A few parents joined us today and their assistance is always a huge help, and I suspect many secretly enjoy some of the activities 😉
return students, new students, several parents – who definitely are enjoying themselves tinkering, a masters student, PhD volunteer and the principal.
dismantling continues, not only for new but many returning participants too. we have started using the cordless screwdriver which is a great aid and greatly improves the workflow (thanks bosch). This device comes with a cardboard cutting attachment which will very useful for any cardboard construction.
Some return students enter the space with definite goals in mind and set about working as soon as they arrived. The novelty of toy dismantling has not waned and the initial explorations seems to have generated ideas that has given the students goals when dismantling the electronics. more directed dismantling. One student gathered as many fans as he could salvage. Tested them with whatever working batteries we could find (we need more batteries) and proceeded to construct a flying saucer shaped object with a fan (that worked) suspended in the centre. He was very happy with the unique creation.
the participant that created the mini laptop the week before, arrived with a small spider created from an egg carton cell and pipe cleaners. She proceeded to attach a motor and an eccentric weight to the axle (causes the vibration), and explained to me that she wanted the spider to wriggle in the same way the drawbots did.
i am very excited that participants are using the materials salvaged in creative ways to realise their own ideas. This is something i hoped to encourage but it has emerged of its own accord simply by providing the space, time and materials for this to happen. All the research indicates that this is an important first step, i.e. simply providing a space for something to start emerging. What will eventuate will be a result of the engagement of the community with the space rather than any forward planning.
I want to encourage the exploration and creation of art utilising the found and salvaged materials. In my own art practice i have experimented with the creation of small sculptures merging found natural and man-made materials. One way to encourage this is to have a type of residency, where an artist is given access to the materials and space in exchange for working in the space in order to inspire and inform others. I will attempt to do this in the first instance when i am less occuipied with management and creation pof the space.
I have also provided some simple paper craft activities to create simple paper automata. I envisage that these would suit younger participants but also could be extended utilising the motors and led’s we have found in the toys. Interestingly, I have not had a participant request ‘something to do’.
led’s are also a source of fascination, participants having quickly worked out how to make them light with the whatever battery could be found. I will look at some simple activities that use led’s.
The space has thus far been mostly attended by primary school students; curious, enthusiastic and creative. Engaging students from high school may be more challenging and will require some initial interest from them to get things rolling.
hopefully, soon the space will be secured and I will be able to leave things out on display.
more electronics to dismantle
a big table with sturdy top as the participants enjoy working in a groups
batteries – coin batteries, AA batteries, 9V batteries. could try for rechargeable as I have a spare charger.
set of screwdrivers – heavy usage
small socket set
pliers and cutters – much needed
wire strippers – much needed
bench top vice, smaller portable vices – very useful for securely holding objects that are being worked.
transparent storage bins of all sizes
jumper leads (alligator clips at each end) – very useful
assorted electronics, led’s, servo motors, sensors, wire, conductive ink, copper tape, conductive thread, etc
basic computing facilities – nothing fancy is needed for most of this (i.e. a few old laptops would be great)
assorted crafting materials (glues, tapes, pipe cleaners, paper, cardboard, etc)
arduino kits (basic arduino, instructions and a few bits a pieces to create some simple things with), there are some kits selling for $20