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ICTLT

We went down to ICTLT 2016 which was held at Suntec City Singapore on 30th and 31st March 2016 to promote the Maker Faire and the Maker movement to the educator community through hands on activities.
Soldering station: This station certainly was filled with unexpected surprises for us! Having much more reach than we had anticipated, many teachers thoroughly enjoyed this station and kept coming back over the two days to try it again. We had only brought down two soldering stations but from the looks of the queue, we should have brought a lot more! Soldering being a new skill for many gave the teachers(even those who were apprehensive at first and didn’t want to try it) a chance to handle a soldering iron to solder a simple circuit. Many teachers went a step ahead to experiment with the PCB board( picture below) and the components to try out what other methods work besides the basic we showed them and came back many times over the course of the two days to try soldering again and again.
Paper Circuits: We brought down circuit templates that guides the participants to creating a circuit of their own by starting off working on a simple circuit and building up from there. Using just 3 components-copper tape, batteries and LEDs, many things were created by the teachers on a piece of paper.
We also brought along a handful of Makey Makey demonstrations. The teachers especially loved the piano and had fun playing around with the code.
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ICTLT also proved to be a wonderful platform for us to promote Maker Faire Singapore to over 500 educators. Many teachers expressed interest to bring in their students for the Faire and some had students with wonderful projects which could be showcased during the Faire.
The response from the educators and the interest they displayed upon finding out about Maker Faire was wonderful.

Making Toys and Games

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We would like to thank all the children and parents who took time off on a Saturday morning to join us for the Making Toys and Games Workshop held on 9th April 2016. Thtough this workshop, we aimed to promote parent and child bonding while at the same time allowing participants to engage in multiple hands-on activities teaching them about Science, Art and Technology. We were pleased to watch the parent-child bonding and how parents and kids brainstormed many ideas to make their projects better.

Here are some of the activities that we put together for making toys and games, together with the support from the local maker community.

Origami: Origami is more than a simple art form. It has many commections with Maths and Science (check out foldscopes to find out how origami helped this Scientist make an incredibly low cost microscope). Community members from Crafts of Origami started the kids off in basic origami, with flapping birds and swimming fish. I was fascinated to see how the simple folds made the fish move.

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Cardboard automata: How do you use simple cams to make toys with complex movement? The wonderful facilitators from Imagin8ors facilitated how children can use everyday materials to make a cardboard automata – a carousell that moves round and round

3D Printing: We have heard of 3D printers and 3D pens, having seem them several times at Maker Faire. But for many of the children and parents, 3DPrintingHub.Asia‘s 3D doodler and pen was the first interaction with 3D printers. A large number of PLA glasses were made and broken. .

Clay art: Sze Sze used ceramic powder and Lego trays to create clay Lego figurines. It was really fun for the kids, hacking the lego figurines with paint and clay. We had families of little lego critters all over the room. If you want to make your own, go ahead and buy a box of ceramic powder and some lego ice cube trays. It will be worth the trouble and keeps the kids entertained for hours.

Sewing Owls: Last time we tried sewing in a family workshop, it was not so successful and many of the participants didnt really want to sit and thread a needle. But this time, Gladys from Hangmade by Gladys  brought along these really pretty owlets and no child could resist wanting one of them. The catch, learn to sew. Of course, this included threading a needle, learning to stuff and reasonably complicated skills. Many kids asked their dads to help and that was great!

Electronics: Gabriel and Ibnur- who are both part of Ground Up Initiative(GUI)– shared quite a bit about electronics for kids. Ibnur engaged the children one on one by showing them how to wire a buzzer and use it to communicate in morse code.

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Marble Run: In this station facilitated by Syaizza, participants had the opportunity to create personalised Marble Runs using materials available all around us in our everyday life. Kids created all kinds of obstacle courses for their marbles and took full advantage of the variety of materials available. We were especially happy that some children carefully planned where they wanted their different obstacles

Balloon Powered Car: Niha started this station with a simple car powered with balloons. But the families took it in stride and made so many variations of the cars. A particular group of participants were very keen in making and improvising their car. We later learnt from them that a few families had come together and decided on a challenge amongst themselves where they will bring back the balloon powered car that they learnt to make during the workshop and work on it for the next two weeks to improvise it as much a possible. We hope that they will share the results of their challenge with us!

