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A Practical Laser Cutter Project

I had the opportunity to use our laser cutter to create something practical for a change. We usually use our laser cutter to experiment with visitors and demonstrate the use of a laser to cut or etch different materials. I was asked to create this project for Tula Organic Salon and Spa. They wanted to laser cut a stencil so that they could paint a bathroom sign for their shop. I suggested that we could use the laser
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Mobile MAKESHOP: Building Circuit Blocks

When I visited the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley for my first site visit there was a day camp at the Museum full of kids from the same school. The kids were used to doing crafts and using materials like glue and tape. I decided to build a bunch of circuit blocks with these kids. I got out most of the woodworking tools along with a lot of the electronics equipment. I told the kids that they were going to
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MAKESHOP MAKEover 3rd Edition: Crafton Elementary

Here is another site for our Mobile MAKESHOP program, Crafton Elementary. We are working with several sites this year to help develop a workshop space or simply introduce the ideas and practices of “making” in different environments. Crafton is a perfect space for one of these Mobile MAKESHOP sites. The school has been experimenting with hands-on learning for a while. The teachers and administration under
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MAKESHOP MAKEover Edition 2: Millvale Community Library

Mobile MAKESHOP is a program that hopes to expand our ideas and teaching practices to outside sites and community partners. One of those partners is the recently opened Millvale Community Library. This space was built from the ground up by the residents of Millvale, a small suburb of Pittsburgh. The library is incredible and is a great community space for the town. The Library is really a gathering space for the yout
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MAKESHOP MAKEover Edition: Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley

Our newest program for MAKESHOP is called Mobile MAKESHOP. We want to know what its like to have a workshop in a different environment. The Museum has partnered with five different sites to implement the ideas of MAKESHOP along with helping to provide tools, materials, furniture and facilitation support. The sites include another museum, a university, a library and two different schools. Each site is very different f
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The Importance of Prompts

MAKESHOP is not just for kids, adults are allowed to have fun too.  Every year the Museum hosts an event for the Katz School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.  There has always been some kind of building challenge during this event.  This year we prompted the groups to build bridges out of recycled materials.  The bridges did not have to hold a certain weight or be a certain length.  Instead, they were mea
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