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Teenagers and Shopbots

The Museum sees a lot of visitors every week.  Most of them are under five years old, but every week during the school year, a group of 6-8th grade students visit the Museum for our after-school program, YouthALIVE! These students visit MAKESHOP about once a month. We try to give them design challenges to help them to be creative and persistent.  A few weeks ago, we decided to introduce them to circuits and then give
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A family’s prototype

Here is a quick story about an amazing pair of makers that spent an entire Saturday working on a single idea, which was “What can you do with a mousetrap?” When I joined this father and son team, they were already under production with their creation: a mousetrap car.  Apparently the dad saw that we had a couple of mousetraps in a jar on a shelf and his son remembered something that he saw that involved a
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Kai’s Invention

Kai is a regular visitor of the Museum.  He is the kind of visitor who really enjoys tinkering with anything and everything.  On this particular day, we were experimenting with making light-up cards using copper tape and LEDs.  Kai was very interested in exploring what could be done with the copper tape and a piece of paper.  He already had some knowledge of circuitry, so he was able to understand the idea of connect
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Inside the Sewing Machine

Over the winter holidays, we did a lot of take-apart here at the museum. Tons of old audio equipment, toys, printers… and a sewing machine! I had a great team of four kids helping me get that stubborn front off. It really didn’t want to go! We recently replaced this machine with a newer one, and thought we’d keep the old one around to help explain what’s happening on the inside. You can move y
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Glowing Bots!

Every month we have a theme that helps us to decide on new activities for MAKESHOP.  We spent the month of December making projects and exploring materials that GLOW.  We had glow-in-the-dark fabric, UV LEDs, lots of holiday lights, light painting, and some glow-in-the-dark paint.  I had the brilliant idea to combine some of the GLOW activities with a ShopBot (what we call basically anything with a motor attached to
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Aircraft Carrier

Joseph was a really fun kid to meet.  He was one of those visitors who seemed to fit right in at MAKESHOP.  He didn’t know exactly what he wanted to create, but he came to a decision after he spent some time tinkering and exploring the materials.  He first tinkered around with lighting up small LEDs with batteries.  He eventually created a really cool switch using a single paper clip.  After he was done explori
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