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The Exploratory Makes Brentwood STEAM Day

The Exploratory Makes Brentwood STEAM Day

Last weekend, the Exploratory participated in Brentwood’s biggest STEAM event of the year, Brentwood STEAM Day. It was a beautiful day in Los Angeles for an outside event, as we arrived early in the morning to set up the nerdy derby and the battling balloon bots. The staff and volunteers worked on building the perfect activities for the children to build and test their cars on the nerdy derby and providing plenty of recycled materials for the Balloon Bots.

About an hour later it was time for the making to begin. From the very beginning, the nerdy derby was a hit with the kids. They loved assembling the car, testing it over and over, making adjustments, and climbing up the ladder for the final test. The look on their faces when their cars went all they way down the track was one of pride and accomplishment. They also had the support of their parents who were there so it was an added delight because the kids were able to make something that looked cool and worked and they were able to share that experience with their parents.

After a long day of creating and exploring the different possibilities of nerdy derby and balloon bots, it was time to pack up and head back to The Exploratory. This event had everything, art projects, robotics, making, 3D printing, information about STEAM learning , and really good cookies provided by Which Wich Catering.


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Exploratory Will Participate in LA’s Youth Pitch Day

Exploratory Will Participate in LA’s Youth Pitch Day

The Exploratory is excited to be participating in Youth Pitch Day hosted by Yang Camp & Girls in TechLA, along with other organizations UCode, ELM, Rolling Robots, and Crowd School. Students will come to the LA Microsoft office for a morning of fun and STEAM with a maker studio, coding camp, & other awesome STEM-related activities. Teachers & mentors will also be all hands on deck to help them. After the morning activity, the children will participate in a pitch contest.

 

Youth Pitch Day @ Microsoft Campus

 

When

Saturday May 2nd, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

Where

13031 W. Jefferson Blvd. #200 Los Angeles, CA

To register for this event click the following link:

 

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/youth-pitch-day-tickets-16434731725?ref=ebapi

 

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Veterans Invited to Build A Boat With A Master Boat Builder

Veterans Invited to Build A Boat With A Master Boat Builder

Are you a veteran looking to develop or refine your woodworking skills?

Come work on the building of a 17' wooden sailboat.  There is no experience necessary and no cost associated with the workshop. As Aaron Turner from The Exploratory says, “There is nothing better than messing about in boats".  All the tools and materials will be provided and class will culminate in the launching and sailing of the finished boat for all attendees at Marina Del Rey. This exciting boat building workshop is open to any and all veterans, Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. until June at The Exploratory thanks to the generous support by Rudys Workshop.

The class is limited to 10 veterans because of the space of the work area. Click the button below to register for the class and make sure to click the Veterans Workshop!


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The Exploratory’s Tinkering Toolkit Available Online

The Exploratory’s Tinkering Toolkit Available Online

Last year, The Exploratory was funded by Pearson Foundation to make a tinkering and making toolkit for middle and high school educators. It was not available since Pearson Foundation closed their business, but now it has been transferred to the Learning Is Open website. You can access the tool kit at their website at: http://www.learningisopen.org/toolkit/tinkering-making/ .

You will find information on what is tinkering and making, how does it apply to the classroom, the process of Tinker.Make.Innovate., the standards of tinkering and making, and even project examples.- The toolkit gives you all the tools you need to plan your own tinkering experience, and train other educators by hosting an educators workshop-

The Tinker.Make.Innovate. process was developed by The Exploratory to provide teachers with concrete and open-ended applications of making and tinkering so that students can build the skills they need to identify problems and propose and devise innovative solutions. It is flexible enough to integrate it with classroom subjects, but can also be used as a stand-alone curriculum for developing hard and soft problem solving skills.

Click this link  to check out the projects that you can do with your middle and high school students. Please share any stories or pictures on our Facebook or Twitter.

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Librarians Tinkering with Theramins

Yesterday we held another Sound Studio session here at The Exploratory for LAPL Librarians Our  Arduino professional, Debra Ansell, led the librarians through the process of programming Arduinos to make theramins. A theremin is an electronic musical instrument in which the tone is generated by two high-frequency oscillators and the pitch is controlled by the movement of the performer's hand toward and away from the circuit. Not only do you have to program it to make noise, you have to program it to change tones depending on the movement of your hand closer or farther away.

It took 3 hours, but we finally heard the sound of one theramin, then two, then eventually all of them. Then it was time to play with the instruments that the librarians themselves created. That was the best part seeing the smiles on everyone’s face as they realized they could make something that cool while learning about the concepts of Arduino.

After exploring the amazing capabilities of Arduino, Debra our expert showed the librarians other projects that can be made using- Arduino. One of the bots works as a clock. Every minute it erases the previous time and then uses a marker to write the current time. This bot uses electronics, 3D printed parts, and Arduino. The next bot was more of a claw-like bot that came with a remote control. It had the capability to move up and down and side to side as well the ability to pick up small items, You could even add a magnet for heavier metal items. Finally, there was a pendent with an even smaller screen on it with moving abstract colorful squares powered by Arduino.

