Maker Jawn recently participated in the Girls on Fire workshop. Organized by Philadelphia educators and community organizers Samuel Reed III and Peggy Marie Savage, Girls on Fire was geared towards sparking and sustaining the creative interests of middle school and high school age girls. The program was part of an initiative to give kids a summer head start in… Read more →
We’ve been having fun exploring E-Textiles, otherwise known as “Soft Circuits”. The age range of children seems to be from 8 – 12 yrs, so it becomes really important to “meet them where they are”. Sometimes we start with paper circuits using copper tape/LEDs and then move them later to stitching conductive thread/LEDs. The children like copper tape because it… Read more →
This past week has been pretty rad for us up at the Village! Earlier in the week Camp started so we had a few Squishy Circuitry tinkering sessions. It was awesome to watch the new makers (camp kids) testing the limits of the play-doh and insulating dough. All mixed in was the comic relief that the insulating dough could be used as snot balls to startle Ms. Brenda and some mischief around the second floor with the Piezzo buzzers.
What spawned from our exploration was a combination of our Magnet-Maze Game and Squishy Circuits! More fun, anyone can make something, and less gnarly foil paper-cuts. Jacob and a few of our morning kids have been hanging around after camp to work on these little Mazes.
Just observing the makers get direct feedback from players and be able to manipulate the play-space in real time is unreal, and much easier than our prior paper/foil prototypes. It allows for much quicker problem solving and less physical error(again our foil tape isn’t great). So now where do we see this going next? Well, we’ve run into two issues:
- We need to find a way to save these Mazes, currently photographing and printing is our only method.
- Having a phone out and a person keeping score isn’t fun for a one player game(or my phone).
So an easier method of containing the dough(and still being able to use magnets) or a better quick-start documentation guide/poster may help. Also, we need a scoreboard! A quick thought would be to use Scratch and the Makey Makey! The latter being one of the more interesting trinkets I have to the kids. This might just be our potential little entry into the Makey Makey Contest!
To wrap up, we had a paper circuitry workshop the other day. At first glance the materials led to a very regimented process and not a lot of creativity or individuality in each campers circuit. However, we tail ended our brief explorations with different sensors and potentiometers into how you actually wire them up. A quick demo of how to tin some wire and solder an FSR to it led to Jacob and others showing each-other how to pair up some LEDs! Again totally rad, a lot has happened this week, I’m excited to see we move along with our Magnetic Mazes and Connected Messages.
The schools are closed, and the kids are out and about. Here at Heavenly Hall, the kids are out in full force, and plenty excited to be free for the summer! Over the week, at least 25 kids have spent time with me, working on projects such as Paper Towers, Paper Circuits, Squishy Circuits, and everything else in between.
Next week begins our more exciting large scale projects, where the kids will be working on building things like gardening robots and basketball arcade games. We’ll start from the bottom with designing the systems, up through small scale prototyping to full scale builds, and by the end of the summer, have some awesome projects to show off!
I’m looking forward to getting the ball rolling on the big projects, and to see what awesome stuff the kids can make. If the last week is any indication, we should have some amazing stuff in no time!