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MakerSpaces, Maker Faires, Lego, and CAD

11 Jun

Full Disclosure: I have a son.  I love Lego.  He loves Lego.  Let’s build!

With that said, if I had a daughter, I would be promoting the same ideas I will be in this post.  The following links are meant to get people started for people considering being a “Maker” or enabling their students to become “Makers”.  They explore some lessons and theory behind STEM, some tools to use, details about the fairs and movement, and a neat online tool to get kids into 3D design:

  • http://www.stemcentric.com/about/ – This first link is to tutorials about how to use some of the NXT Lego solutions.  It has essential tutorials, which include how to move blocks and create loops, and it has advanced tutorials that include sensors and cascading switches.  I hope to explore these ideas with my son in the near future.  He is almost three!
  • http://powerfunctions.lego.com/en-us/whatis/default.aspx#HowDoesPFWorkContentProvider – These products from Lego add motors, lights, remotes, and even computer connections using 4 wires to build the system.
  • http://www.lego.com/en-us/mindstorms/products/ev3/31313-mindstorms-ev3/ – The NXT is the next level in Lego.  Lego Mindstorms is used to create and control robots that are made by the user.  They can be controlled by the controller that comes with the package, downloadable software for a computer, or even apps for devices like iPads, and Androids.
  • http://makerfaire.com/ – After building all these super awesome things, kids (and adults) want to show them off.  What better way to do this than through a large Show and Tell fair?  This is exactly what a Maker Faire is.  These are happening around the world in places like: Shanghai, Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Rome, Santiago, and Oslo.  There is even a movement called the Maker Movement.  Much of this can be found out at the link listed.
  • https://tinkercad.com/ – To take tinkering to the next level, TinkerCad enables students to create computer generated 3D images through lessons.  It is a great first step to showing kids how to learn Computer Assisted Drafting, which can later be 3D printed. Wow and Cool!
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