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We hope to see you at Making with Light held on 4th June 2016 from 10am to 1pm

SCSA Teachers Workshop

Students are known to be more creative as compared to teachers when it comes to activities like making a toy. However, adults’ like teachers should not be discouraged by the creativity of their students when it comes to creating a toy or a design. It is a skill in which everyone can learn and develop at any point of time in their life.

Most teachers often see workshops like these as a refreshment course for them. Although they may be teaching for a long period of time, it has been quite a while since they sat in a class feeling like a ‘student’ again. One of the most amazing observations I had was to actually see teachers themselves being so engaged in the activities that they were tasked to do, especially working in groups together with teachers from various schools. The fact that they have the same interest shows how strong the interaction was among them, striving towards creating something which they would definitely want to bring back and show it to their students.

Here are some photos during the workshop.

 

The workshop was conducted to introduce teachers to exploring common tools and materials with some hands-on activities, leading to the annual Sony Creative Science Award (SCSA) Competition. This year’s theme is ‘Rise and Shine’ and the teachers were taken through 2 activities in which one is linked to the other. It is to prepare the teachers and give them a rough idea on what is expected of the participants for the competition.

Some of the tools and materials that we brought along with us to the workshop are wooden blocks, cardboards and foam boards, glue guns, LEDs, playdoh, drill, soldering iron and wooden sticks. We introduced to them various tools and materials as we wanted them to learn and familiarise themselves with the tools. We believe that it is a good way in getting them to use the tools to build further on their creativity, thus bringing the experience back to their students.

It was also a pleasant sight to see the teachers using the tools provided for them as it shows the creativity they had to make their toy.

Here are photos of a few of the teachers using the tools provided.

Before they were given the time to start making, an example was shown to get them started on forming their ideas. One observation made was that the teachers are detailed in their creation. While some made the toy in an interesting and attractive way, majority on the other hand make it a point to create a toy with a goal for the children to achieve.

Here are two short videos of the teachers sharing what they have done.

If you are interested for updates and information on the Sony Creative Science Award (SCSA) Competition, click here.

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

Resources:

Slides: PD workshop_schools

Making in Art – 13th February 2016

We would like to thank everyone who have taken their time off to attend the Making in Art workshop at Science Centre. The importance of the workshop was to promote parent and child bonding while at the same time allowing participants to engage in multiple hands-on activities teaching them about Science, Art and Technology, and we were glad to notice that the children were enjoying themselves with the activities along with their family.

Here are some photos during the workshop.

More Photos can be viewed here.

Here is a video that you can see.

For those who have missed the workshop, here are some activities that were conducted during the workshop which you can try.

Paper Circuits: There are many creative ways in which you can play around with circuits. Here is one http://www.sciencebuddies.org/blog/2015/04/creative-circuits-with-copper-tape.php

Soldering: Soldering may seem daunting to a beginner, but young kids can handle a soldering iron. Try your hand at PCB design Easy, EDA.

String Art: String art may be tedious as the cuts required have to be symmetrically aligned, however, it is a good way to integrate art with Mathematics. It is also a great way to improve patience and fine motor skills.  Here is a video tutorial in which you can start from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-diObeiBeQ

Conductive Silicone: Andrew Quitmeyer has shared his tutorial on conductive silicone! Gives breadboarding a completely different view. Here is the link for reference http://hackaday.com/2016/01/07/conductive-silicone-makes-flexible-circuits/

You can also check out Makezine and Instructables as it offers great ideas on projects that you can make at home.

We hope you can join us at our next workshop on the 9th of April going with the theme Making Toys and Games. This would be a great time to look at homemade and self made toys, everything from low tech “Kampung style” toys to robotic toys. You can register at https://www.regonline.sg/2016workshop2

 

 

Pop-Up Makerspace at Junyuan Secondary School

The Pop-Up Makerspace was a 2-day weekend event held at Junyuan Secondary School, in conjunction with the yearly Bursary Awards Ceremony. The idea of organising a Pop-Up Makerspace during the ceremony was to introduce the Maker Mindset to students and families. Some may not have heard of ‘Making’ while others would be more interested to learn more about it, especially when there are hands-on experiences provided for them to work on projects at the various booths.

