Family Friday

Children Get into Carpentry with ToolKid

No longer content to sit on the sidelines, ToolKid lets children get into carpentry themselves.

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An Early Maker Story From Holland

We think of the maker movement as a modern phenomena propelled by the internet, growth of makerspaces, and increasingly affordable digital technology. But making, of course, is anything but new. It’s part of what it means to be human. Dutch lutier Jan van Cappelle’s career as a maker began when he read a novel by Leonard de Vries called The Boys of the Hobby Club. Written under Nazi occupation and published in 1947, it’s essentially the story of a group of boys creating a makerspace before such a word existed. The book, which sadly is not available in English, had a lasting impact on Jan. “De Vries showed that you can make something yourself, in collaboration with others, instead of buying it of-the-rack.

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Aaron Vanderwerff Named “Inspirational Teacher of the Year”

Oakland’s Lighthouse Community Charter School is turning out some great young makers. If you attended Maker Faire this past week you might have run into Lighthouse students displaying a solar-powered scooter. (It started out as a go kart, but someone stole the chassis) and an EV truck project. The school’s teachers are no slouches either. This week one of the students’ instructors, Aaron Vanderwerff, was named “inspirational teacher of the year”

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Building a Scaled-Down Space Invaders Game With Raspberry Pi

Some months ago I finished an original Space Invaders restoration project, but as you can see on the picture on the left, it was a little big for my daughter. So the other day I stumbled across a cheap 5.5 inch CRT black and white TV and I decided to make a “mini-me” version for her.

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Simple Machines: The Lever

The lever is one of the six classic simple machines. A simple machine is a mechanical device that changes a force’s direction or magnitude. The other five simple machines are the wheel and axle, the pulley, the inclined plane, the wedge and the screw. Explaining simple machines to kids can be a fun learning experience, especially if you include some demonstrations in the lesson. Here’s how I built a lever for a demonstration of simple machines for my son’s 3rd grade clas

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Dinotopia: An Interview with James Gurney

I’ve had the intention to cover and post about my favorite artists for a long time now, finally getting off my lazy butt to do it. No better way to kick it off, than with a living legend, James Gurney. James is best known for the Dinotopia series, where he combine an amazing world of fantasy, and the prehistoric natural world, sparking the imagination of millions of kids and adults alike. Gurney’s not only a creative genius, but also a true master of light, composition… .. he’s just a bad ass painter, I don’t know how else to say it. His books are among my favorites, where he shares his secrets sauce. His approach, breaking down of the basics, to advanced painting techniques and theories, are simply invaluable. I was lucky enough to get some Q & A with Mr.Dinotopia himself, and here it is!

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Introducing the FuzzBot

Twelve-year-old Maker Quin already has a company of his own–Qtechknow. He founded a hackerspace in his garage on California’s Central Coast. He helps teach Arduino classes for kids and adults. And he developed the “gas cap” a baseball hat that detects human methane emissions. (What 12-year-old woulnd’t want that?) And now he’s created the FuzzBot, a cool little robot that not only turns on a dime to avoid obstacles, it helps his mom out by dragging a dust cloth as it makes its rounds.

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