Pete Hawkes leading the Binary Dance.

Written by on May 14, 2014

Binary Dance at the San Luis Obispo Mini Maker Faire

Cal Poly Science Cafe took a field trip this past Saturday, May 10, to the second annual San Luis Obispo Mini Maker Faire.

Cal Poly Science Cafe brought Pete Hawkes, an interaction designer and artist based in LA, to the faire to teach us about binary code through a dance and arduino-powered device. Makers of all ages participated in the Binary Dance to learn how computers store complex data with 1s and 0s.

The dance

Pete got the crowd going when he was up on stage leading the dance. People of all ages, from toddlers to adults, were following along with Pete as he led the dance.

Pete created the binary dance as a way for people to learn more binary code in a fun, non-intimidating way. Each limb represents a number from 1 to 16, and we added up the numbers by holding out our arms, legs and head to toggle a symbolic bit value in a simple binary sequence. The dance was fun and interactive (and also reminded me that I may need to brush up on my simple addition skills).

Using creative methods in education

SLO Mini Maker Faire

Pete built an interactive device to show how binary works, too.

“Play is central to the way we learn and develop,” Pete said (in this post that previewed the event).

The Binary Dance is a perfect example of using more creative methods in education. By teaching the complex concept through the simple method of dancing, learning becomes easier and more engaging.

The SLO Mini Maker Faire

The SLOMMF unites makers and learners of all ages. This was the second year of the event, held in downtown San Luis Obispo, where makers show off their creations and teach people of all ages how their creations work. Read more about the event in Mustang News, including the 9 things you may have missed.

At the Faire we saw everything from a robot that plays Frisbee to banjos made out of unconventional materials like tin cans.

More about Pete

A booth at the SLO Mini Maker Faire.

Liberal Arts and Engineering Students (LAES) created an interactive paper prism for the SLOMMF.

Pete Hawkes holds an MFA in Design Media Arts from UCLA and a BFA in Graphic Design from Brigham Young University. He has designed interactive experiences for Nokia, Ogilvy Interactive, KFC, Liz Claiborne, Boeing, and the Sci-Fi Channel. Pete’s work has been presented at the AGIdeas Design Conference in Melbourne, Verge: the OgilvyOne Global Digital Summit, and FILE in Sao Paulo. He currently teaches part-time at UCLA Extension and works at Oblong Industries in Los Angeles.

For more photos, visit our Flickr and be on the lookout for a video of this event on our Vimeo channel!

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