Sunday, June 10, 2018

Reflections on Being a Makerspace Mentor

It's hard to believe that the 2017-2018 school year is coming to a close! This year, I had the privilege of serving as a Makerspace Mentor at the Ashland Innovation Center. I've learned a lot from the programs ranging from 3D Design to Robotics.

As a mentor, I am involved in planning the curriculum for each session. In the beginning of the year, I was really nervous. I would meticulously plan out each day, only to have the plans ruined by either moving too fast or too slow. So from working with the
kids this year, I learned that I don't have to plan each day down to the minute, and a loose plan of each day is best. However, it's also important to have extra activities planned in case some finish early.

Another lesson I learned is that we learn best by doing. Especially after school, elementary school aged children don't want to sit through another lesson or powerpoint. By giving the kids more time to explore, I noticed that the kids were more interested and seemed to learn more. For me, this meant taking a step back and not flying to the rescue to solve every little problem.

This year, I worked with an awesome group of kids and a fantastic group of fellow mentors. It's been really fun this year and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again in the fall. Have an awesome summer!

PS: Check out the Ashland Innovation Center's new website!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

3D Printing with Mindess

Almost every week at the Ashland Innovation Center, high school students serve as "Makerspace Mentors" and help Middle School and Mindess (grades 3-5) students learn about STEM. The most recent session of the AIC Mindess program was 3D Printing. It's been really fun and a great experience for everyone involved.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Soldering Iron: What is it and how does it work?

All About the Soldering Iron

              A soldering iron is a hand tool used in soldering. It supplies heat to melt solder so that it can flow into the joint between two work pieces. A soldering iron is composed of a heated metal tip and an insulated handle. The soldering iron here at the MakerSpace is typically used for fusing wires together with solder, and can really come in handy with circuitry.

Vinyl Cutter: Advanced Tips and Tricks

Vinyl Cutter: Advanced Tips and Tricks

Ben Pepper

Tip #1: Welding

     In the top left hand corner of the screen in Graphtec Studio, there is a button called "Weld selected shapes into one shape." This button can be very useful in making complex shapes.To use it, two or more shapes must be highlighted by dragging the mouse over them. When this happens, the button will turn from a light gray to a dark gray, informing the user that the selected shapes can be grouped together. Once this button is pressed, the selected shapes will combine into one shape. This can be very useful in making complex shapes out of simple shapes. For example, the Mickey Mouse logo can be made easily by grouping one big circle and two smaller circles on top of it. The weld button will combine all of these shapes and make the sticker look just like the logo. Knowing about this button allows people to make exactly what they desire to make by the use of complex shapes.

Tip #2: Roll-1 Front Edge

Using the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a miniature computer that is able to run and conduct code. It is able to perform many functions that a PC computer can, like playing games, browsing the internet, and other things like that. To use it, you plug it into your computer, and control it using a mouse. It is also a teaching tool, and teaches many people how to code. It also teaches them more about computers and how they work.