Digital Art workshop for Senior Summer Camp – Handout

Here’s a handout we prepared for our Summer 2019 Senior Summer Camp Digital Art Workshop for folks aged 55+. Hope it helps in your work!

MM@Scarlett 3/27/2017

We had a lower turnout this week, but definitely heightened fun!


We introduced a more complex challenge that involved several steps. First the students had to identify a challenge they had in regards to buildings, houses, or rooms that they frequented. Then they had to imagine a solution. The final step of the initial process was to draw — or paper prototype — their initial solution on a piece of paper.

Then we gave each student some of the abundant cardboard we had collected from around town and the university. We had some pretty big pieces! The students took time building their designs, with Alyssa and Ben providing cutting assistance with exacto knives.

IMG_20170327_160558098 IMG_20170327_160613063 IMG_20170327_160644555  IMG_20170327_160535271

Some were lured in by the bigness of the boxes, while others took the natural shapes of cut-apart boxes to add to their designs. We were especially happy to see a mini-prototype and a full-size prototype of a seatbelt for a rocketship! That maker also pointed out that these materials were better, freer, and allowed for more imagination than the previous week’s toys did.


Again, students started collaborating once they were done with their individual projects.

Another challenge, another successful maker time! Check out the rest of the pictures at this Flickr album.


MM@Scarlett 3/20/2017


Michigan Maker’s triumphant return to Scarlett included a tried and true activity of Toy Takeapart.

We had a great turnout and spent some initial time getting to know each other and hearing what everyone liked to make.

Ben challenged the students to take apart an old toy from Goodwill and make something related to transportation. A lot of grit was needed to get all those screws out of the plastic toys — but, boy, did we find some interesting stuff underneath! Some students stuck to adding things to within existing toys, but others were able to create some transportation-related, completely new tools.


One student takes out a controller for an old electronic toy and turns it into a kind of steering wheel!


Two students collaborate on disassembling an alphabet toy.

Good work, makers! Check out more pictures at this Flickr album.


Quotable: On the power of handmade

Decorative graphic that reads, "When we make something with our hans, it changes the way we feel, which changes the way we think, which changes the way we act." Quote attributed to Carl Wilkens in Terry Tempest Williams's book The Hour of Land

Source: Williams, Terry Tempest. 2016. The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks. New York: Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016: Strawbees, Junk Box, Toy Take Apart, and More!

This was our next-to-last meeting before the holiday break, and we were busy!

Our menu:
MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
We’re still disassembling Santa from a few weeks ago …

MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
Time to tackle Santa’s feet and base! MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
So many resistors and capacitors inside the base of Santa!

MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
Best set of capacitors and resistors we’ve seen so far this semester — all lurking under Santa’s feet. MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
Look what was inside Santa’s head!

MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
ANOTHER speaker inside Santa’s feet? MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
Roominate remains popular — so much furniture was made today.

MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
New this week — Strawbees. So many enormous straw snowflakes were made. MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
Trevor was first to tackle Strawbees – he set a high bar for imaginative use.

MM@Mitchell 12/6/2016
Junk box creations


For more photos from this week, check out our Flickr album.

Next week is our last of the semester. We’ll have special gift-making and gift-wrapping stations!


Photo of boy taking toy apart

MM@Mitchell 11/29/2016: So much taking apart!

This was session three of our five-week sprint. Take a look at what was on offer:
MM@Mitchell 11/29/2016

We saw great maker mindset in person when the laptops could barely hold on a charge — they had gotten a workout during the day — and the students went with the flow and flexibly swapped out laptops to make things work. That’s the kind of approach to life we like to see!

The popular stations this week were definitely toy take apart (with Ben this time as your mentor) and the Roominate kit.

Check out our makers in action!

MM@Mitchell 11/29/2016
Two pairs of hands make toy takeapart a lot faster!


MM@Mitchell 11/29/2016 This mechanical Santa had so much to unpack that it took three pairs of hands!   MM@Mitchell 11/29/2016 Who knew Santa’s arms were wires but that his legs actually have knees?   MM@Mitchell 11/29/2016 Poor Santa — but so interesting to take apart!  

MM@Mitchell 11/29/2016
It’s great to spread out with the LEGOs. We have a fuller box this year, so there are plenty of bricks for inspiration.


MM@Mitchell 11/29/2016
M realizes that he can connect a motor from the Roominate box to some fluff left over from last week’s take apart. Not only does the motor attach itself into the fluff, it can actually twist it into yarn. Check out the video below!


MM@Mitchell 11/29/2016
Who knew we could invent a knitting machine?

Here are some things we are learning:

  1. It’s a new thing to use a screwdriver!
  2. “Lefty loosey, righty tighty.”
  3. Press down with the screwdriver while you turn it.
  4. The inside of toys can be a big surprise!

For more photos from this week, check out this week’s Flickr album.


