Author Archives: kramanathan

Creating a makerspace in school

Recently, we have had a number of requests from schools to get inspiration on creating a school makerspace and the kind of tools and activities to stock the space with. Having facilitated a number of activities for children, we put together a programme for teachers on setting up a space to facilitate the development of the maker mindset in students.

When we talk about the maker movement, we often associate it with high tech tools such as arduinos, Little Bits, Computing, Programming etc, or with skills such as soldering, wood working etc, which are skills commonly taught in Design and Technology programmes. This could be because a number of websites talking about the maker movement talks has a long list of projects and activities. Great examples of such websites include Makezine, Instructables, the Tinkering studio blog etc.

One thing that we like to stress is that Making is not a set of skills. Making is a mindset. To take it from the words of Dale Dougherty, Founder of Makezine and MakerFaire, maker movement aims to
• to create a context that develops the maker mindset, a growth mindset that encourages students to believe they can learn to do anything;
• to design and develop makerspaces in a variety of community contexts that serve a diverse group of learners who do not all share the same resources;
• to identify, develop, and share a broad framework of projects and kits, based on a wide range of tools and materials, that connect to student interests in and out of school;
• to develop programs especially for young people that allow them to take a leading role in creating more makers in schools, afterschool programs, summer camps, and other community settings;
• to create a community context for the exhibition and curating of student work in relationship with all makers and making, such that new opportunities are created for more people to participate;
• to allow individuals and groups to build a record of participation in the maker community, which can be useful for academic and career advancement as well as support the student’s growing sense of personal development;

Kickstarting a maker movement in schools therefore is a combination of skills and mindsets, where students are given open ended challenges, but also the opportunity for masterclasses where they can pick up the relevant skills from the internet, their peers or from the makerspace facilitators.

So, when we had the opportunity to extend a training programme for teachers from Tampines Secondary on growing the maker mindset in their students, we split the programme into two parts – a master class on Arduino which was conducted by the facilitators at CRADLE and a one day programme to share toughts and ideas for suitable activities to promote the maker mindset.

We began with the Marshmallow Challenge, where the teachers worked in teams to construct a free standing structure with spagetti, tape and string.

Often, when we talk about the Maker movement, we talk about the power of experiences in inculcating learning – the more experiences you have, the more you learn. The Marshmallow challenge is a perfect way to illustrate the importance of experience (Watch the TED talk, it is pretty cool!). The tallest structure that we got was made by our two interns who had joined the training. To us it was clear why, Niha, one of the interns, had spent the last couple of weeks building tetrahedrons from wooden skewers for a Sierpinsky fractal.

After the marshmallow challenge, we moved on to everyone’s favorite tech toy – the Makey Makey. To ensure variation, the teams had challenges to work on – like make a musical instrument and make a fencing game.

We loved the fencing costume that a team of teachers put together. The creativity, sense of humor and enthusiasm was rather infectious.

Post lunch, we had a couple of basic circuit and electronic hacking activities.One of which was inspired by the Booby trap activity in Maker Camp Fall edition. An important takeaway from this activity was the use of familiar materials in unfamiliar ways and throwing yourself in uncomfortable situations, both of which are core tenets of the maker mindset. A group of teachers built their circuit in traditional (school) way with crocodile clips and the likes. We then challenged them to substitute the materials with the usual circuit sticker materials – copper tape, coin batteries etc. I think it was rather eye opening to the teachers that substitution of materials required a different level of troubleshooting.

We hope that the teachers will find ways to implement the maker mindset through programmes and activities in their school. We look forward to hearing from them on updates


Slides: PD workshop_schools

Hosting the Cardboard Challenge in Singapore

The Cardboard Challenge was held at Science Centre Singapore as part of the Global Cardboard Challenge a movement inspired by a then 9 year old boy Caine Munroy, an entrepreneur who made an arcade using cardboard boxes and recycled materials in his father’s garage. Since 2012, the Imagination Foundation USA has popularised this movement globally, we in Malaysia have also taken up this challenge to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in our children. Our children deserve to explore their world of imagination, innovation and problem solving.

In 2015, the global cardboard challenge was run by long time Maker and passionate mother, Elda Webb, who is now kickstarting the Curious Design Network (did you catch the incredibly crowded booth at Maker Faire Singapore? ). Shortly after the announcement of the programme, she was approached by Marine, who has recently begun a collaboration with the creative guys from Strawbees (Check her facebook page at StrawbeesSG). Singapore is indeed fortunate to have Makers like Elda and Marine who feel the need for children and families to have such opportunities for creative, collaborative learning.

Here are some photos from the Challenge (Thanks to Elda and Marine for the photos)

Making a mood lamp with led and fish bones

Make a moodlamp and assemble fish bones to form a crane also known as a tsuru. Have a whirl at Lo fi electronics and a hands on making time at this workshop.

