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invention

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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A classroom visit

I recently had the privilege of completing a residency at a kindergarten class at the Environmental Charter School.  The class was exploring simple machines, such as pulleys, gears, inclined planes, wheels and axles, etc.  I was asked to help plan and co-teach with their teacher, Jen.  I always enjoy visiting schools.  Typically, classes come to the Museum to explore and learn, but it’s extra special when when
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A family’s prototype

Here is a quick story about an amazing pair of makers that spent an entire Saturday working on a single idea, which was “What can you do with a mousetrap?” When I joined this father and son team, they were already under production with their creation: a mousetrap car.  Apparently the dad saw that we had a couple of mousetraps in a jar on a shelf and his son remembered something that he saw that involved a
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Andrew’s Shield

Andrew is an interesting visitor. He typically has a plan for exactly what he wants to do or make at the Museum. The really fascinating thing is that his projects typically span the course of several visits to the Museum. He brings his projects back to improve them or build newer versions. He has a real knack for prototyping. This particular project was a Plasma Beam Shield. He worked on it one day and took it home.
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“MAKE”-APART

I really enjoy when visitors add their projects or creations to MAKESHOP. For example, two visitors, Max and Joey, helped build a new component for our Circuit Block Table. They repurposed a wheel from a remote control and the motor from a broken model boat. I showed them how to test the motor with a battery to see if it worked. They decided to mount the motor to a block of wood. Max and Joey added their creation to
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Robot Fabrication

Robots are a common theme here at MAKESHOP. We have robot sculptures overlooking our area. We live in what is ostensibly the robot capital of America. On her last day, one of our summer interns made a robot pillow to remember us by. Robots are, let’s face it, just plain awesome. Unfortunately, they also get repetitive after a while, which is why I’m always excited to see a new twist on the ‘bot buil
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