The last couple of Fridays we’ve had children from the Folsom Lake College Youth Art Academy in the makerspace.  In week 1, two of the three groups worked on building pneumatic monsters


and paper circuits…


…while Max Mahoney had the third group in the Chemistry lab doing cyanotype photography


A number of the children were attending both weeks of the camp, so we wanted to mix it up a bit for week two.  After researching various engineering challenges, we developed and prototyped a building system of laser cut connectors that could be used with standard popsicle sticks.


We were able to cut 578 per sheet, ~41 minutes per sheet.


The children worked in pairs on engineering challenges, beginning with heaviest weight with minimum sticks


…and moving on to tallest freestanding structure:


…after which they connected their towers using living hinge bridges laser cut from cardstock, and decorated with LEDs, giving us a chance to talk a little bit about circuits and electricity.


The building system worked surprisingly well for a version 1, and we learned some things – specifically, that the pieces were a little small and the tolerances a little tight for some 8 year olds – that we’ll incorporate into version 2.  More photos from the YAA makerspace visit.

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