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YouthALIVE!

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For the past month, the MakeShop team has been working with the Museum’s YouthALIVE! after school program.  This program provides youth with meaningful learning activities and experiences that help them discover their potential, develop their talents and abilities and explore their interests.

The MakeShop spends one day a week with these youth.  It is our goal to get these young people involved in making by teaching them new skills, testing their abilities through challenges, and engaging them in the design process.

We will spend the first semester of the program learning basic skills and what it means to be involved in a making experience.  We have challenged the youth to design and make a newspaper table that is strong enough to hold a telephone book.  We have taught them how to hand and machine sew to create a small collaborative patchwork quilt.  We challenged them with electronics to work together to create ShopBots.

The experience has been great so far.  The MakeShop staff is loving the time that we spend with them.  It is fun for us to be a part of these really interesting challenges.  I think the youth are enjoying it, too.  Some of them are apprehensive about an activity at first, but by the end of the day, everyone is into it.  They are all very focused and ambitious during the activities.   It’s so amazing to look around the room and see every single person engaged, focused and enthusiastic about the activity.  Sometimes it’s scary how quiet it gets while people are working.

The rest of this year will include more challenges with the hopes that we can take these basic skills, such as sewing and circuitry, and expand them to do really amazing things.  Check back for more updates!

Are you interested in the challenge of making a newspaper table?  Check out this great activity by PBS Design Squad. 

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