Home #Makerspace: Halloween Pumpkin String Lights #3DPrinting #makered Project

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Here’s a great “getting started” 3D printing project for young #MakerEd students.  It combines rudimentary circuit knowledge, gross motor skills and safe tool use.  It costs about $5 to make (excluding the cost of a 3D printer) and can be modified to fit any holiday, not just Halloween.

These pumpkin string lights are appropriate for young makers K and up.  While this version uses glue guns, safety conscious adults can use blue tack or sticky wax instead.

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Home #Makerspace: Simple Kid’s Game Boards for Young Makers #Woodworking

This week, we made a quick foldable checkerboard inspired by my youngest child’s love of the game. This basic folding design can expanded and modified to play any board game. Just let your imagination run wild!

This project incorporates measuring, marking boards square, using a hand drill and hand saw, and an all natural, no-fuss stain (although it is stinky!). Super quick, super cheap and super easy for young makers between K – 3rd grade. Continue reading Home #Makerspace: Simple Kid’s Game Boards for Young Makers #Woodworking

Home #Makerspace: Making Geometric Nets with Vinyl Cutter

In this project, young makers use a vinyl cutter to cut and score geometric nets, connecting 2D shapes to 3D prisms, polyhedrons, etc.  They learn to recognize the difference between two and three-dimensions, while also seeing a relationship between the two.  Lastly, this is a great opportunity for fine motor skill practice.  The plastic requires superglue to connect, but paper nets can be assembled with hot glue or glue sticks.

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Home #Makerspace: Miter Boxes for #Woodworking #Makered

Sometimes, young (and old…) woodworkers can use a little help sawing a board accurately, especially if the board must have a specific angle or length.  A miter box helps a woodworker saw a 90 or 45 degree angle into a piece of wood.  They are cheap to make, easy to modify and cut accurately.

Miter boxes are channels with slots cut into them.  The slots guide the hand saw blade for accuracy and precision.  The sides allow the user to clamp down the miter box and work pieces to the table or work bench, which greatly increases safety.

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To use a miter saw, place your work piece in the channel, with your cut line against the kerf of the wood.  Use a clamp to clamp the work piece and miter box to the table, as shown.  Then place the saw in the cutting slot and saw away!

Take the jump to build your own.

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Home #Makerspace: The Bread Box Project #woodworking #makerEd

This quick project makes a great starter box for grown woodworkers, but it especially shines as an approachable young person skill builder.  This slick box teaches three major skills: measurement, accuracy in manufacture of parts and joinery.  A teacher or parent can use this simple project to differentiate between beginning, intermediate and expert woodworkers by adding complexity in the appropriate areas. 

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The following instructions describe how to build this project with pre-k to 2nd or 3rd graders.  The adult preps the wood, while the student assembles the pieces, learning to use a hammer, nail set, hand drill and hand plane.  Older students can measure and cut their own wood using appropriate tools.

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Home #Makerspace: Natural Material Sculptures & Glue Gun Safety

Rachelle Dooley of TinkerLab is one of my go-to arts blogs and one of my favorite small-person maker-educators.  She has a fantastic book, Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors, and blog, TinkerLab.  She recently posted a skill building tutorial for glue guns in small hands.  Check it out here.

My boys and I took her idea and moved it over into the “Dad” realm.  We used natural materials, stone, sticks, bark, and some scraps from a recent rocking chair repair to create some “rock gardens”.

According to my sons, dragons eat the rocks that grow in rock gardens.  And if dragons derive energy from rocks breaking apart, that means they have somehow created controlled nuclear reactors in their stomachs.  Which is the start of a Hollywood Sci-Fi movie script, and if it’s not, it should be.

After the jump, check out a few tips and safety pointers for glue guns at different developmental levels.

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Home #Makerspace: Two Tools to Teach #CompSci & #Coding to #MakerEd Youngsters

The last five years have seen an explosion in Maker Edu-themed products geared for the younger set.  Young kids make enthusiastic makers.  They love challenging puzzles, approachable crafts and as long as you put flames on it, they think everything you do is amazing!  What’s not to love about teaching the pre-K through 3rd grade set?

Little makers also need encouragement, support and developmentally-appropriate materials to be successful.  Many of us think Makers means 3D printers, microcontrollers and fancy toys.  Young makers will feel left out (though amazed) at all those cool gizmos and flashy parts because the concepts, skills and tools are all too complex.  Instead, we can broaden our definition of making (to include art, crafts, woodworking, cooking and more) while developing technology tools that teach at their level.  Technology tools can empower our children through exploration and discovery. 

Robot Turtles and the BeeBot/BlueBot are two MakerEd platforms you can use to promote foundational computer science concepts and coding skills to the very young learners. 

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Home #Makerspace: Decoupage #makered Treasure Boxes

My sons love treasure boxes.  It doesn’t matter if the boxes are big, small or medium-sized.  Nor do they care to actually keep track of their little treasures or can they be bothered placing stuff in them.  They have far more fun collecting, designing and imagining treasure boxes.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve explored making three types of treasure boxes.  First, a decoupage cigar box using a sealer, a scrap plywood breadbox, and lastly, nets of various prisms, cubes and cones.
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#MakerED Book Review: 3D CAD with Autodesk 123D #makerspace

Update: On Dec. 16th, Autodesk announced they would be shutting down the 123D App family in “early 2017”.  Most apps will become incorporated into their 3 powerhouse apps: Tinkercad, Fusion 360, and ReMake. As I detailed in my most recent … Continue reading #MakerED Book Review: 3D CAD with Autodesk 123D #makerspace