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

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: A MakerEd Pathway Into Computer Science

This year, I invested more time than ever to developing a pathway into coding for my most reluctant learners.  I also researched extensions for the handful of young people who can really stretch my teaching capacity inside the STEAMworks Makerspaces.  Many of my students begin their coding journey with small, concept-oriented courses and explorations, such as those found at Code.org and other sites.  I then move to visual programming languages (Scratch and Mindstorms) and finally, end up with flexible, high-level languages such as Python and JavaScript.  Let’s take a closer look after the jump.

screenshot of code.org via http://www.robirving.com

 

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Tool Primer: How to Select and Use a Router

The router can do an incredible number of tasks: cut grooves and dados, used with guides to make parts, do complex or simple joinery and create edge treatments for wood.  The router can be mounted on a bench or table top or it can be manipulated by hand.  The router is the single most versatile tool in the woodworker’s power tool box.

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