Students were encouraged to participate in the activities hosted by the various booths where they explored learning, Science, tech, and craft in innovative and experiential ways. Playeum was one of the hosts for the activities. Parents and kids work on the art of speed booth, creating their own wheeled-gadget. The activity was very open ended, encouraging creativity.

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Playeum’s booth complemented the space by Imagin8ors, and many kids walked over to motorize their wheeled gadgets.

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Annabel, a polymer clay artist and Priyanka, a paper quilling artist taught families about low tech making. Participants gained basic knowledge of different crafts.

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We had brought in the WaterColorBot, previously showcased at the Hour of Code. Students were very interested in the robot as they are able to paint the image that they want, knowing that is operated through the WaterColorBot that is being controlled by an Arduino and three motors. Many of the parents were wowed, especially when we shared that the WaterColorBot was the brainchild of a ten-year-old. We were glad that sharing the WaterColorBot made visitors to the space think deeper on how such products are being invented and thus broadens their imagination through the brainstorming of ideas.

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And then there were goodies! Participants to the space got to bring home a Google Cardboard (VR Google Kit) that they could develop for.

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Maker Immersion Camp 2015

Making Things Move Workshop

 

 

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)

Maker Space Programme @ Tampines Secondary School

Remember the pop up mass tinkering session that we did a couple of months ago with students from Tampines Secondary school and our collaborators at Imagin8ors?

Well, 20 students who went through the tinkering session signed up for a 2 week Maker Immersion camp as a post exam activity in the school. Collaborating with our local makers, Elda Webb and Mahyuddin Chan, as well as capitalizing on the mobile fablab from SUTD, the students worked two weeks on a project of their choice.

For us, it was an opportunity to experiment the value of a completely hands on, student driven, learning on demand curriculum as a Maker programme. This implied two things – other than simply being there, having the tools in hand and helping where necessary, the facilitators had very little to do with the project goals and directions of the student projects. This was a new experience, not just for the students, but also for the accompanying teachers.

We started the programme with a workshop on Design thinking, facilitated by none other than Elda Webb. Elda ran through with the students, the need for empathy in Making, and encouraged the students to make something for an unknown peer. This opened up some of the communication barriers in the students.

Design thinking workshop

Marshmallow Challenge

Marshmallow Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Eileen guiding the students on Self Watering Planter

DIY planters

Students working on the prototype were given oppoetunities to pick up new content and skills, including soldering, arduino programming, how to use a breadboard and much more.

Half way into the project, the mobile Fablab, which is a collaboration between SUTD, DSO and Science Centre, came over to the school. With the advent of the fablab, students also had the chance to try out the equipment in the fablab, including the Edison 3D printers and the laset cutter.

FabLab

FabLab

Here are some of the projects that came out of the programme. One group came up with an intelligent garden. They learnt how to code the Arduino board ans also some basic soldering.

Self Watering Plant

Javier attempted three projects –  Solar Rechargeable Batteries is to conserve energy and be environmental friendly, Mini Hover Board and a wind powered car. In a post programme interview, he mentioned that he learnt to be more creative and to come out with solutions when their prototype is not working.

Wind Power Car

Wind Power Car

Two students got together to make an iron Man Hand. One of our favorite projects, the students played with basic circuit hacking, laser cutting. 3D design, and a whole bunch of other Maker skills. The students also built incrementally on the project.

Flick Up Light Prototype

Flick Up Light Prototype

Another favorite project was an automated glass cleaner. The team started off by hacking a pair of safety glassed and stuck a pair of servo motors on them. After learning the necessary arduino programming, the team then set off to 3D print their glasses and make a number of general improvements to their work.

Automatic Glass Wipers

One of the things we loved about the programme was that many of the participating students came back to ask whether the programme would continue next term and showed keen interest in being part of the initiative. We are glad and look forward to more opportunities.

Here is a video montage of the programme, put together by our  interns Faeezal and Azhari from ITE college East