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Kids work on a post-it note based board game design

Game Design Workshop

On March 15th, as part of the 4th annual National STEM Video Game Challenge (presented by the Smithsonian in partnership with The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media), 16 kids showed up in the museum theater to spend a few hours learning about game design. Beginning with some discussion and sharing about what makes a good designer and what games everybody enjoys, participants then went through
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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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A blank ScratchJr screen

Hello, ScratchJr!

We’ve been using Scratch to create animations, games, and art in the MAKESHOP for a while. Scratch is a programming language that teaches kids how to develop things that can be played with and looked at on a computer, and we love to use Scratch to make interactive pieces around MAKESHOP. Scratch can be a little tricky to understand, and until recently, older kids (8 to 16 years old) were usually better at makin
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If Something Breaks…

Sometimes things break at our Museum. This particular case involved a computer with a broken power cord. This computer was designed to specifically run our Digital Dream Lab programming blocks station. Without this computer it meant that could not have the programming blocks out. Instead of just leaving a sign on the machine saying “broken, we are working on fixing this” we decided as a team to build a te
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Youth Maker Nights, Past and Coming Up

Our last Youth Maker Night was a blast.  There were some very dedicated and creative kids in attendance, working on activities ranging from soldering to weaving,  animation to board game making.  And, as always, there was pizza. This is a great experience for kids 10-15 years old to experience MAKESHOP with their peers and work with MAKESHOP Teaching Artists.  Parents are not required to attend Youth Maker Nights. Jo
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A Miniature MAKESHOP

We recently explored scale and perspective as a theme in MAKESHOP.  One of our activities was to create a tiny version of the MAKESHOP exhibit.  I built a small diorama of the room and then let other educators and visitors add to the space.  There are some very recognizable objects in MAKESHOP.  It was a real challenge building tiny, tiny versions of those objects out of random recycled materials. Little red chair wi
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