I’m happy to say that we at McPherson were able to get our Connected Messages mural completed with time to spare (in large part due to the kids borrowed from the Summer program who were very excited about the idea that they could make more than one box!).
The library was able to allow me the use of a small room downstairs which came in very handy in organizing the groups without all the interruption and distractions of the main area. On my longer days I was able to rotate several groups who were very excited to participate (especially after seeing that the other kids who made boxes for the mural also got to take with them a light-up “kindness card” once they were finished).
It was great to see the pile of completed boxes grow and grow each day. Getting the younger kids to get as colorful as possible was not much of a challenge, but the older kids…that was another story. It was interesting to see that the younger ones drawing anything and everything. The older kids had the distinct impression that drawing and writing a list of names are the same thing. Which in some regards they wouldn’t be entirely mistaken especially when the entire neighborhood is covered in one form of graffiti or another. So I was happy to see them write their lists all day long if they wanted to so long as they did it in a colorful way. Bam, everybody was happy!
I had initially attempted to put the boxes onto the control board as they were created, but I soon realized that doing it that way wasn’t the best. So once all 64 boxes were made I was able to apply them in a very stable way. After discussing the attachment of the boxes with the other Maker’s I learned that using an additional loop of the copper conductive tape at each connection point not only helped with maintaining a quality connection, but also to keep the boxes stable on the board.
I also found that some of the connections on the traces required additional copper tape. Luckily copper conductive tape was in abundance so that problem was handled in no time.
Once all the boxes were up on the board and operational I thought it’d be fun to decorate the rest of the board that was still exposed. I mean, the traces look pretty cool and all but not very festive. With a couple large bags of googly-eyes, colorful pieces of paper, and a few bottles of glitter-glue me and another kid set to work adding as much eye-candy as we could. And I think it worked out rather well!
We got out a laptop and allowed a bunch of the kids to go nuts turned the boxes on and off at their will. It was nice to see that even the ones who had minimal interest in participating in creating a box were pretty excited to be able to turn their own box on or off. Even if that excitement lasted for no longer than a few minutes and they soon were off like ping-pong balls looking for the next exciting thing to enter into their field of vision.