If you are interested in participating in a professional development workshop to bring STEAM and Making to your organization or school, contact Outreach Coordinator, Jessica Baggs at outreachvista.makerguilds@gmail.com.


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Librarians Make Music at The Exploratory

Librarians Make Music at The Exploratory

Last week 25 librarians came to The Exploratory to learn about the science of music and sound which included making instruments out of recycled materials. Its a big part of the Maker Guilds mission to train adults to facilitate STEAM making workshops. This allows us to maximize the # of children that we are able to reach.In order to spread this Tinker.Make.Innovate message we hold professional development sessions here at the maker space. This session was a new concept we created, called Sound Studio where we incorporate making techniques, design thinking, and the science of musical instruments and sound together to create an enriching curriculum that librarians can use at their libraries to teach classes and/or workshops.

A lot of people would have come at this project from a more scientific angle, but we wanted to teach them that design thinking and the process the children would go through with this workshop is more important than explaining every scientific detail that has to do with music. We want to give children something that they are not getting in school...the ability to fail, work through the kinks, and find solutions for those problems.

Librarians made all kinds of instruments from kazoo type instruments powered by air, to guitar with different chords depending on tightness of the “strings” to typical noise maker types filled with beans or bells. We also introduced them to the musical magic of the Makey Makey and taught them about the possibilities of adding circuitry to make music. After everyone was done I thought they were all going to start a band with their amazing creations.


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Professional Development Makes it Way to Chandler School

Professional Development Makes it Way to Chandler School

The Maker Guilds Exploratory staff headed to Chandler school last Monday to hold a professional development workshop for 25 teachers at Chandler School in Pasadena. The goal of the workshop was to introduce educators K-8  to the Tinker. Make. Innovate curriculum. Jean our Executive Director lead the workshop with a presentation about The Exploratory, Maker Guilds, and the importance of the T.M.I. challenge.

After the introduction, it was time to bring design thinking to the forefront and start thinking of solutions for tomorrow’s problems. The first step was for them to go through our tinker.make.innovate mini-design project -that is designed to illustrate the process of brainstorming, research, empathy development, ideation, revision, communication and prototype development.

They are limited to just cardstock, paper and scissors to allow for the focus to be on the development of the idea and the process rather than adding a shiny new tool as a distraction. One teacher created a specialized trunk at the end of your bed that would wake you up with an alarm, have your clothes pressed and warm for you in the morning, and you could store it under your bed during the day time.

All the teachers had fun and learned how to facilitate designed thinking and Tinker.Make.Innovate. After the teachers finished their prototypes some teachers shared their creations with everyone. Sharing at the end of an activity is an important part of the Tinker.Make.Innovate process.

Finally it was time to have fun with making. The Exploratory staff showed the teachers a couple examples of incorporating different aspects of STEAM into one activity such as E-textiles, Paper Circuits, Little Bits, Cardboard Prototyping and Makey Makey. We use these activities to show the educators how easy it is to incorporate STEAM concepts via making into their lesson plans.


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Volunter Information Session This Saturday!!

Learn Making While Volunteering

Information Session

February 21st, 2015

10:00 am to 12:00 pm

FREE BREAKFAST PROVIDED

Come make an impact on children’s education by introducing them to the joys of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) through making at The Exploratory maker space and libraries around the city of Los Angeles. At this training session, you will learn what it takes to be a Maker Guilds volunteer, our proprietary Tinker.Make.Innovate.® process  how to engage and excite children to want to be inventor and innovative thinkers. 

IF INTERESTED EMAIL OUTREACH COORDINATOR, JESSICA BAGGS AT OUTREACHVISTA.MAKERGUILDS@GMAIL.COM


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National STEM Video Game Workshop Makes its’ Way to the Exploratory

National STEM Video Game Workshop Makes its’ Way to the Exploratory

Yesterday the people from the National STEM Video Game Challenge came to the Exploratory to provide a workshop to our kids who belong to the Google CS First club along with other children interested in video game design. Over 20 kids filed in to the maker-space and you could hear the space getting noisier and more full of life.

As the kids made their way to empty seats and filled out their name tags they noticed sheets of colored paper with words on them (Goals, Space, Components, Rules ) and you could see their curiosity peek. The facilitators asked them what their favorites games were and then went on to the more burning questions of how games are made. Then the kids realized what the words written on the pages meant to the lesson.

After discussing what goes into game design they had the kids exercise what they learned through an activity where they were given a mystery bag filled with random items and they had to get in groups of four to create a unique game that could be tested by the other groups before revising and presenting the final game to the whole group. The kids made different types of games from board games to more sporty and interactive games.

After all the games were tested and revised and retested again, it was time to turn on the computers. The kids designed on a program called Game Star Mechanic for a little while with the help of the facilitators and volunteers.  Finally, they reflected on what they had learned and received all the important information on the STEM Video Game Challenge. To get more information on the challenge go to http://www.stemchallenge.org/stem/#/home.



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