The Home Makerspace: The Museum Display (Dioramas To Win the Science Fair)

Here’s a cool project that takes an old standby, the diorama, and adds a little Maker flair to it.  The diorama incorporates a MakeyMakey, laptop and Scratch programming environments to turn a stand alone display into something interactive and easily modified.  I developed this project for my school’s eSTEAM Fair (environmental, science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics).  It was a huge hit with parents and kids alike.

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This summer I repeated the project with pretty cool results with my two sons.  Let me take you along for the ride!

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This Week in the Classroom: DIY Wood Covered Lab Notebooks

This fall, I opened the classroom with a very simple (sort-of) multi-media project for my students.  Last year, I piloted a number of different end-of-project reflection formats (long form, short form, written and typed) as well as online and offline versions.  I lacked a reasonable and effective in-process journaling format.  This year, I wanted to combine the paper lab report/maker journaling process with the final reflections.  So my students and I made custom lab notebooks. These notebooks are made with the following materials:   Materials: 1/4” Plywood Letter-sized paper with a combination of reflections, graph paper, etc. 2” wide strips … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: DIY Wood Covered Lab Notebooks

This Week in the Classroom: 3D Printed Pinhole Camera

Last spring, I had the opportunity to teach one of my dream units:  Light and Waves.  We completed three projects during this time: camera obsuras, cajon drums and a pinhole camera. This 3D-printed pinhole camera combines three centuries worth of … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: 3D Printed Pinhole Camera

This Week in the Classroom: Cajón Drums

Cajón drums are wood drums native to South America with deeper roots in the Africa.  The cajon is a wood rectangular prism, with two thin faces.  One of the thin sides, usually the back, has a large hole to allow sound to travel out.  The front face can be struck with the hand, mallets or brushes to create different sounds. Construction couldn’t be simpler.  Cut out four sides of a box using whatever means you have from a sheet of plywood.  I use a table saw now, but my students and I have used jig saws with guides, circular saws … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Cajón Drums

Making A Makerspace: Top 10 Tools in a Maker’s Classroom (2012)

This year was a big year in the STEaMworks (STEM focus, art driven, work/project centered: the STEaMworks), my self-styled Maker classroom.  We (and the Math/Sci Team) built a lot of projects: rockets, rocket cars, derby cars, catapults, simple robots, box-making, bench-making, bridge-building, sail-testing, music making, spirographs, pendulums, 3D prototyping, CAD models, Arduino projects, Alice computer programming, Art Cars, shed construction, a digital STEM Fair and more.  I’ve just typed that up and still can’t believe it!  Nine months and so much sweat, math, science, art and tears.  How did we (my co-workers and rock-solid team, my students and my very … Continue reading Making A Makerspace: Top 10 Tools in a Maker’s Classroom (2012)

This Week in the Classroom: The 2×4 Shaving Horse

In preparation for a walkin’ cane project, I built a dirty looking 2×4 shaving horse.  It ain’t named Trigger, though I might name it Jimmy Stewart.  Whenever I think of the description “long face”, I think of Jimmy Stewart.

I’ll walk you through my build after the jump…

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This Week In the Classroom: Quadracycle In Progress & DIY Wood Bongo Drums

It’s that time of week again – I’ve had some personal living arrangements wetness and have been living out of a dufflebag and a smile.  Reminds me of college, but at that time I didn’t have two in diapers… At … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Quadracycle In Progress & DIY Wood Bongo Drums

This Week In the Classroom: New Tools and Old Tools In the Shop (It’s Not What You Think)

Just got the best new, free tool in the woodshop today.  It looks like this: It’s a printed out (thank god the paper-waster nazi wasn’t around) version of the ENTIRE trilogy of Mission Furniture and How to Make It published by Project Gutenberg via Popular Mechanics from 1910.  The students flip through it and find examples of furniture they like.  Mission furniture has a good chance of becoming my “house” style.  It’s a book of dreams, I tell you. This is a photo of our lumber processing center mid-process.  We bring in old lumber, this case a pallet, and set … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: New Tools and Old Tools In the Shop (It’s Not What You Think)

This Week In the Classroom: Progress in 2011

What a  student-driven,  project-based learning  can result in: The joints look remarkably tight in this photo, and the stain quite even, but don’t be fooled.  This is about as rough as work gets.  (Not including the Clock, which may be finished and rejected this week…)   It was the first attempt at an entire project like this by the student.  He cut the wood from the original 1×11, sanded the parts to his specifications, measured and attached the handle without major intervention by the teacher.  Pretty darn good for a nine-year old. Here’s the first piece of “indoor quality”, or rather, … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Progress in 2011