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Pop-Pop Boats

Pop-pop boats, so named for the popping sound they make as they travel, are a great way to experiment with a steam powered contraption at home. These toy boats have been made by children around the world for over a hundred years — starting back when steam powered real oceangoing ships. Many plans and how-to videos exist on the internet, but here are a few which move from simple to complex. These involve cutting
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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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DIY RPG (an original MAKESHOP strategy game)

At our last Youth Maker Night we gave the kids the opportunity to create their own board game using pieces and parts from existing games (chess pieces, dice, paper money, etc.). One boy in particular decided to take this activity to a whole other level.  He developed a role playing strategy game using chess pieces and postit notes.  The materials were simple.  The instructions were not. We spent roughly 20 minutes go
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How-To: Origami Garrison Cap

Recently at MAKESHOP we’ve been wearing a lot of hats… Literally! A lot of them were pretty heavy on precision cutting and sewing, but I figured out how to make an awesome garrison cap with only a few materials.   Supplies: An iron Spray starch A bandanna-sized handkerchief (depending on the size of your head and intended size of hat, a smaller handkerchief might work better.)   Directions: Firs
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Maker Faire 2013

  The third Pittsburgh Mini-Maker Faire was held in September here at the Museum, presented with HackPGH.  As always, it was a lot of fun.  I spent most of my time in MAKESHOP drawing with robots and teaching people how to solder.  But I did get a chance to see all of the fun inventions and ideas that the makers were presenting. There was a really neat frisbee throwing robot that always had willing participants to ca
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Making a Board Game

  How do you make a board game?   All you really need is a table, pencils, a stack of paper and your imagination.  A couple of weeks ago we allowed visitors to play and add to a simple board game that we started.  The end result was amazing…And really challenging. Most of the rules forced you to do some sort of physical challenge… …Or made you go back to start. The open-ended nature of the
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