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Unfinished Projects

Recently Paul, a former educator at the Museum, came back to visit for a day. Paul moved to Boston right before MAKESHOP officially opened. He was around for the prototyping of MAKESHOP and was pivotal in its inception several years ago. At some point during his time at the Museum Paul started working on a DIY guitar. While he was visiting with me a couple of weeks ago the two of us discovered the guitar in our basem
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How to control the game?

I was given the opportunity to work with an after school class at the Environmental Charter School in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago. The teachers wanted the kids to explore circuits and prototyping along with something digital. A great way to explore all of those things at once is to create a physical circuit that lets you interact with a digital computer program. We use a tool called a MaKey MaKey to allow the st
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How To Make a Circuit Block: Binder Clip Toggle Switch

In my previous blog post on making circuit blocks I showed you how to construct a power source block and a light block. Another integral part of exploring circuitry is exploring switches. A switch can be used to turn components on or off, and in some cases cause other changes to your component. In this post I will show you the steps on how to create a simple toggle switch using some simple tools and materials. First
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How to Make a Circuit Block

Circuit Blocks exist in many different forms throughout museums around the world.  A circuit block is a set of components, switches and power sources that can be tethered together to allow people to explore electricity in a safe and easy manner.  We have been building and facilitating circuit exploration for the past several years at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.  Circuit Blocks have become a staple acti
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Camp MAKESHOP: Electronics

My day was dedicated to the exploration of electricity.  In the morning the kids got the chance to play with some of our existing circuit blocks.  We then gave the kids the chance to take apart a couple of old, broken electronic toys.  They had a blast during this activity.  We found a bunch of working switches and components (mainly speakers).   The kids and I then spent the remainder of the day constructing new cir
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Chain Reaction Machine

A couple of Saturdays ago we experimented with chain reactions in the workshop in MAKSEHOP. Dan, one of our MAKESHOP Educators, and I  spent the entire day building and adding to our chain reaction machine with any visitor who wanted to participate. We built our machine out of recycled materials, tape and some of our circuit blocks. Essentially our chain reaction machine was a series of ramps and ball that either kno
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