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SparkTruck Pit Stop

We had some amazing guests visit the Museum from Stanford University in sunny California.  Jason, Didi and Eugene have spent the summer traveling across the United States in a mobile workshop dubbed the SparkTruck.  Check it out! Along the way, they have been stopping at museums, community centers, events, and parks… Anywhere they can find.  Their truck is full of various gadgets, materials and tools.  The most
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Circuit Experiments

[slideshow] We have been working on some new circuit block prototypes lately. Christian is working on a motorized generator that is constructed out of an old bike. Nick built a really cool circuit puzzle using conductive tape. These projects have really got us thinking about the future possibilities of our circuit blocks. I attempted to build a matching game that utilized circuits… still working on that. I did,
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Playing with Gears

I was asked by a fellow teacher to create something that facilitates the exploration of gears.  Gears can be tricky for children to understand, so I thought it was a great challenge! After an extremely informal brainstorming session with Christian, I came up with this activity.  I have to thank Christian for passing by during the day and suggesting that I use tacks and foam.  The gears were donated by someone, the fo
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Renaissance Faire Field Trip

The day after Pittsburgh’s Mini Maker Faire I decided to take a trip to Pittsburgh’s Renaissance Faire…What a weekend! The DIY spirit was in full force at the Ren Faire.  Vendors were selling all kinds of wares, from handmade armor to beautiful ceramics.  Much like the Maker Faire, the Ren Faire was filled with people having a good time.  I would say that it was like “stepping back in time,
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A Musical Field Trip

More exploration of sound and music in the month of August… I recently took a trip to the Bayernhof Museum outside of Pittsburgh. The Museum is located in a lovely old mansion and houses a eclectic collection of various musical machines and devices. Many of them dated as far back as the 1800s. I was given an amazing tour and there was something to see around every corner. There were even secret passages! The Ba
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MakerBot in MAKESHOP

We have a new toy in MAKESHOP — a MakerBot Replicator 3D printer! It’s on loan to us from the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University, and we finally broke it out to play with it! Calling this machine a “printer” isn’t entirely accurate: this isn’t a printer like the one on the corner of your desk or even like the fancy-schmancy ones at the copy shop. This is
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