Flashback to Week of Making

While celebrating the National Week of Making, Digital Harbor Foundation was able to participate in both National Maker Faire, for which we were honored to be listed as a Highlighted Maker, and Capitol Hill Maker Faire in Washington, DC. We are very excited to have been a part of both of these events and had a great time while participating.

On June 18th and 19th, we packed up our projects and headed to DC for National Maker Faire. During this event, DHF helped nearly 650 attendees to create their own paper flashlight out of a card stock template, an LED, and a coin cell battery. This project took each participant about 5-10 minutes to complete and they were able to take the finished product home with them. This project was definitely a hit! There was a constant moving line of attendees waiting to make their own flashlight.


Our exhibit also showcased each of the first place FabSLAM teams from the Baltimore and Idaho competitions who were able to share their winning projects. Idaho’s first place team, the G T.E.A.M. from Lone Star Middle School, presented their Homeless Emergency Life Pack, or HELP, which is a wheeled suitcase that can be turned into a one-person shelter. While the Digital Oyster Foundation, a middle school team and Baltimore’s first place winner, presented their 3D printed reef balls to create a solution to a dwindling oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay. This project even received an Editor’s Choice Award at the faire!


On Tuesday, June 21st, we were on our way to Capitol Hill Maker Faire, but this time with our Mini Makers. Two of our Mini Makers were able to present the projects that they worked on while learning about Toy Manufacturing earlier this year. Some of these projects included manufacturing methods such as laser cutting, sewing, and mold making. Specifically, we highlighted the project these youth developed that stole the show at this year’s White House Science Fair, 3D printed bubble wands! Our Community Manager, Melissa Huch, was able to attend Capitol Hill Maker Faire for the first time and she loved how eager everyone was to meet our youth. “Typically when going to events, I am used to talking about DHF programs but this time, Elizabeth and Anthony took the reins. They did an amazing job explaining how they created each project and I was impressed how much they knew about 3D Printing, Tinkercad, and Doodlefab. Overall the event was incredible, and it was great meeting new Makers”, Melissa shared.


Our Mini Makers were big hit at the faire and had many important people in the maker and education community excited about their work. Steve Davee from Maker Ed was really excited to meet our Mini Makers and hear all about their projects.

And recently recognized White House Champion of Change, Sonya Pryor-Jones, was so enthusiastic about Lizzie’s “Savage Van” project that she had to share it with her friend Adam Savage on Twitter! Lizzie was so excited because she is a big Mythbusters fan!

Interim Executive Director, Shawn Grimes, said, “Maker Faire’s always feel like a reunion of sorts. I get to catch up with a lot of great people and see some really cool projects. It is honestly one of my favorite things to do throughout the year.” DHF always has so much fun at Maker Faire’s, and this was experience was no different. We enjoy getting to share our love of making with the community at both of these events, and we hope to participate again in the future. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out National Maker Faire’s website here.

Jacob Goes to the White House


Yesterday was a big, exciting day for all of us at DHF. One of our very own Mini Makers, Jacob Leggette, represented DHF at the 6th and final White House Science Fair of President Obama’s administration. This is the second year in a row that we have had one of our youth invited to participate in the WH Science Fair. Last year, you may recall that Sierra Seabrease presented her Digital Jukebox at the same event.
IMG_1457.JPG copy

We all gathered around the projectors at the Tech Center yesterday afternoon and anxiously watched the live-stream for some footage of our young maker at the White House. We were all surprised and ecstatic to finally catch a glimpse of him…blowing bubbles with the President himself!

Jacob eagerly shared his story about learning to 3D print in our summer Maker Camp last year, and how he enjoyed 3D printing so much he wrote to companies like Printrbot to ask for a 3D printer of his own in exchange for feedback about how kid-friendly their product was.

IMG_1458.JPG copy

His table was full of products he designed as part of his explorations of manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, laser cutting, sewing, and mold making. He even created specific products to share at this event like his 3D printed White House, as an example of additive manufacturing, and his Liberty Bell 3D printed mold.

Before ending his conversation with President Obama, Jacob asked him if he has any “child science advisors”, to which the President responded that he did not. Jacob quickly recommended that “You should” and insisted this was a good idea!

We are all so very proud of Jacob and what a wonderful job he did representing himself, DHF and Baltimore at this year’s White House Science Fair.

