Every winter, millions of families prepare for serious bonding time at kitchen tables, in garages and in workshops across the country. We enter with dreams of speed, beauty and glory. With a little luck and skill, we leave with pride, joy and a completed Pinewood Derby Car.
This guide will show you how to support and help your young maker design, make and race their derby car.
TinkerLab: A Hands on Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley is a beautifully photographed and curated set of experiments for the toddler to 2nd grade set. While her main focus is art prompts and experiments, she has sections on construction, Maker explorations, take apart sessions, chemistry, and more. Rachelle’s book has given me tons of inspiration and insight into the playful mind of very young children. She walks through the process for setting up an art space, with tool & material recommendations. She also spends a lot of time and space discussing the teaching philosophy behind arts education and why its important. Her habits of mind and interviews with experts are fantastic distillations of the Maker ethos.
This week in my home shop I finished up a new bench project I developed for class at Nova Labs in Reston, VA. While simple in design and execution, it does involve a full suite of woodworking tools and a a custom jig to complete. This great intermediate project uses the Fab Five of a powered woodshop: table saw, band saw, miter saw, jointer and planer.
Sometimes, a teacher needs to court a little controversy. This week, Things 1 & 2 & I build a device which was banned in New York City from the 1940s until 1976, and… Continue reading
I use Japanese-style saws exclusively in my classroom and home shop because I have young makers. I love the quick bite and accuracy of a pull stroke, the low cost and high quality,… Continue reading
Loudoun County Public Library system was recently rated one of the top libraries in America. It boasts a lot of services and a great collection. I like its makerspace, the Mill Studio at… Continue reading
3 Saws and a Miter Box. A beginning woodworker needs enough equipment to make only two types of cuts; the cross cut and curve. For cross cuts, I suggest a Japanese-style “pistol grip” carpenter’s… Continue reading
Bench hooks are portable work surfaces used to make basic woodworking tasks, such as crosscutting boards and drilling holes, easier to perform. As a bonus, they help protect the surface of your woodworking… Continue reading
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.
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.