Month: July 2013


From time to time the ASL at the McPherson branch has a project idea that she wants to share with the kids.  In order to keep from having to many projects going at once which would distract the kids I offer to help out.  It’s important to get and give help where you can, especially when working in under-served regions when it’s common to get no help at all as money is spread so thin and honestly there are a lot of places in this city that need help. Many places depend on unpaid volunteers to piece programs together.  This has been a top of discussion we’ve been having here in Philadelphia when our MCM’s get together due to our uniqueness within the MakerEd program. Okay, I just got myself off topic a bit, but wanted to share a little bit of the way things go.

So the project was to make marionette puppets out of cardboard, string, popsicle sticks, and markers. It was a fun project to have the kids make and there was quite a bit of excitement about making them. A template was made that each kid would trace out onto the cardboard and then cut out first. (As I’ve mentioned previously it is truly astonishing to find so many individuals with no idea how to use scissors. You might be able to use scissors upside-down and backwards to some basic level of success when using regular pieces of Xerox paper, but when cutting cardboard or shapes it’s pretty important that the scissors are held properly in order to not only to ensure cutting evenly, but also safety! Anyway…)

The next step was to place holes in the proper spots on the puppet pieces and string them up.  The hole-punch we had before broke so this was another challenge. Making good sized holes in the cardboard to string yarn through using scissors without ripping the pieces to shreds made me really miss that hole-punch!

The marionette control-armature was made by lashing two popsicle sticks together. Once all the pieces were properly strung up the where they needed to be we connected them to the control-armature. At that point the decorating could truly get underway!

There were quite a few fun designs the kids were coming up with. One of the kids was excitedly making his puppet into his favorite pop singer. He made us guess who he was going to make.  It took a while running down the list of all the different pop singers we all thought it might be. Eventually it simply became a process of elimination. We were running out of pop singers! But finally we guess correctly: Beyonce. And he had her dancing around like crazy when he was all done. Definitely the most enthusiastic of the whole group!

Not all of the puppets turned out quite as had been expected in the beginning, but everyone who tried had a good time and was happy no matter what the results.

The Worst Nightmare by Jazmine

The following is a post by IDAAY gues blogger Jazmine:

Hi my name is Jazmine and today I came up with a movie.   The movie is called the Worst Nightmare, which is a horror film.  This movie is about me and my friends go to see this movie called Smiley after the movie we head home and it becomes real.  The killer is in my house and I go look for my friends but the killer is killing all my friends, one by one.  I wake up and everything just disappeared and I find out nun of it was true.

The actors in my Movie are Me, Myself, Fahiem, Dequan, Leroy and Sharmar.  The people that helped me where Brittany, Mr. Oseby, Mr. Khaleef and that’s it.

My inspiration for writing the was my love of watching horror movies and that made me want to come up with my own horror movie and then if people like it the I would probably make a part 2.

My favorite part about making this movie was that it was fun.  I never made a movie before so its like really fun and hard at some times and I just got to have fun with all my cast and stuff like that.

Testing, Learning, and Failing.

This past week we pushed our Mazes into one last bit of development as we start gearing up for Connected Messages. We tested how well our Squishy Circuit mazes work when kept in boxes over a period of time and found that they can still conduct but it’s not the best medium for long term development. After working on them for a couple days they dry up and the loosely connected play-doh separates.
After troubleshooting with water and MORE PLAY-DOH we went back to our earlier paper circuits with some new copper tape and a more manageable work/play board. This will allow us to start working on some Scratch Scoreboard/Game tests while populating our Connected Messages mural.


Week 1 : Bubbling Lava Lamp

6/11/2013 was my first day at the Widener Branch. There was another program called the “Leap” running at the same time I was supposed to do my activity. I’ve worked with other Leap members but I’m usually helping them with their activities instead of trying to take kids away from their program. So the first 30 minutes since I started… Read more →

Exploring the Green Screen

During this week at IDAAY we explored a Squishy Circuits and the Makey makey.  Everyone really enjoyed playing different computer games with their own hand made controller.  From there we broke out the green screen which is were things really picked up.  We started to play with editing from photos but with the help of everyone at the Hot Spot will soon be moving to videos!