See more coverage of Jacob’s presentation at yesterday’s event:


President Obama testing Jacob's custom 3D Printed bubble wands, via White House Instagram
President Obama testing Jacob’s custom 3D Printed bubble wands, via White House Instagram


Photo via Telegraph World

 via White House Facebook (Jacob appears at 31:20)

“West Baltimore boy, 9, wows Obama at White House science fair” via Baltimore Sun

“This 9-year-old wants to be the first White House child science adviser” via Washington Post

“9 year old points out why he’s attracted the White House’s attention” via WBALTV

“Students show off inventions at White House Science Fair” via CBS News

“President Obama hosts final White House Science Fair” via ABC News

“Brainy, budding young scientists attend White House Science Fair” via NBC News

“Obama blows bubbles with Digital Harbor Foundation student” via Technically Baltimore

via USA Today

Check Us Out at NAA Convention

Our Directors, Shawn + Steph Grimes are excited to be attending and presenting at the National Afterschool Association Convention in Orlando, FL next week!


We will be presenting two talks on Tuesday March 22nd during the convention. If you’re attending the conference, come join us for our sessions!


Bringing the Maker Movement to Your Program

The Maker Movement is gaining STEAM and it is empowering youth to be productive without sacrificing creativity. Learn more about what a Maker is and how the Maker Movement can be easily integrated in nearly any program.

  • Tuesday, March 22nd
  • 1:45 – 3:00pm
  • Room: Naples 3


3D Printing: What You Need to Know

There is a lot of excitement around 3D printers and what they can do. This session will go beyond the marketing hype and share real experiences (good and bad) from two people who have been using 3D printers in a learning environment for a number of years. Come learn what they can actually do for your program, and what they can’t!

  • Tuesday, March 22nd
  • 3:15 – 4:30pm
  • Room: Sarasota 1


We hope to see you at the convention!

Jonathan Presents at Ignite Education 2015


I recently had the privilege to speak at the third annual City Neighbors Foundation Ignite Education event and I’m excited to share my experience!

Ignite Talks are a public speaking format developed by Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis in 2006. Each talk is exactly five minutes long and 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. The slides advance whether or not the speaker is ready for them to advance; there is no ability to pause the slides once the presentation starts. The goal is for the talk to be rapid pace and to keep the topic moving forward. The tagline for the official Ignite Talks is “Enlighten us, but make it quick” and this is a great summary of the spirit of the event.


Ignite Education Baltimore is a local, education based spin-off from this larger series and it is hosted by City Neighbors Foundation each year. The overarching topic for this year’s Ignite Education event was “education and social justice in Baltimore,” and all the proposed talks had to relate to this issue in one way or another. The City Neighbors Foundation stated that one of the main goals was to get the audience talking and inspired about this larger topic, and that each talk should ideally be conversational and spark ideas and foster dialogue both during and after the event.


I submitted my proposal as soon as I found out about the event because I was interested in the challenging Ignite format and I considered it a great way to share my thoughts and experiences with the education community in Baltimore.  I thought that my talk would fit well with the topic and knew this event would be valuable public speaking practice and allow me to further refine my ability to think quickly. The driving factor for my submission was that I wanted to meet other educators and invite a discussion for my theme and highlight my passion for youth empowerment.


My talk explored how the integration of making and the Hacker Mindset in education in recent years has resulted in increased opportunity and a progression away from a consumer culture in education toward a producer culture where youth have a hand in their education and knowledge development. As these changes have gained momentum there have been big shifts on a large scale, but I wanted to dive in and dissect how this integration plays out on an individual level between teacher and student.

This was the overall goal of my talk and I integrated in two core concepts from Bruce Lee’s martial art philosophy Jeet Kune Do: the idea of being like water, embracing fluidity to change forms, and the importance of being willing to absorb that which is useful, regardless of the source. This was the driving force for my personal movement away from an ego-driven mindset in my youth education background to a more empowerment-driven mindset where I was willing to learn from youth and elevate them as experts. I related my personal experiences and how these guiding philosophical points that I borrowed from Bruce Lee have helped me change my approach to education and learning, and I relayed how working at Digital Harbor Foundation has shaped my growth as an educator. Here is a video of my talk that Jen took:

I greatly enjoyed the feeling of being able to deliver my talk in a clear and concise way while meeting the requirements of the Ignite format, but what I enjoyed most about the event was hearing the other Ignite talks. I came away with lots of insight and heard some amazing anecdotes. It was also great to recognize that there are many other educators with similar goals and approaches regarding youth empowerment and reimagining education. I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to speak at this event and am thankful to the City Neighbors Foundation for giving me the chance to share my experiences!