Where are you located?
What is your day job?
8th Grade ELA and Gifted (7-12) Teacher
Do you attend a makerspace/fablab/hackerspace?
I will be in April.
What kinds of stuff do you make?
The Montgomery Area Jr./Hr. School Gifted program has made multiple types of catapults, as well as a life-sized one.
How did you get started making stuff?
The Gifted Program chooses one scientific aspect to build a year. Two years ago we built fully animatronic wings for the Maker’s Faire in Bloomsburg. After this, we decided to build small propulsion units using household items. This year we decided to move up to building a life-sized catapult, using images and spacial reasoning. The program is designed so students can study their individual interests, and learn at their own pace.
What is something that you’ve made that you’re really proud of?
My students are very proud of the wings, catapults, and also scientific experiments and raising butterflies, tadpoles, fish, and also conducting maze experiments with mice.
What is next on your project list?
We are looking into building robots and battle bots, and we are also interested in building PVC musical instruments, called Thongophones.
what is something you’d like to work with but you haven’t yet?
We would like to build more puzzles and mazes, especially for training small animals. We are just starting a year-long project on creating mazes for mice and other small rodents to see how much positive reinforcement, as well as high-interest treats, will help them navigate mazes, including in the dark. We are trying to create a newer, more pet-friendly version of the Skinner Box idea.
Any advice for people reading this?
Don’t be afraid to try. Even if you make mistakes at first, it is through those mistakes that you learn and make something better. We all have the ability to make the world better, and it is through our experiences, and experiments, that we can do that.
Are you going to show off at a maker faire in the near future? If so, which one?
Yes. We will be presenting at the Bloomsburg Children Museum Maker’s Faire in April.