What is "Making" & Why Does It Matter?

What is "Making" & Why Does It Matter?

What Is "Making"?

This is a great question! And the answer is best put by Travis Good, of MAKE Magazine, in this article on the topic. Here's an excerpt:

"At the lowest level, 'making' is something primal. We need to make, and in making, there’s a great sense of satisfaction. Moving up the making hierarchy has historically required the grand pre-requisite of acquiring skills. We start off with amateurish work. With time and lots of practice, we gradually improve. Eventually, with the guidance of skilled mentors, we achieve a measure of expertise and become true craftsmen. People are creative. People want to make. However skills acquisition has been a huge barrier. That’s changing.

"Computers and the internet have been slowly reducing the barriers to making. For decades, tools have become smarter, design software has become more powerful, and they’ve conspired to make it easier to go from concept to prototype. While computers have done their part, the internet, too, has contributed in a big way. With the twin communication activities of sharing and collaborating, it’s now easier than ever to mature an idea into a product. Now, you can start building using designs shared by others, you can find people with complimentary skills with whom to collaborate, and you can create prototypes, iterate and improve quickly. We’re living in a new reality. That is what’s different. That is what’s changed. We’re at a tipping point. What we have today isn’t your father’s 'making' anymore."

Why Making Matters (especially in Iowa)

Making through prototyping, testing, experimenting, inventing and innovating is sparking new interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It’s helping promote values like creativity, problem-solving, collaboration and self-expression -- all skills necessary to fill jobs in the world’s fastest-growing industries.

Making is preparing young people for STEM careers by getting them to participate in the process and perceive themselves as makers.

Encouraging a "Makers Movement" in Iowa can reap significant economic benefits. According to Iowa Workforce Development, a highly-skilled workforce that has the opportunity to create ground-breaking new processes is essential to the future of manufacturing in our country.

Iowa remains one of the nation’s top states for manufacturing with employees in advanced manufacturing jobs earning an annual average wage of $52,983. Iowa is proud to be on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing, and by engaging a new generation of students with STEM skills, SCI can support its efforts.

Making is also attracting the interest of educators concerned about students’ disengagement from STEM subjects in formal educational settings. It is seen as having the potential to contribute to a more participatory approach and create new pathways into topics that will make them more alive and relevant to students.


This summer, making is at the center of SCI programming. Along with a Makers Studio that will be a permanent presence on the Main Level floor beginning June 7, two Makers Corps members will lead workshops, projects and special events throughout the summer. Every two weeks will focus on one aspect of Making - from manipulating nature to programming, robotics, music, animation and even hacking.

It all culminates in a Maker Fair – September 1, 2014. Part science fair, part county fair and part
something entirely new, Maker Fair is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, artists, educators,
crafters, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors and students. Iowa’s “makers” will come
to Maker Fair to show what they have made and share what they have learned.


Learn more about Make@SCI at

Category: Make@SCI