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Chain Reaction Machine

A couple of Saturdays ago we experimented with chain reactions in the workshop in MAKSEHOP. Dan, one of our MAKESHOP Educators, and I  spent the entire day building and adding to our chain reaction machine with any visitor who wanted to participate. We built our machine out of recycled materials, tape and some of our circuit blocks. Essentially our chain reaction machine was a series of ramps and ball that either kno
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Allen’s Birds

Most visitors who come into MAKESHOP spend most of their time exploring and tinkering with the materials. But there are is a group of return visitors who always seem to come in with a plan already in mind. Allen is one of those visitors. This visit he wanted to make a bird. Typically the first step with Allen is find the right materials to create his idea. He usually tends to use tape and recycled materials. He is at
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Perfect Pentagons

Check out these neat stuffed balls. They are made of twelve pentagons, and for the ball to turn out nice and round, these pentagons should be exactly the same. Using a template will produce the same shape each time, but the template should be a perfect pentagon. Perfect, in this case, means more than doing an awesome job, it means that all the sides are the same length, and the angles where sides meet are also the sa
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A blank ScratchJr screen

Hello, ScratchJr!

We’ve been using Scratch to create animations, games, and art in the MAKESHOP for a while. Scratch is a programming language that teaches kids how to develop things that can be played with and looked at on a computer, and we love to use Scratch to make interactive pieces around MAKESHOP. Scratch can be a little tricky to understand, and until recently, older kids (8 to 16 years old) were usually better at makin
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Allen’s Monorail

Another sewing story from the week involves my friend Allen (four years old) and his mom, two very regular visitors to the Museum. I have known Allen’s family since before he was born. He seems to have inherited his older brothers sense for planning. He comes in every week (sometimes twice a week) with his mom after preschool and he always has a plan for what he wants to make or explore. This week he wanted to build
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C.H.I.C.K.E.N.

What do you say when someone says that they want to make an egg-laying robotic chicken? In MAKESHOP we would typically answer that question by first searching through our recycled materials to find just the right thing to make a chicken. Apparently an empty milk carton makes a great chicken shape. The plastic eggs were from a donation of materials brought in by a regular visitor to the Museum. If I had to guess I wou
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