Category Archives: Education

GeekDad reviews The Annotated Build-It-Yourself Science Laboratory

DIY rain gauge
Rain gauge by Derrick Schneider

GeekDad has posted a very thoughtful review of the Annotated Build-It-Yourself Science Laboratory.

A workbench with breadboards, 3D printer, and sewing supplies is nothing compared to building a full science lab from basement junk.

They went hands-on and built the rain gauge shown above.

EggBots in Library Makerspaces

The New Sarepta Library in Alberta, Canada posted this video on twitter saying:

Our new EggBot is up and running! Come check it out!

We’re super happy to see libraries including our tools in their makerspaces.

From the mailbag: Bristlebots and Scribblebots

Kate K.'s Bristlebot bug (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

Jessica K. wrote in:

A few years ago I used your bristlebot design for one of my kid’s classes as a project and it was such a success I’ve done it for each kid (I have 4).

Kate K's Bristlebot Ladybug bottom (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

We also made made “pontoon” versions of your bristlebots with 2 toothbrush ends underneath a cardboard oval so it looked like a beetle and gave the kids more decorating space.

Scribblebot parts (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

Well, now I needed a new project and I came up with the easiest, cheapest Scribblebot I’ve come across, using mostly your bristlebot construction.

Kate K.'s Dixie Scribblebot (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

The big discovery is that a Dixie cup plus mini markers keeps the whole thing so lightweight. Then put your foam taped pager motor and battery combo on top. It was also way cuter with some antennae and googley eyes. Thank you again for your great bristlebot – it’s made me the most popular mom in each of my kids’ classes.

The bots shown were made by her daughter Kate who also demonstrates them in the video clips. Thank you Kate & Jessica!

Lady Ada Lovelace Day 2015

Maker Ed Stage
Morse code message crocheted into a scarf

For Lady Ada Lovelace Day this year, I want to celebrate the participation of so many unsung women in technical endeavors of all kinds.

Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

I love that Lady Ada Day gives the opportunity to make women more visible. I am paying homage with some images from Maker Faires this year of girls and women of all ages participating in and helping to guide hands-on activities. Here’s to the many women who aren’t as celebrated but are still involved and making things better for all of us!

R2 builders club
Gleefully hanging out with robots

Hovercraft
Trying out a hovercraft
Lapidary
Learning Lapidary techniques

Untitled
Lighting up the room with an LED hat
Limor and 4 Paws Wearables
Celebrating the iterations of design

XL741: Principles of Operation

XL741

Our two “dis-integrated circuit” kits are the Three Fives Discrete 555 Timer, and the XL741 Discrete Op-Amp. These two kits are functional, transistor-level replicas of the original NE555 and μA741 (respectively), which are two of the most popular integrated circuits of all time.

Last year, we wrote up a detailed educational supplement for the Three Fives kit, that works through its circuit diagram and discusses its principles of operation down to the transistor level. Today, we are doing the same for the XL741 kit, and releasing an educational supplement that explains how a ‘741 op-amp IC works internally, down to its bare transistors and resistors:

XL741 Documentation (PDF)

This ability to peek inside the circuit makes the XL741 a unique educational tool. In what follows, we’ll work through the circuit diagram, discuss the theory of operation of the ‘741 op-amp, and present some opportunities for experiments and further exploration.

You can download the supplement here: XL741 Principles of Operation (1.1 MB PDF)

Additional Resources:

 

 

 

STEAM Fest 2015

I took a heap of pictures at the 2nd annual Silicon Valley STEAM Festival at the Reid Hillview Airport in San Jose today. This event brings out an eclectic mix of hobbyists, scientists, and enthusiasts showing off what they do. Below are a few of my favorite moments.

RC planes

The local RC aircraft enthusiasts not only displayed their aircraft, but also put on an airshow. They also fly at Baylands Park, and encouraged coming to see them on Sundays.

Huey

Vintage aircraft flew in to be displayed.

Leopard shark

Local science institutions brought their mobile displays, including leopard sharks from the Marine Science Institute.

Firebots outreach

Robotics teams, (including our very own Firebots) were demonstrating their robots in the midst of cars on display. You can find more robots, aircraft, automobiles and sharks in my album here.

A visit from the LEGOJeep

Lego Jeep at Evil Mad Scientist
Photo by Kevin Mathieu

We had a visit from one of our favorite art cars, the LEGOJeep. Our friend Kevin stopped by to work on some parts to infuse even more LEGO spirit into the Jeep.

Lasering Parts for the Jeep
Photo by Kevin Mathieu

We also had a couple of young visitors stop by to see what we were up to. Above, learning to use the laser cutter and calipers.

Lego Jeep

Very proud of her contribution to the LEGOJeep!

 

 

Build It Yourself Science on the Make Blog

Book excerpt on Polarized Light Filters

The Make Blog is featuring some excerpts from The Annotated Build It Yourself Science Laboratory.

In modern times, our contemporary Maker and Maker education movements have helped to rekindle our cultural interest in hands-on education, especially in the STEM and STEAM fields, in a way that hasn’t been seen since the 1960s — which is why it’s such a good time to bring this book back.

STEM at the White House Easter Egg Roll

Families gather around to learn more about how the EggBot works

From the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog post, An Egg-straordinary Day of Science and Technology:

Interacting with EggBot, an art robot that can paint very intricate and precise designs on eggs. EggBot taught students about digital design, computer numerically controlled machines and robotics. This was also a fun way to celebrate National Robotics Week!