Start Making Geometry!

Do you want to start off next school year teaching geometry with 3D prints, coding, or some other hands-on exploration?  Geometry, of all the branches of mathematics, is the one that is most easily visualized by making something. However, it is all too easy to reduce it to reams of formulas to memorize and proofs to replicate. Our book, MAKE: Geometry,  helps students learn key topics from middle- and high-school geometry by creating 3D prints and trying out other hands-on projects.  The book also teaches how to use the free CAD program OpenSCAD, which uses computer code to describe objects. This interactive workshop will introduce teachers and parents to OpenSCAD and the models in the book, and help them feel confident using the materials and expanding on them. No prior knowledge of OpenSCAD is required!

Rube Goldberg Contraptions in the Classroom. A Winning Combination

The name Rube Goldberg immediately conjures up images of fun, wacky contraptions that take a long path to a simple task.  Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist and an inspiration to millions, and his legacy lives on through competitions and challenges held around the world. Our June 2 Community Conversations will feature Jennifer George, Rube’s granddaughter, and the manager of the Rube Goldberg Institute.  She will talk about all things Rube and lead the conversation about the value of contraption building in education.  Bring your own stories and pictures and join the conversation.

Summer Enrichment Opportunities for Students and Educators

What summer maker activities are available that you can recommend to your students?  For yourself? How do you find fun summer adventures for your students and engaging professional development for yourself?  Join Community Conversations on May 5th for an engaging and interactive discussion about fabulous free resources that are available this summer for kids and educators.  Make: offers a free Maker Camp series that we will review, along with sharing some other wonderful resources that are available throughout the summer for your professional development and for your students' enrichment.  And as always we want to hear your ideas, questions and experiences.  Join us May 5th for a lively and important discussion about summer resources.

Paper and Origami Circuits for Educators

Paper circuits are a classic makerspace activity, teaching basic electronics in a fun, creative way. But anyone who has hosted a paper circuit workshop knows that they can be tricky and challenging. Plus, what do you do for more advanced makers who have "been there, done that"? In this workshop, we'll present tried-and-true tips, techniques, tools, and troubleshooting that will make your paper circuit classes run more smoothly, with less waste and frustration. We'll also go beyond the basic card to explore origami circuits, advanced switches, and design projects to encourage your young makers to invent their own unique circuits. During the class, we'll work together on several hands-on projects that you can use in your programming including both series and parallel flat circuits, both a light-up and a motorized origami circuit, and a more complex circuit game project. We'll also discuss the pros and cons of various materials available for paper circuits, cover basic safety concerns, and share ideas for creating engaging, exciting paper circuit programs. Whether you're new to paper circuits or you've done dozens, you'll walk away with solid ideas you can implement in your classroom, camp, club, or library.

Cardboard Engineering for Educators

Cardboard is a common and inexpensive material that can be used in many ways for design and engineering. Because it's easy to cut, bend, manipulate and decorate, it's a perfect substance for prototyping and iterative hands-on projects. From this simple material, your students can build worlds. But how do you maximize that potential? That's what we'll discover together! Some of the topics we will cover with Cardboard Engineering include qualities of various cardboard materials (chipboard versus corrugated, for example), tools for working with cardboard (canary cutters, ZipSnips, laser cutters, etc.), educational cardboard products on the market, appropriate adhesives, joining techniques for strong construction, and safety considerations. We'll put this all to use in real-time as we work through sample projects so that you can explore the concepts as we discuss them. You will walk away with projects and lessons that you can implement in out-of-school spaces like camps or in the classroom throughout the year.

Make a Nano Theremin

Have you ever wanted to learning programming but didn't know where to start? Have you heard of Arduino, but you're not sure what you can make with it? Or do you have a kit, and you need some motivation? With this project, you'll take an Arduino Nano (or Uno), add a few simple components and a bit of well-commented code, and make a customizable theremin that lets you create sound according to how much light falls onto a sensor. In other words: you'll make a musical instrument you can play by waving your hand!