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Making MAKESHOP Work

Bombs away!

These days in Pittsburgh, I find myself sitting around waiting for signs of spring.  Until last weekend. I found the perfect remedy to beat the wintertime blues… BATH BOMBS!  What better way to treat yourself than soaking up warmth in a bath tub or hot tub, knowing you made your very own bath fizzy. The ingredients and directions are quite simple, making these a fun Valentine’s Day treat for someone who m
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Circuit block progression

I recently noticed that I have greatly changed my facilitation methods for circuit blocks. When I first started at MAKESHOP, I ran circuit blocks like a demonstration. I’d show kids how each of the various types of components worked, and then ask if they wanted to play with any of them. This didn’t last long as a style, because a good number of kids would be bored by the end of the experience, or intimidated by the n
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Re-purposing Old Parts

I decided to drastically change the xylophone that I built for MAKESHOP.  While prototyping some ideas with a group of preschool students, some teachers and I noticed that they really enjoy filling up containers and dumping them out.  They also really like to put things through holes and fit different size pieces together.  I was unofficially commissioned to create a simple prototype that would allow our youngest vis
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Planning

The Museum can be a very busy place around the holidays.  We generally try to have themed or special programming for our visitors to enjoy.  The weekend after Thanksgiving, we decided to let the visitors build forts in MAKESHOP. The picture above is a good example of how we typically get ready for a weekend full of special programming in MAKESHOP.  It always helps to draw out some kind of floor plan for the space.  P
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Looming Danger

Sure, we’ve made some beautiful things here, but not every weaving experiment goes well.  Sometimes… well, sometimes this happens. If our strings aren’t strong enough, they’re liable to break, shred or be otherwise completely messed up. Here are some other problems, surprises, and discoveries: DENSITY Sometimes you can really tell who was doing the weaving! Every visitor who works on the loom
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Weaving Experiments Ahead

Weaving is a repetitive process, and we do a lot of it, but we love it and want to keep it fresh and interesting. So every time we start a new project, we start a new experiment! Sometimes it’s special colors, an unusual pattern, or turning it into something exciting.    Our two most recent experiments are two of my all-time favorites. This one is so bright and cheerful, just perfect for winter! And look closel
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