A guide to making and learning for K-3 teachers

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John Scott Tynes writes, "Alice Baggett is a third-grade technology teacher at Seattle Country Day School. She wrote this awesome guide for teachers of kindergarten through third grade to incorporate maker thinking and STEM projects into their classrooms. She loves supporting kids becoming creators, not just consumers, of technology and engineering. It would make a lovely gift for a teacher in your life!" Read the rest

Kano - a Raspberry Pi computer kit now has a screen

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My daughter and I have been having fun with the latest Kano computer and coding kit, which comes with a screen. It's powered by a Raspberry Pi, a small Linux computer, and was created to allow kids to make games, music, and art through coding.

The operating system is already installed and comes with a bunch of fun applications and games, like Scratch and Minecraft. It has built in wifi and a Chromium web browser, and the small orange wireless keyboard has a touch pad. It plays YouTube videos and you could probably get away with using it as an everyday computer.

To "build" the Kano, you follow the simple, well designed instructions to snap pieces together. The manual describes the function of each component as you go along. Once you put it together, plug it in and you'll be taken on a candy-colored tour of Kano-land, where you can create an avatar and sign up for an account on Kano, so you can complete quests (like customizing a Pong game with a Scratch-like program called Kano blocks), and share and download your creations. There's a game called Terminal Quest that teaches Linux commands as "spells" to make things happen.

Check out Kano's Make Art website to give you an idea of what Kano's coding environment is like.

The Screen Kit is a 10" LDC 1280 x 800 display that's crisp and bright. You don't need the screen to use a Kano. If you want you can buy the basic Kano kit and plug it into any HD display. Read the rest

Primitive Technology: shrimp trap

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Primitive Technology is a YouTube video channel produced by an Australian guy who goes into the jungle with nothing but the clothes on his back, and makes things like shelters, tools, and weapons. There are no words or text in the video, only the sounds of nature for a soundtrack. In this episode, he weaves a trap to catch shrimp, which he puts in an earthenware jug, and then cooks them over a fire he starts with friction.

Shrimp (and fish) traps are simple traps designed to catch aquatic life due to their shape. It consists of a simple basket with a funnel shaped entrance. Shrimp easily find their way into the trap as they are funneled in, but have difficulty finding the way out.

I wove the main body of the trap from lawyer cane then made the funnel from sticks with vines woven between them. The funnel was then inserted in the top of the basket and was complete.

I put the trap in the water under some tree roots without any bait. About 10 minutes later caught the first shrimp which I stored in a pot of water. I caught another one and made a fire.

I humanely killed the shrimp using the splitting method which destroys the central nervous system (boiling alive is more painful). Then I put them back in the pot with water. I collected some yams that I planted years ago from wild stock and put them in too.

I took 5 hot rocks from the fire and put them in the pot boiling the contents.

Read the rest

Meet the small team producing some of the last handmade globes in the world

Bellerby & Co is one of the last companies that handmakes globes. It's a team of 15 people including woodworkers, painters, and a digital cartographer. (Great Big Story)

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Master prop fanatic Shawn Thorsson shares his shop secrets

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While at Make: for many years, I had the pleasure of working with and getting to know Shawn Thorsson, author of Make: Props and Costume Armor. Shawn was one of the first serious amateur prop builders that we featured. He and one of his Space Marine costumes even made it onto the cover of the magazine. When Shawn launches a project, he’s like a torpedo in the water. You either get out of the way or you prepare for impact. You can feel this passion for what he does (and how he does it), in person, on his project blog, and thankfully, in the pages of this wonderful new book from Make:.

I love the way Make: Props and Costume Armor is organized. There is an amazing set of sci-fi costume armor and a prop gun (from a comic book called The Final Hunt) on the front cover and a Wolf Warrior costume on the back. The bulk of the book is taken up with each chapter detailing one of the elements of each costume. If you make all of the projects from the book, you will end up with these two very different types of weapons and armor, one sci-fi, one fantasy.

Each chapter examines a different prop-making technique, from vaccumforming to 3D modeling using Pepakura software, to working with EVA foam, and finally, finishing, painting, and weathering. While the book is an amazing introduction and beginner’s guide to prop construction, the text is peppered throughout with enough expert tips and tricks to make this relevant to prop makers and cosplayers of any level of expertise. Read the rest

Stay abreast of all things DIY with the weekly Maker Update show

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Donald Bell, Make:'s former Projects Editor and now a freelance writer for Autodesk, has recently launched a weekly YouTube show, called Maker Update. Every Wednesday morning, Donald presents a recap of his online explorations in making and the maker movement. He covers promising new tools and technologies, some of his favorite projects from sites like Instructables, Thingiverse, and Make:, and he includes a calendar of upcoming Maker Faires from around the world.

