Spark!ing Interest in American History
Meet Mara Seisselberg, intern at National Museum of American History‘s Spark!Lab. Part of the Lemelson Center, Spark!Lab is an interactive, hands-on invention space for children. At Spark!, kids get to create many fun and interesting things — such as building a car in a way that a disabled person can drive it, or designing a speedometer that counts the speed and rotation in a spinning wheel.
Facilitating on the Spark!Lab floor Mara guides visitors, especially families with young kids, through the interactive invention process by using different inquiry-based learning techniques to help them develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Through the hands-on activities the children understand that the invention process is never really finished, but instead an ongoing, present and future process. Most importantly, the kids get to be a part of the excitement that comes with creating and inventing new ways of seeing the world. Apart from facilitating on the Spark!Lab floor Mara also does research on volunteer engagement. Through studies of experts as well as garnering feedback from American History’s volunteers, Mara also develops ideas and strategies on how to improve the communication and the continual learning ethics within the group.
Mara who is 18 years old and hails from Germany, took a gap year between finishing high school and beginning her university studies, which she put to good use interning with the Smithsonian Institution and has found to be Seriously Amazing!