@PietroEnnis and I are wrapping up a Class 5 project on sewable circuits. These Brearley girls are so fun to work with! They are creative, funny, inquisitive, and passionate about whatever they set their mind to. For this project (which correlated with a study of electricity in Science class), students were tasked with creating a circuit using conductive thread, as many as 5 LEDs, a coin cell battery, and some sort of means of powering their circuit (a battery pocket or a LilyPad battery holder with switch). Projects included dog collars, wrist cuffs, neck ties, donuts, animals, ice cream cones, and a skateboarding taco.
Before anyone began threading needles or cutting felt, everyone was asked to draw a template of their project (to scale) on paper. This sketch included the location of the battery pack, location of any lights, and distinct paths for the conductive thread in order to connect the negative “legs” of the lights and the positive “legs” of the lights.
While I’ve used YouTube videos and various resources in the past to help students review how to sew a parallel circuit, this time I brought Jaymes Dec and Ji Sun Lee’s book to class. Make: Tech DIY has great project ideas, lovely photos, and clear instructions. I love supporting my friends!
I’m at the Makerspace at the Columbia School of Engineering, because I’m curious about how it differs from other spaces and because @JaymesDec is giving a presentation, “So you have a Makerspace… Now what?”
I’m a huge fan of Jaymes and his work and everything he has done to elevate my practice and the practice of so many educators, hobbyists, families, and schools interested in STEAM and fabrication and community making experiences. He’s a graduate of NYU’s esteemed ITP program, a founder of The Makery, a Fab Lab and MakerEd evangelist, an international speaker presenting about his work and the great work of his students and colleagues all over the world, and a genuinely really nice and generous guy who happens to be a an expert in his field and always ready with help and advice.
The event tonight is hosted by SOWING: A Network for Science Outreach Professionals. I’ll be sure to pay attention to future events via their Eventbrite page: http://www.eventbrite.com/o/sowing-a-network-for-science-outreach-professionals-8297133199
During the presentation, Jaymes referenced:
- How much cheaper it is to outfit a makerspace than it was three years ago!
- Get great ideas for new hardware and software projects from Kickstarter. You can follow people who vet Kickstarter campaigns, as they are likely to back great ideas.
- The “Keychain Syndrome” as described by Paulo Blikstein in this piece: https://tltl.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/files/documents/publications/2013.Book-B.Digital.pdf
- The cost of makerspace has lowered significantly in the last three years since he launched the first Fab Lab at Marymount.
- Better to get multiple cheaper items (like the Printrbot Simple Metal) rather than one more expensive machine.
- Issue of bottlenecks at machines – having multiple machines helps, but encouraging students to do different types of projects and to teach other and to rotate equipment helps with this.