As someone who also covers this same territory, I've been surprised at how many cool things Donald has introduced me to. The shows always have a nice mix, all delivered by a talking head Donald in a very straight-forward, likeable, and lighthearted manner. He's only 8 episodes in, but I've already become a big fan and now count Maker Update as part of my weekly must-see maker TV. Read the rest

A rotary cellular phone

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Mr Volt created this "artifact from somewhere else," machining the housing (with wood veneer!) and programming an Arduino controller to allow him to make rotary dial calls with his giant metal brick, which looks to have the sturdiness of an original black Bell phone (whose logo is displayed at boot-time on the small LCD); it's also an FM radio! (via JWZ) Read the rest

Amazing dazzle makeup

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Vancouver makeup artist Mimi Choi has a Hallowe'en-themed series of confounding dazzle face makeup pics in her feed that will give you the best kind of headache, and possibly some very good last-minute costume ideas. Read the rest

Winning Hallowe'en: animated Stranger Things Demogorgon costume

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Uploaded by redditor Ins1der, who attributes it to Instagram user Cblimagery, an Indiana resident. Read the rest

Draw like an artist: go from "I can't draw" to "handmade art for sale"

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Boing Boing-beloved artist Chris Locke (previously) writes, "World-famous artist and middle-school art teacher Christopher Locke has published a new drawing tutorial book, packed with lessons from his own classroom. Whether you're a 10-year-old aspiring artist, or an octogenarian with an art degree, you'll find exercises and activities that will help you build your skill and refine the way you see the world." Read the rest

My sister made a Chewbacca piñata costume

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A few weeks ago my good friend John Park created a video demonstration of how to hack the famous Happy Chewbacca mask to trigger your very own audio files.  And when my sister Christina told me she was building a Chewbacca-Pinata costume for her son, I naturally shared John’s video with her.

What my sister ended up creating was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen.

But before sharing some pics and a video of the costume in action, I wanted to set the bar very, very low by showing images of other homemade Chewbacca costumes I found online.

It's like looking in a Chewbacca mirror!

 

Boxybacca.

Yes, you can purchase this one!

 

And this is my favorite one of all. The caption under this photo read, “Look at Chewbacca’s feet!”.

The truth is, that’s all I’m looking at.

So now that you’re primed for awesomeness, here are some pics of the creative process and a video of the finished product.

 

Christina started with an ordinary fleece jacket and started attaching strips of paper to it in layers.

She kept working upwards and onto the store-bought Chewbacca mask.  And Ryan just kept standing there.

Christina made Chewbacca-pantaloons by applying the same paper layering techniques onto a pair of sweatpants.

Holy crap is that a fantastic Chewbacca-Piñata costume, but from what I can tell there is a fatal flaw.

The costume is called a “Chewbacca Piñata” and piñatas are meant to be hit with a stick or a baseball bat. Read the rest

Reviving an Ann Arbor Ambassador 60 terminal

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JWZ documents his adventures in bringing a 1982/3 vintage Ann Arbor Ambassador 60 terminal (a rare portrait-orientation terminal) back into service -- fitting it with a Raspberry Pi and a new power-supply and getting it to boot its beautiful green-screen. Read the rest

Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy

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Today sees the publication of Bonnie Burton's (previously) long-awaited new book, Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy. Read the rest

Kickstarting a monthly open hardware maker-box for kids that funds a kids' makerspace

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Noah Swartz writes, "Parts and Crafts, a youth and community makerspace in Somerville, MA, is kickstarting a series of Creative Commons/Open Hardware licensed educational kits and projects for kids. The project is called 'Monthly Make-It' and it's a maker-kit subscription service where you sign up to get a box of cool DIY buildable projects sent to your house every month." Read the rest

Make: "Mad scientist test-tube rack"

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John Park, the maker's maker, explains in detail how to make this glowing mad scientist test-tube rack that you can use as a Hallowe'en decoration and/or household mood light. Read the rest

Artoo-Deco, an art deco droid from author/maker Kurt Zimmerman

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Kids' author/droid builder Kurt Zimmerman created "Artoo Deco," an Art Deco take on R2-D2, capable of movement under radio control, and with an in-built sound-system that makes cool, droidish noises. Read the rest

A new certification program for Open Source Hardware

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Michael Weinberg writes, "After over a year of community development, the Open Source Hardware Association has released its new certification program. Hardware with the certification logo is guaranteed to meet the community definition of open source hardware. As a bonus, any hardware registered before the end of October is eligible to receive the coveted 000001 unique ID registration number." Read the rest

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