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MAKESHOP + Penny Arcade: An Improvisational Collaboration

im·pro·vise verb : to speak or perform without preparation : to make or create (something) by using whatever is available (Merriam-Webster) Here at MAKESHOP, we make things up every day. Often, we create cool things without a lot of planning, and we limit ourselves to the resources around us (which is why we do so many projects with old fabric and toilet paper rolls). Doing things this way lets us try lots of differe
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Turning Problems Into Solutions: Frick Environmental Charter School Collaboration

Have you ever wanted to make something work better? The first graders at Frick Environmental Charter School did; from December to February, they identified problems in their classrooms and worked to invent solutions for those problems. MAKESHOP Teaching Artists worked with the first graders throughout their process via FaceTime chats, in-class sessions, and a field trip that brought the students into our workshop. In
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Ramps!

Every once and a while we decide to totally transform MAKESHOP to meet the needs of a specific activity. For the past couple of months we had been brainstorming some way to play around with ramps and “Rube Goldberg Machines” in our space. Around the end of December we were given a donation of hundreds of cardboard tubes. We took this as a sign that we should come up with some kind of ramp activity soon. O
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Making a Collaborative Quilt

Over the last couple weeks, MAKESHOP began a quilting project. Everyone was invited to create a 5×5 inch square to add to our collaborative quilt. It has been a fun opportunity to learn all kinds of sewing techniques: from learning to thread a needle to operating a sewing machine. The response has been amazing; it looks like it’s going to be a big quilt! There are so many different ways to embellish each square
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Physics in Motion

A couple of weeks ago we let our visitors explore ramps on a very large scale. We cleared out a large space in MAKESHOP and let adults and kids explore with cardboard tubes, tape and ping pong balls. Photos don’t really do this activity justice. Below are several videos highlighting some of the more interesting creations during our ramp experiment. This was a ramp that I assembled with the help of several kids.
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Maker Meet Up

MAKESHOP is an exhibit at the Museum.  It is primarily a space for visitors to use.  But it is used for other things too.  The space is often used as a meeting place for educators and community leaders here in Pittsburgh. These meetings are a great way for people from various schools and organizations to share ideas and plan for the future.  Topics range from creative curriculum creation to teacher professional devel
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