Hive Pittsburgh makes its mark on the Mozilla Maker Party

The Hive Pittsburgh Maker Party hit Bakery Square's TechShop on Saturday, bringing with it more than 200 people and an evening of making and fun.

On the weekend of August 10th, we celebrated a summer of learning with the Hive Pittsburgh Maker Party. With music pumping out into the parking lot behind the Google Headquarters in Bakery Square, we spent the evening making and creating inside and outside the TechShop Pittsburgh lab space.

The celebration was to mark the end of our Hive Days of Summer campaign that began at Youth Invasion at the Andy Warhol Museum. Hive Days of Summer was a three-month campaign to launch the Hive Learning Network in Pittsburgh and support connected learning opportunities for tweens, teens, and young adults all summer long.

Our Maker Party was Hive Pittsburgh’s contribution to the worldwide¬†Mozilla Maker Party which just wound down on September 15th, after three action-packed months full of making and learning. The movement is majorly spearheaded by Mozilla, encouraging communities all over to teach youth about technology and how it can shape their lives and the world they live in, and our own Maker Party was a local Pittsburgh happening just like ones as far away as Jakarta, Mumbai and London.

With people coming up before we were even set up for the event, we got the night kicked off in style, helping teens and their families and friends screen print t-shirts and snag some delicious barbecue from Roxanne’s before heading inside TechShop to work with The Labs @ CLP, GROWL, assemble, and the Children’s Museum’s MAKESHOP in designing games and working with programming and robotics. Heather Mallak led a learning station using Mozilla Webmaker tool Thimble. Teens used Thimble to remix a comic strip showing what they’d been up to at the party.

More than two hundred people came out for the night, lining up tens deep to get a wristband and a TechShop tag to be part of the fun. The wristbands got you food and swag while the tags let you into the TechShop itself for interactive activities and a tour of the city’s coolest open maker space.

As the evening went on and people continued to pour in, The Soundwaves Steel Drum Ensemble from Kelly-Strayhorn Theater set up on the opposite sidewalk for two sets of soulful Caribbean-infused pop music, including a shimmering cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”. When they weren’t performing, it was the sounds of tech-y dance music that filled the air as people ate, created and geeked out until the sun started to go down.

As the night wound down and activities wrapped up, the families took home their Hive t-shirts and notebooks, inside which were neon stickers printed with secret codes to give away a Hummingbird Robotics Kit, MaKey MaKey Invention Kit and Google Chromebook. The following week, we announced the winning numbers on Facebook and awarded the prizes to three awesome winners! Congrats, you guys!

And thank you as well, to TechShop for the space, to Roxanne’s for the food, The Soundwaves for the music, to Mozilla for starting the whole Maker Party initiative and to each and every one of you who came out for the Maker Party this weekend or attended any events, camps, workshops or activities that Hive Days of Summer has been putting on all season long through support from American Eagle, the MacArthur Foundation and The Grable Foundation.

See more coverage about the Hive Pittsburgh Maker Party and all kinds of other teen happenings around town are posted on Pittsburgh Youth Media!

Published September 17, 2013