Photo of inside of an electronic toy guitar

MM@Mitchell 11/22/2016: Teamwork

After not having enough for everyone to do this week, we loaded up our van! We introduced toy takeapart, brought back some building tools like Tinkertoys and LEGO, and did some more Check out our photos here and in this week’s Flickr album.
MM Toy Take Apart 11/22/2016
We worked in partners this week not only with but with toy takeapart as well. We had two groups of technicians, one taking apart this toy guitar, and the other taking apart a mechanical bear.


MM Toy Take Apart 11/22/2016 When you work with mechanical/electronic toys, you add scissors to your toolkit!  

MM@Mitchell 11/22/2016 Blockly photos by KF
Paired programming with

MM@Mitchell 11/22/2016 Blockly photos by KF
We are impressed by how well the Mitchell makers work together on projects. That’s a great life skill, makers!


MM@Mitchell 11/15/2016: Activate!

YAY! We are back at Mitchell School for five week this fall! We planned to introduce kids to and make buttons for name tags. But OOPS! We didn’t realize that the laptop cart was locked up and forgot to bring a Plan B. So we sent Kamya back to campus to get some engineering toys, and Kristin had some yarn in her car we used to teach braiding. We like how Mitchell makers go with the flow when things get weird and steer clear of whining. We don’t like to be unprepared, so your good attitude made a big difference!

Here are some photos of the day:

Michigan Makers at Mitchell 11/15/2016 - some photos by Jo!
Welcome menu

Michigan Makers at Mitchell 11/15/2016 - some photos by Jo!
Using Kristin’s computer to test-drive for next week (fingers crossed!)


Michigan Makers at Mitchell 11/15/2016 - some photos by Jo!
Using the punch to cut out templates for making name tag badges


Michigan Makers at Mitchell 11/15/2016 - some photos by Jo!
Whew! We were relieved when Kamya brought us some other things to tinker with!
Michigan Makers at Mitchell 11/15/2016 - some photos by Jo!
Ben says, “Activate!” whenever they push the button on the Badge-O-Matic II. It is funny every time. We observed how closely the makers watched the people ahead of them so they would know how to set up their button with little prompting from us. Nice strategy, makers!   Michigan Makers at Mitchell 11/15/2016 - some photos by Jo! Success! Check out additional photos in this Flickr album. Kristin

Michigan Makers returns to Mitchell on Tues 11/15 after school!

Hello, everyone! If you’re a third grader who likes to take stuff and turn it into something else, you just might be a maker. See Mr. Hilton at Mitchell for a permission slip. Space is limited, and we cannot wait to see you in two weeks!

Kristin, Kamya, and Ben

Last Makers Session of the Year at Scarlett! :'(

How did an entire school year just fly by? Because a majority of the Mentors will be graduating in a few short weeks, this week marked the last Michigan Makers session until we return in the fall! We had a full range of STEAM activities for our students to dive into: resistance dying, LittleBits, Rainbow Looms, Legos, and TechBox Tricks. There’s something for everyone!



I was inspired by this simple yet cool idea for using rubber bands, paper, and cardboard (which we had lying around and went unused by our students for some time):


Can you believe that with a little bit of water color, you can make that? We brought this idea to our students, and they all went for it! You could hear a lot of, “Hey, how did you do that?” and, “How did you make that effect?” going around among students. Our Makers were more than happy to share with their peers how they made a certain effect and to share tips on how to make the rubber band lines more distinct (TIP: Gently dab the water color onto the paper, no wiping!).



One of our students admitted that she’s terrible at art and was convinced that whatever she makes is going to look bad (thus deciding not to try). We reassured her that if she didn’t like what she made, that’s OK! We encouraged her to try anyways and let her know that all the Makers were there to experiment and ask/offer help to each other when we needed it. One of her friends made a design that she liked, and after asking her friend how she could get her paper to like her friend’s, she engaged more with the activity and stuck it out to the end, making her own custom design.


Legos have been a hit with our savvy Makers, and this week was no exception! Students dove into the bin, building airplanes, landscapes, houses, and cars.


We had sets of TechBox Tricks out and tipped them off on how a simple circuit from the Techbox Tricks could power up and bring their Lego cars to life. You should see how hard they worked: Tinkering away, they were tried balancing battery packs in the vehicles and positioning a small motor to spin a car’s axles. Other vehicles ran on potential energy stored in a wound-up rubber band strung across the axles! Watch out, world. We’ve got some problem-solving, super motivated engineers coming your way in a few years!





It’s been a great year with these Makers. Every week, we’re impressed with how these students put their heads together and commit to making something. We’re proud of all the hard work they’ve put  in this year and hope they continue to be Makers in the future!

Page 1 of 9

Images © 2015 Regents of the University of Michigan. Text available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise stated. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of​ ​Museum and Library Services RE-05-15-0021-15.