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How to control the game?

I was given the opportunity to work with an after school class at the Environmental Charter School in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago. The teachers wanted the kids to explore circuits and prototyping along with something digital. A great way to explore all of those things at once is to create a physical circuit that lets you interact with a digital computer program. We use a tool called a MaKey MaKey to allow the st
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Art Conference + Sewing = ???

In September, Pittsburgh hosted the Arts and Education Partnership National Forum (AEPF). Our executive director, Jane Werner, was asked to speak at the Forum and we were asked to have an accompanying table with a small taste of what goes on in MAKESHOP. We brought along a lot of example projects, wooden joinery blocks, circuit blocks, soldering tools, etc. We also brought along a lot of sewing materials. The plan wa
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No Nails Required

I was helping out at the Millvale Community Library last school through our Mobile MAKESHOP initiative. During one of my “Maker Thursdays” I was introduced to a really simple woodworking project by two boys who regularly visited the library. They called the game “penny hockey” and explained that they had built the game during their Tech-Ed class at school. The board is comprised of two holes a
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How To Make a Circuit Block: Binder Clip Toggle Switch

In my previous blog post on making circuit blocks I showed you how to construct a power source block and a light block. Another integral part of exploring circuitry is exploring switches. A switch can be used to turn components on or off, and in some cases cause other changes to your component. In this post I will show you the steps on how to create a simple toggle switch using some simple tools and materials. First
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How to Make a Circuit Block

Circuit Blocks exist in many different forms throughout museums around the world.  A circuit block is a set of components, switches and power sources that can be tethered together to allow people to explore electricity in a safe and easy manner.  We have been building and facilitating circuit exploration for the past several years at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.  Circuit Blocks have become a staple acti
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Soft Circuit Blocks

A few months ago I was introduced by my colleagues in MAKESHOP to the idea of using conductive thread to sew a circuit.  The concept is simple; instead of using electrical wires to connect your components and power sources you use a conductive type of thread.  This allows you to attach your electrical components to fabric.  This is a new way of exploring and understanding circuitry.  A sewn or soft circuit may, in so
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