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Inspiration

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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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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What Are Your Favorite Books That Inspire Making?

I love to read. Before I could read by myself, my mom read stories to me a lot. Some stories were my favorite because of the pictures, while others were my favorite because they let me imagine things I had never seen or heard before, and I liked using my imagination. Books can be good tools to give people good ideas. Since we’re always looking for good ideas in MAKESHOP, we started doing a Maker Story Time. My
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Skill Thrill: Multiple LEDs

I know, I know.  If there was a making version of Portlandia (MAKElandia?) it would include a skit called ‘Put an LED on it!’ because what better way make it jazzy than to make it light up?  I get the allure – building a circuit that works is fun and satisfying, and there is a certain swagger that comes with the control of turning components on and off at your whim.  So putting LEDs on projects is a
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Why Make? To Inspire Creative Learners

It’s now the beginning of September and most schools are back in session. In honor of the new school year, I wanted to start sharing some videos we shot last summer with Pittsburgh-area educators. What does it mean to be a maker? Why make in schools? Why make at all? In this first short video, a middle school teacher, university professor, community educator and curriculum coordinator each present some of the c
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