Yesterday was the Maker Faire in San Mateo, California–inventors of all types were featured there. (human powered stage at Maker Faire).
One was my son’s human powered stage at (Rock The Bike), powered by people sitting on stationary bikes to harness energy to power up the music and lights for the singers and performers on that human-powered stage! Awesome…

So interesting to me was watching little children (age 8? 9? 10?) who clamored to get on those bikes and power them. All day long, one after another, these kids jumped on the bikes and volunteered! They checked out the pedal meter which told the audience if there was enough power at any moment. If there wasn’t, they had to pedal faster! Those kids watched that meter like hawks! They wanted to help. They wanted to be useful. They wanted to participate. They created the power. They mattered. They were important. No whining or complaining there. Just young children looking to be useful and having fun doing it (and getting lots of exercise pedaling)…

I often think that in our schools we do way too much for kids and expect them to contribute way too little. People want to be useful and to be needed. So do little people. We should learn from the pedal powered stage at Maker Faire!

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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