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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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A MAKESHOP Art Show

Our Teaching Artists and one of our interns recently had the chance to display some original MAKESHOP creations in an art show at Tula Organic Salon and Spa here in Pittsburgh. The Salon hosts a different artist every month and allows them to display their artwork throughout the space.  The MAKEHOP Art Show included a light-up jacket created by Christian as a Halloween costume/night light. Some DIY guitars (one was m
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Making a Magnet Wall

What can you do with a thousand flat refrigerator magnets?  That was the question I had when we received a donation of old magnets.  They were part of an advertising campaign from 2005 for a local theme park.  Sometimes it simply the shear number of a certain material that helps us develop an activity in MAKESHOP. I thought it would be cool to make patterns or pixel drawings using the magnets on one of our metal pegb
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