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Carson Middle School Maker’s Club to visit Reno Generator

Commonly known as the birthplace of some of Burning Man's most notorious art installations, the Reno Generator will play host to a different kind of group Friday, March 10: Middle school Makers.

Led by coaches Al Wakesnorus, Noble Studios CEO Jarrod Lopiccolo and STEM teacher Josh Billings, Carson Middle School's Maker's Club, CMIT, will visit the community arts space for the first time to craft and build their club's logo. The group, which consists primarily of sixth-graders, have been meeting once a week after school for the last seven months, obtaining certifications for various tools and perfecting their building skills.

But this isn't the groups' first time dabbling in complex building projects. While students at Fritsch Elementary, they participated in Lego Robotics, a club that encourages kids to build and program Lego robots to accomplish specific tasks. Over the years, they've not only excelled in the program, but have also quickly outgrown it.

This year, instead of participating in the First Lego League competition, the group has its sights set on joining the Maker's Movement. With access to everything from ban saws to 3D printers, the Maker's Movement encourages creative expression without the strict limitations set by competition rules.

The club, which is an extension of Carson Middle School's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program, is broken up into three categories: Technology, Craft and Build. Within each, the students are encouraged to use a variety of tools to formulate and execute their ideas. Not only is the club introducing students to the design process, but it challenges them to think in terms of business and marketing as well.

According to Lopiccolo, the Maker's club not only teaches kids how to iterate and make things, it also illustrates the pivotal role failure plays in the future success of any creation.

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"Through failure, kids are able to recognize the complexity of projects as well as the patience to see them through," said Lopiccolo. "At the end of the day, our club isn't just about making things. It's about removing the notion that you're not good enough, and empowering kids to know they can do anything."

To learn more about Carson Middle School's CMIT program and how to get involved, email Josh Billings at jbillings@carson.k12.nv.us