Toy Making: Part 2

(This post is Part 2 in a series. Part 1.) From making their balancing crayfish, students learned that adding weight to an object makes it more stable, particularly when the weight is distributed more towards the bottom than the top. Having learned this, they moved on to making tops. Building a Top Students began by trying…

Making Hands

We are all focused on getting ready for Maker Faire right now, which has kept me busy and gotten me behind on this post. Next week I’ll begin posting previews of students’ projects for Maker Faire, but, while it’s still fresh, I thought I’d share a making project that our middle school students just finished in their making elective, since…

Testing out 3D Printed Scribblers

In the weeks to come, we are focusing on Maker Faire prep, but I’m also working on an updated project guide for scribble machines. It would be nice if I could fit this project guide to the template I just created for Turtle Art, but we’re talking about two very different kinds of projects. The Turtle Art project guide…

Scribblers

Scribble machines are quick projects that combine arts and crafts with the basics of circuitry. They’re incredibly open-ended, making them a great exercise in creative design and persistence. The idea is to build a robot that draws as it moves, and we typically don’t give students any further instruction after this prompt. This usually creates some frustration, but also…

The Mathematics of Turtle Art

I’ve been working on an updated project guide for Turtle Art (coming soon), and it’s inspired me to do a follow-up to my previous Turtle Art post, and talk a little about why we like Turtle Art to begin with. We use Turtle Art not only as an introduction to programming, but also as a tool for…

Thoughts From a First-Time Maker

On Thursday and Friday, we hosted a “Designing Making Experiences” session at the Creativity Lab. Makers from as far as Greensboro, NC joined us for the two-day intensive on creating maker-based curriculum for the classroom. As part of the session, participants were encouraged to work on a curricular project that they could bring back to their…

Student Project Spotlight

This post is to highlight the projects students completed in our Installation and Community Projects week. Students were told to design and build a project for the school or their community using the skills and techniques they had learned this summer. Here are some of the projects from that week.

Work-in-Progress: the process of making ideas a reality

Throughout the summer making program, we used several techniques to help students develop their ideas at different stages of making. The processes of drawing, prototyping, and documentation are just as important as the actual ‘making’ of a project. 1. Journals: Initial ideas, sketches of designs, lists, a working book that keeps everything organized. Every student…

Wall Climbing Whatsits

One of the Creativity Lab’s top priorities is to get our community comfortable with the idea of making things, and perhaps more importantly, to learn to be persistent when things get tough and to learn from mistakes made along the way, whatever the project. Take for example the challenges 2nd graders have faced trying to…

Building and Space Design

Our middle school students have teamed up with Hamilton + Aitken Architects to collaborate on a five-week-long project that has two major goals: first and foremost, we want to introduce our young designers to the concepts and practices that make up building and space design; secondly, students are working to generate ideas and input for…