Hommocks Co-Op Camp, Westchester Children's Museum and Maker Corps Collaborate on Unique Student Exhibit


Hommocks Co-Op Camp, a summer program for at-risk students in the Mamaroneck School District, has teamed up with Westchester Children's Museum (WCM) at Rye Playland to create a one month installation of students' work called "Our Community: Engineering Art" on exhibit now through September 5th at the WCM's summer Let's Build exhibit space (North Bathhouse, Rye Playland Boardwalk). Over seventy middle school students, including students with special needs, worked on integrated art and cardboard engineering projects as part of a nationally recognized initiative called Maker Corps that brought two young adult Maker Corps interns to the Hommocks Co-Op Camp program. The students' creative process included exploring cartography with Google Maps, using sketchbooks as art "diaries", taking field trips to examine boat design, collecting recycled materials, experimenting with cardboard engineering and learning the basics of electronic circuitry. Their final works use conductive paint, LED's, copper tape and other materials to depict their actual community and fictitious locations in a unique and imaginative landscape.

WCM Director, Tracy Kay, applauds the Co-Op Camp exhibit saying, "Collaboration with cultural, educational and community organizations ensures that all children and their families have access to the museum." The exhibit is the culmination of Mamaroneck School District's second year as a Maker Corps Host Site. Maker Corps members, Joseph Kaplan (MHS '12) and Mimi Zimmer (MHS '14) worked in conjunction with the Co-Op Camp art teacher, Michelle Burton, to provide art-based contextualized STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning opportunities to some of Mamaroneck's most at-risk students. Maker Corp describes itself as a national initiative that seeks to offer youth ways to develop their "confidence, creativity and interest in STEM and learning as a whole through making." These programs believe that "hands-on building – or making – can uniquely spark a student's interest in science, technology, engineering and math." For their part, Joey, Mimi and Ms. Burton could not agree more. Joey said, "The Maker Movement is special because it recognizes technology as a means to an end rather than the end product itself. Technology is a tool as well." Mimi pointed out that this year's work had an additional goal "to serve as a bridge between our students and the larger community. To us, a community-based project would not be complete without displaying the final product for fellow community members." With decades of experience as a District art teacher, Ms. Burton finds this program immeasurably rejuvenating for herself and her students as it leverages near peer mentors, the Maker Corps interns, to show that the culture of technology has a place in learning as well as in their daily lives.

Additional community collaboration made this project possible and took many forms. The STEM Alliance of Larchmont-Mamaroneck serves as a liaison to Maker Corps and first brought the program to the District's attention. Mamaroneck Council Member and Assistant Town Supervisor Ernie Odierna taught the Maker Corps leaders and the Co-Op camp students cardboard boat design based on his experience with cardboard boat regattas. Local architect Dianne Eaton of Keller/Eaton Architects provided the program with large scale community maps.

Location: Westchester Children's Museum, Rye Playland Boardwalk, North Bath House

Museum Hours:

Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 3pm

Saturday & Sunday: noon to 3pm

Admission to the museum is free.

Visitors should park in the Playland's Main Lot

Additional Hands-On Exhibit Experiences:

Keva Planks & Build a Roller Coaster


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