father into the lake and climbed on him to make the “Least Effort” category boat, ROFL!
In addition to the main fun event they have kids play zone near the shallow part of the lake, where kids typically hang out while adults are having fun building boats. The kids zone is  away from the stage area where the musical bands play every evening. There are live music events for kids to enjoy earlier in the day as well.  Dancing is also part of the fun times. The intent is for the event to be family friendly and open to all age groups.

How many years has Camp Tipsy been in the running and what is the attendance like?

Camp Tipsy finished its 11th year in 2016 and had close to 700 participants this past summer. It is a four day long event and generally people bring camping supplies when they come in and utilize mostly what’s in the Tipsy warehouse to build boats. Part of wrapping up the event is cleaning up after yourselves and dismantling what you build and returning the raw materials used in the construction back to the pile of junk.


Do you remember any boats that were Likely to Sink, but didn’t?

Strap enough foam or barrels on and it’s hard to make it sink. Usually the problem is capsizing or being too big to paddle. That said the person last year who created the kayak out of PVC pipes and billboard vinyl was impressive!


Which category sees the most entries?

Least Effort is always a popular entry and as a result one of the hardest to judge and win.

couch boat

Are electric or high  power motorized boats being built at Camp Tipsy? 

The boats that are typically built at Camp Tipsy are either pedal powered motorized boats or human powered boats. Most boats are low powered motorized or a mile an hour boats. They typically encourage building boats that people can navigate using oars and pedals.

Bringing motorized boats and jet skis is not encouraged as that goes against the very idea that Camp Tipsy stands for.

What are some unique and interesting boats that have been built over the years ? 

Colin named a few pedal powered ferris wheel boat, hot-tub boat and three-storied boat. We found a few images for your enjoyment, that looked fun and interesting from the photo gallery that Colin shared from the event last year as well.


















Making makes education fun, creative, lucid, experiential, tangible, unforgettable and much, much more!

Making provides the perfect avenue for academic institutions and early childhood learning organizations to teach STEM using a collaborative and project based approach.

We wanted to understand the role and growth of maker-centric pedagogy in East Bay schools. Here’s what we learnt from some of the Maker educators who have spearheaded efforts to successfully integrate Making as part of the curriculum in Oakland schools.

abd_logoAgency by Design is a multi-year research initiative funded by the Abundance Foundation which focuses on, development and assessment tools designed for maker-centered learning environments. The framework established by this effort builds on 3 core capacities: looking closely, observing complexity and finding opportunity.


The goal of this approach is to empower young minds to define entry points for change with a deep understanding and awareness of the subject matter and the eco-system that surrounds it.

Building this level of understanding helps, expand their thought process to inter-disciplinary objects and systems. This then provides the ability to perceive transitivity of cause and effect across the eco-system that surrounds the subject matter.

The end goal is to enable and empower individuals to build and shape the world that they live in with a deeper sense of appreciation and respect for the environment that surrounds them.

lighthouse-logoLighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, CA is participating member of the maker movement developed by  AbD.

aaronvanderwerff“Making in education is really important as it is a tangible way to see how to turn learning over to kids. It has a benefit for students to build their own agency to deeply understand and feel vested in the learning process. “

Aaron Vanderwerff is the director of Creativity Lab at Lighthouse Community Charter school and it’s sister concern Lodestar located in Oakland, CA. He has been overseeing design and making programs at Lighthouse for the 4th year now, which includes coaching teachers and facilitating professional development. 85% of the student population at Lighthouse originate from low income families. Aaron firmly believes that maker centric curriculum encourages young minds to think creatively and make tangible associations to the learning process. He has observed an increased participation of younger girls and boys in STEM fields motivated by their interest in the subject matter.  He also mentioned that individuals are finding creative outlets not just for robotics and text based programming languages, but also by applying programming and circuit design to clothing etc.  Lighthouse kids from different grades engage in series of design projects using tools like Pro-bot, Turtle, Scratch, HummingBird and Arduino to name a few. Maker based learning at his schools utilizes cost-effective making tools for students to become critical thinkers and inventors, which will prepare them to be future entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists etc.


Join student volunteers from Lighthouse Community Charter school to build robotic pets at the EBMMF.  You will be guided by them in building prehensile machines, using only cardboard, string, glue, and straws. When you’re done, feed our (robot) petting zoo animals! Click on build a robot petting zoo from Lighthouse Creativity Lab for details.



Park Day School located in Oakland, CA is also a participating member of the AbD maker centric learning approach.


“Maker process is a response to consumerism in this society, focussing on how things are made and giving it the respect they deserve. Giving children concrete examples on the making process and an opportunity to work with  raw materials, enables them to experience and understand the effort involved in the building of things. “

Ilya Pratt is the director of the Design+Make+Engage program at Park Day School in Oakland CA. She is a Maker Leader for the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Project Zero, Agency by Design project, exploring the promises and practices of maker-centered learning. This is her 5th year of teaching making at PDS. She collaborates with K-8 teachers at PDS to devise curriculums that provide a rich project centric learning experience to their students. Her principle focus with maker based learning is to build capacities across Oakland for project based design. She believes that the thinking disposition of designers and makers can bring more richness and depth to curricular studies. Making helps kids build sensitivity towards the designed dimensions of the world they live in.

Social justice is a key issue at PDS and students are made to view their maker projects through different lenses to analyze cause and effect and the entry points for change. As an example the 6th graders are studying the concept of averages by taking measurements of their body to gauge the size of an average six grader. They are then made to tear apart a Halloween skeleton to reconstruct one that is the size of an average sixth grader. In calculating the average they are made to understand the differences between mean, mode, average and what context should a given measurement be applied. They also think about gender identity when it comes to building their ideal average sixth grader which takes them outside the realm of Math.

East Bay Mini Maker Faire is proud to showcase Maker booths from the various East Bay institutions that have pioneered Making as a method to teach science, history, math, technology and engineering to our youth and children.


Check out this great list — and search for their project and for more information on our Meet the Makers page.

Castlemont High School
East Bay School for Boys
Aurora School
West Oakland Middle School
Lighthouse Creativity Lab
Spring Hill Acadamy of Petaluma
Park Day School
Bentley School Makers
East Bay Innovation Academy
Piedmont High School

UC Santa Cruz
Laney College
Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation – UC Berkeley
Individualized Assistive Devices – UC Berkeley
Squishy Circuits – UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering Graduate Student Outreach
CalSol – UC Berkeley Solar Vehicle

Curiosity Hacked
Girls Garage
Young Sparks Foundation
Oakland and Emeryville 4H
Girl Scout Samoa Cookie Car
Girls Make Games
Scientific Adventures for Girls
Oakland Symphony Instrument Petting Zoo
The MAGIC of robotics
Trackers Earth
Project Ember Summer Camp

What usually happens in the educational process is that the faculties are dulled, overloaded, stuffed and paralyzed so that by the time most people are mature they have lost their innate capabilities.

R. Buckminster Fuller

Greetings artists, builders, crafters, designers, dreamers, engineers, hobbyists, inventors, magicians, scientists, and maker enthusiasts!!

Without further ado, we would like to introduce our 2016 list of distinguished makers who will participate at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire!

Be sure to bookmark this post, and acquaint yourselves with our superstar makers—and check back regularly for new additions.

East Bay Mini Maker Faire 2016

—A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist, and evolutionary strategist.

R. Buckminster Fuller