Makerspace Monday: Build It!

We are all building a new life as we shelter in place and teach school at home for the rest of this academic year. UK children’s book publisher Nosy Crow created a free e-book for parents to share with their 5- to 9-year-old kids, Coronavirus: A Book for Children. Reviewed by medical, educational, and psychological experts, the book asks and answers questions about what the coronavirus is and the measures that have been taken to control it. Preview and download the book here.

On McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, a daily humor blog, parents can read the April post: We, the Hard-Working, Newly Homeschooling Parents of America, Have Rewritten the Common Core Standards, by Jane Dimyan Ehrenfeld and Kate Ehrenfeld Gardoqui. One new standard for grades 9–12 says, “3-C. Students will learn exactly how irritating, boring, aggravating, and absurd it can be to live through history. They will also learn that attendance in History IRL is mandatory.” Here are some makerspace projects to build at home so some of this time in our history will be a little less boring.

Build a Face Shield  

Learn how to make a PPE (personal protective equipment) face shield (with or without a 3D printer) using these directions from NewBoCo in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Build an Animation

Use the free stick-figure software program Pivot to create a sequence of animation frames on your computer that tell a story.

Construct a Kalimba

Build an African thumb piano, called a kalimba, out of a small box, two pens, rubber bands, pens, and wooden coffee stirrers—or a wood scrap, staples, and bobby pins.

Create a Lava Lamp

Go retro with a lava lamp. The STEAM Powered Family tested five different ways to make a lava lamp with household ingredients in a jar or a bottle, including two options that glow in the dark!  

Make a Movie Set   

Cut off the top and front of a box or use poster board to make a miniature movie set for a stop-motion movie you film at home with an app on your phone, tablet, or iPad.  

Sculpt with Air-Dry Clay

Make air-dry clay from ingredients in your kitchen and build a sculpture you can paint after it dries.

Take the Rube Goldberg Bar of Soap Video Challenge

Drop a bar of soap into someone’s hands in 10–20 steps by building your own Rube Goldberg Machine. Upload your video by midnight, May 30, 2020, using these directions. The folks at Rube Goldberg will select three winning teams for their Rube prize packet in mid-June.

Anastasia Suen reads, edits, and writes books for all ages from her makerspace at home in Northern California.  

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