As part of Maker Camp last week, we ran a workshop building an electronic steady hand game.We thought it might be fun this time to try building the circuit using wood, hammer and nails instead of using breadboards or printed circuit boards. We designed a circuit template which could be placed on top of the wooden block to help the young people build their circuit.
We began the workshop by exploring the circuit diagram, identifying the circuit components and investigating its operation. Even though we were building a steady hand game, the young people identified other games you could make with the circuit such as the classic operation game.
Next each young person was given a block of soft wood, a hammer, nails and circuit template. It didn’t take long to hammer in the nails to make the connection points. They then wired up the circuit using the template as a guide. When they were all satisfied with their work, we moved onto the soldering.
The soldering of the wiring and the components took a little longer to complete, and after a little bit of fault finding we finally got there. Now we reached the point where they designed the wire track that the loop would travel along. We got some very interesting and crazy designs!!
Of course, when you design and build a game, you have to play it!!
As part of Maker Camp, last week we had a workshop designing and building Solar Cars.
Firstly, the young people sat around in a group and discussed solar energy. What are the pros and cons of using the sun to provide energy? How do solar cells work and where are they used in everyday life? We talked about using them at home, in cars, boats and airplanes.
The young people then experimented with a 2v solar cell and LEDs, to see solar energy in action. Then they tried out the solar motors with the solar cells and boy did they spin! Lights and spinning motors for free!! Can we charge our phones and tablets from solar energy they asked…..Yes you can with the right solar cells.
Time to start building and designing the cars. Lots of materials, such as bottle tops, CDs, cardboard and straws were used to build the body of the car. They had great fun thinking up some crazy and whacky designs.
They also got a chance to practice using the soldering iron to connect the DC motor to the solar cell. Very tricky work as the wires were very thin and delicate and it was very easy to lose wire using the wire stripper!! No expense was spared with the glue gun either….. some people like using lots and lots of glue….just to be sure!!
The young people also learnt a little about gears, motors and axles. So much has to be considered when building a car.
After a lot of creative thinking, sweat and not to many burnt fingers…the finished cars were ready for action. Now where was the sun gone….it’s a nice Irish summer’s rainy day.
The Computer Clubhouse will be running Maker Camp in partnership with Make. Maker Camp is a 6-week virtual summer camp for anyone interested in DIY, making, creating, crafting, hacking, tinkering, and discovery. We will be posting more details about our workshops soon!!
On February 14, while many were receiving gifts of love for Valentine’s Day members of the Computer Clubhouse were busy building their Greenhouse and getting their hands dirty in the soil. The group Kids and the Beanstalk was created to address environmental issues in the local area, in particular making the area a greener place to live in. The members of the group put in many hours thinking about the project and how it would impact the environment and local community. They were set on building a Greenhouse out of recycled plastic bottles. It required over a 1000 recycled bottles to complete the Greenhouse. Young people appealed to the local community and ask them to donate bottles for their exciting venture. As a result they were able to collect 300 bottles. The rest of the most important bottles as well as the materials for the frame of the Greenhouse were kindly donated by Panda, waste management company. Panda supports community initiatives and is committed to maintain a green environment by ensuring that no waste goes to the landfill.
During the planning mode students prepared the bottles for installation on the Greenhouse. They cut off the bottoms of the bottles as were instructions given by Abdul Hassan, the engineer behind the project.
The project will be submitted for ECO-Unesco Young Environmentalist Award, which is a program that provides support and opportunities to young people to develop an environmental action project.
All members who were involved in the project had loads of fun on the day, learned loads of carpenter skills like hammering and sawing. They were able to gain knowledge about their environment and the actions they can do to make it a better one, as well as ‘practice greener behaviour’ (as Angel would put it) and encourage others to do so.
Acknowledgements to all young people who participated: Angel, Bianka and Rachel Akpotor, Natalia and Nadia Gill, Roku Kola and Priscilla Szumna, and to the project leader Ivanna Chovgan. As well as all Computer Clubhouse and community members who supported the students signing their petition and who came out on Feb 14 and helped building the Greenhouse.
Today in Break it, Make it, Niki helped us make felt ropes using many different colors. We used wool to make our rope. First we got a piece of wool, and laid it out on bubble wrap. Then, we picked different colors of wool to lay on top. When we picked the colors, we put soapy water on the wool, and began rolling it to combine the colors to make felt. When we were finished rolling, we used a washing board to get rid of the excess soap, and then left the strand of wool to dry. What we have to look forward to after its dry, is another project of making the wool into jewelry. We had a great time and cant wait to see the finished product.
Arianne, Alex, and Rachel