Most of the time on this blog and @woodshopcowboy or WoodshopCowboy on Facebook, I showcase student-centered projects and articles. Sometimes I make projects for my own enjoyment and personal needs in my own personal makerspace/workshop. Here’s a peek behind the curtain. Continue reading Making a Makerspace: Shop Tour 2015
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
Over at TX/RX Labs, I have two new Woodworking classes in the works. Build a Box – Great Makers need great tools. Great tools need great storage. Treat your tools right by learning to build a Japanese style toolbox in this class. Students will learn basic techniques for the table saw and miter saw, as well as learn how to apply an oil-based finish. Woodworking: Intro to Handheld Power Tools Don’t have a lot of space for woodworking? No “real” workshop? Don’t know where to start? No problem! Using only basic power tools (circular saw, router, jigsaw and power drill) … Continue reading Community Watch: New Woodworking Class at TX/RX Labs!
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
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
The camera obscura is a old, old project which illuminates the nature of light. Students can discover some major scientific principles: light travels in straight lines, transparent surfaces allow light to travel through while translucent surfaces let some light through, the principles behind photography, scale, proportion and a whole host of other things.
Essentially, a camera obscura is a black box with a very small hole piercing one wall. This hole allows a small amount of light to enter the box.
Now here’s where it gets funky. We need to know two rules about light to understand what happens next. First, light travels in a straight line. Second, light reflects off all objects – it’s the reflected light which our eyes process into visual images. So what happens if light is made to travel through a extremely small space?
Picture frames make fantastic skill building projects. You can practice joinery and create precision jigs. Frames reward practice and good finishes. They can be made from cheap materials and scraps – meaning they are easy on the pocketbook. All in all, the perfect project to start with.
With one exception. Miter joints – that is, two 45° angles meeting and forming an exact 90° corner….umm, that’s hard. Very hard. So how can you make a simple picture frame with simple joinery that looks great? Over the years, I’ve developed three semi-surefire picture frame designs that are simple to make and look great. Next time you want to frame that special moment, try the next three picture frames: The Salvaged Shutter, The Dead Simple Frame and the Schoolhouse Frame.
Do you want to get into Making and Maker Ed? Don’t know where to start? Don’t have a makerspace? No problem! Here’s five ideas, classroom tested, which can be built using a minimum of tools for students in the K – 8 grade scale.
Are you interested in Maker Ed, PBL and Makerspaces? Check out my FREE webinar on PBL and Making and continue the conversation. I discuss how to move from standards to projects to completed curriculum units.
At some point, you have to cut that board in half. Learn to do it right in today’s Tool Primer: The Power Miter Saw.