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Field Trip: Avonworth Elementary

Recently our Maker Corps Members and I visited Avonworth Elementary to hang out with some second and third graders and their teachers.  We presented them with a design challenge.  We put the kids into four groups and challenged them with the task of creating a structure out of recycled materials and tape that could support a certain amount of weight. Our weights spanned from one pound (a can of bolts) to two hundred
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Field Trip: CC Mellor Memorial Library

This summer my fellow Teaching Artists and I will be visiting schools and libraries all around Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas to conduct workshops, help teachers and generally having fun.  I have decided to document all of my adventures here on the blog. My first trip was to the lovely CC Mellor Memorial Library in Edgewood.  I teach afterschool classes near this library, but I never have had a chance to visit.
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Design and prototype

Sometimes, we can find some really cool stuff in the Museum’s basement. Our basement serves as one of the exhibit workshops, so many of the materials were at one point used for prototyping or repairing exhibits. For example, this acrylic dome. It was originally used as a prototype for our newly renovated Waterplay exhibit.  Now, it is being used to develop a new magnet activity in MAKESHOP. You can’t move
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Another Gear Idea

Derek, a new employee at the Museum and a local teacher in Pittsburgh, presented a great idea to me a couple of days ago.  He wants to make a mechanical version of our circuit blocks.  He thinks that it is important to utilize various types of gears to create blocks that visitors can connect together to further explore mechanization.  To explain this concept only in words is very confusing. A couple of Sundays ago, D
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Dream Flight Adventures

MAKESHOP was recently transformed into an interactive spaceship.  Gary Gardner and his Dream Flight Adventures prototype returned to MAKESHOP for another day of playtesting with our visitors.  He has already playtested his program at the Museum and a post describing that visit can be found here.  He brought with him a newer version of the flight simulator software that he is currently developing for the Shaler School
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Typeface Design Drop-in Workshop

This was originally posted without the link to the font! Oops! Here’s the updated post! On two different recent Saturday afternoons we invited visitors to help us create a typeface — or nice looking collection of letters, numbers and symbols, like a comma or question mark — that we are going to turn into a font, or tool we can use to write with this typeface on a computer. Each visitor who participa
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