This Week in the Shop, I build a library book nook for my school. My school librarian came to me with her coffee bar theme for a renovated library and she wanted a circular book nook to take advantage of a certain space in the library. This book nook had to incorporate a column and reclaimed table top, be made under budget (roughly $500), have a professional look, design and materials. I looked at her requirements, looked at the space and said…yeah….I can do that. Follow along as I show you how! Installing a Laminate Countertop My toughest challenge was … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: The Library Book Nook
This week, we took to the skies with a two simple mobiles.
Mobiles are kinetic sculptures which rely on and play with the scientific concept of equilibrium and center of gravity. The pieces often spin and flutter with the breeze, presenting a constantly shifting face and focus to the observer. Some mobiles are motorized, such as the spinning toys hung over a baby’s crib.
Here are two very quick and easy ways to make spinning mobiles in your own home.
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.
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
Earlier in the year, the great folks at Canyon Mesquite donated a number of spalted red oak boards to make furniture out of. It took a while, but we finally made some great use of them. Finished with Howard’s Feed-N-Wax. … Continue reading This Week in The Classroom: The Simple Coffee Table in Spalted Red Oak
When I look at the popularity of CO2 rocket cars in STEM programs, its ubiquity and age hide a lot of potential for makers and project-based learning opportunities. The biggest drawback, as I see it, is the high cost of entry. Launching systems cost somewhere in the hundreds of dollars, tracks take up teaching space (60 linear feet for a good one) and wind-tunnels impress upon me the fine line between awesome and inappropriate. At a basic investment of $1000 to $3000 from the big companies. We still haven’t covered the cost of a classroom pack of car building supplies.
Betcha I can do it for less. What’s a makerspace for, if not developing your own infrastructure?
In order to incorporate CO2 racers into your Maker curriculum, you need three things: cars & parts, the launcher & track space. I’ll tell you how I made mine after the jump.
This fall, I move into a brand-spanking new classroom. As part of this move, I’ve been heavily involved in the planning, organizing and logistics of moving my school’s Math & Science program into our new digs. In the words of a close colleague of mine, what a great problem to have! Long term readers of this blog have probably noticed a distinct drop off in posts over the past year – well, this massive move has been the main focus of my long-term planning and energy, leaving little left over for blogging or new projects.
That’s about to change. This is the first of a series of posts on how I’m transforming an empty 20′ x 20′ room into a Makerspace. I will be posting progress reports throughout the Fall 2013 semester, so keep checking back. This post will focus on planning out the Makerspace, which I’ve named the STEAMworks. Continue reading “Making a Makerspace: Planning the Steamworks”
To end the year, my students have been making simple marking gauges. My students learned to create a mortise and use hand planes to fit a tenon in this particular project. Here’s how we did it. 1. Cut a 1″ or 3/4″ square oak strip into 8″ lengths. 2. Cut a 2″ length from a maple strip about 2″ wide, giving you a 2″ x 2″ square. 3. Use the oak strip to mark your mortise in the center of the maple square. We did this by marking two diagonals across the maple square and then eye-balling the center. Mark the square … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: A Simple Pin Marking Gauge
Of the three or so classes I’ve taught at TX/RX Labs and the twenty to thirty projects I’ve taught at work, the simple bench project remains my favorite. It is an intermediate level project which can be reached by absolute beginners, it’s cheap to build (approximately $15 w/ finish) and it lends itself to multiple machines (tablesaw, bandsaw, drill press) and hand tools. I present the latest and greatest class yet: Special thanks to Pratt for building extra supports for himself and everyone else, shout out to Sean for the intense questions, my teaching assistants, and everyone else in the … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Bench Is Complete!
Are you in the Houston area? Ever wanted to get started woodworking? Maybe you just enjoy benches as much as I do? Join me for the Wood Workshop at TX/RX Labs on Sat. & Sun. May 25th & 26th (5/25 & 5/26) from 9am-5pm. The Finished Bench I will be walking you through how to build the simple bench project, start to finish. As TX/RX so elegantly put it: Build a simple bench using both hand tools and power tools. A perfect intro to woodworking, we will cover basic tool usage both hand and power along with learning the basics of … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Bench this Memorial Day Weekend!