Date: 12th July 2015
Time: 4.00pm to 5.30pm
Cost: $30 person


Tour of Makerspaces in Singapore

(Image Source:Ground Up Initiative)

Date: 13th July 2015
Time: 10.30am-5.45pm
Meeting point: Bottle Tree Park
Cost: $10/ participant (includes transport and lunch)

Tour Agenda:
10.15am: Meet at entrance to bottle tree park
10.30am: Tour of Kampung Kampus/ Ground Up initiative
12.00nn: Tour of One Maker Group, National Design Centre
12.45pm: Tour of Materials Design Lab 1.15pm: Lunch and Tour of IDA labs
2.45pm: Tour of HackerspaceSG
4.30pm: Tour of Makerspace@SP
5.45pm: End of Programme

String Art workshop

string art

String art is the use of string, thread, wire or fibre as an art medium to create geometrical patterns or abstract designs. The medium is wound around a series of nails fixed to a surface or the edges of a pattern, or stitched through a pattern with a needle. The lines formed are straight lines , but it is the slightly different angle or position each line takes and intersects with other lines that form the mesmerizing patterns.

Here, participants will learn about the different kinds of string art construct their own patterns using the Maths construction set and make a geometric pattern to take home.

Date:12th July 2015
Time: 12.30pmto 2.00pm
Cost: $20 per parent-child pair

Come with your kids to Maker Faire Singapore 2015

There is many things happening at Maker Faire Singapore to wow families and kids. Join the Faire to see some of the awesome projects that this year’s Makers have put together.

See how some of the families in Singapore have inculcated the Maker Mindset as part of their everyday lives. This year, we are launching the Busy Hands, Happy Hearts book as part of the Faire. The book interviews fifteen families including the family of Scientist turned Artist Isabelle Desjeux and self published writer Don Bosco, creating snippets of how families work together to benefit from and contribute to the Maker movement.

A number of these families are taking up booths at Maker Faire Singapore – so drop in and have a chat with Annabel of Luv and Co, Chinmay and Sayanee at the HackerspaceSG booth, Wai Him and his family at the Know What’s OK (Kowk family) space. Get inspired by some of the projects that they have worked on together, which you can do at home just as easily.

It is also prideworthy to note that a number of schools have come on board Maker Faire Singapore. Find out how the local Educational Institutions have embraced the Maker movement and the learning opportunities it offers.

Sign up for one of the many Science and Tech or Craft workshops. Learn about various topics such as 3D printing, robotics, IoT, programming, future skills, paper crafting, clay working,upcycling and much much more…

Try one of the many activity stations – ride the upcycled bikes in the carpark, get started with tinkering and find out about the Maker mindset at the Science Centre, Art Science Museum and One Maker Group spaces. Learn about sustainable living with the folks at Ground up Initiative.

Wander and explore. There are nuggets of interesting things to be found in every corner.


Curated List: For Educators and Students

Students and Educators will have plenty of learning opportunities at Maker Faire Singapore.

Here are a few of the must sees and must dos.

Join the Making in Education Forum on 11th July, 3.00pm,-5.00pm where eminent educators and speakers will be sharing about the importance of the Maker Mindset in Education. Speakers include Dale Dougherty, Founder of Maker Media, Sonak Anshul from Intel mobile Telecommunications, Erik Thortennson, Founder of Strawbees, Isabelle Desjeux, Creative Director of Playeum, the play museum and Saminathan Gopal, Principal of STEM Inc. This is the first time the Making in Education Forum is being organized in Singapore, so be sure to catch it.

Understand how schools have incorporated the Maker culture in their curriculum. School participation in Maker Faire Singapore is the highest this year. Speak with the Educators and Students from Chongzheng Primary, Commomwealth Secondary, Temasek Secondary, Marsling Secondary, NUS High school, ACS Independent and Nanyang Girls High school.

The need for a Maker mindset continues to tertiary and beyond. Find out how the Maker movement is encouraged at the tertiary level by talking to students and teachers from Singapore Polytechnic, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, ITE college East and SUTD.

There is no dearth of learning opportunities at Maker Faire Singapore. Sign up for one of the many Science and Tech or Craft workshops. Learn about various topics such as 3D printing, robotics, IoT, programming, future skills, paper crafting, clay working, upcycling and much much more…

Beyond School. The Maker culture is growing very fast in Singapore and the region. Just walk around the 200 over booths at Maker Faire Singapore 2015 and you will be sure to see several inspiring ideas on how the culture and mindset is closely related to Future Skills and offers new horizons for students to explore and learn!

The Art of Zentangle by Mabel Yap

A doctor by day but an artist at all times, Mabel Yap is a Certified Zentangle Trainer who will be offering beautiful ZIA (Zentangle-inspired Art) crafts.

11th July 2015, 5.30pm-7.00pm
12th July 2015, 3.00pm-4.30pm
Cost: $15. Register and pay on Site.

Leather card wallet and Coin purse by Phoebe Na

Phoebe Na from Barangshop will be conducting workshops on how to work with leather. Join her to learn about Handcutting of leather, snap setting, initials embossing. All materials and tools are provided.

Leathercard wallet workshop:
11th July, 2pm-3.30pm
Cost: $25
Register on site or by emailing

Coin Purse workshop
12th July, 1.15pm-2.45pm
Cost: $30
Register on site or by emailing

Upcycled Lifestyle Product workshop by Susan Ong of the Bunglin Tinker

Each participant gets to make a customised lifestyle item of their choosing with the available myriad range of materials that are harvested &/or treated from a variety of expendable materials.

Tools are provided for use.
Date: 11th July 2015
Time: 11.15am-12.00nn
Cost: $25/Participant
Register by contacting the maker: