Category: Mitchell (Page 1 of 3)

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.


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

Making in miniature

This week at Michigan Makers saw the junk box and 3D printer still going strong! We also brought back many of the same things from the past few weeks, including littleBits, Hour of Code, Lego, and Kinex. We also brought back the Dash robots as well as the tiny Ozobot, which follows the path you draw for it and changes the color of its lights accordingly.

We finally were able to draw a path for the Ozobot

We discovered through experimentation that drawing a path for the Ozobot takes some serious pigmentation, and also that it works best when the turns are gently curved instead of right angles.

Tiny table for some tiny Shopkins!

The junk box was as popular as ever, especially for making miniatures like the tiny table for Shopkins above, and an equally tiny teacup.

Hour of Code has become a real hit with some of the kids

Hour of Code has remained a hit with a lot of the kids, some of whom have spent the majority of the last two weeks on the Blockly-based coding activities. One student told me he can’t wait to keep practicing at home and show his mom what he has been up to!

Prying off 3D prints is harder than you would think

Last but certainly not least, we have been making progress ensuring that every student who wants to print something using the 3D printer has their chance. We have been consistently impressed with how careful the students are around the printer!

One more week to go, Makers!

Costumes and Coding

The 3D printer is back! And so was the junk box, with even more fresh supplies than last week.

Tulle makes for great costumes

Did I mention that among the junk box supplies was a huge pile of tulle? Between that and the Hawaiian leis and some discarded Valentine’s Day garland, there were some truly inspired costuming creations this week.

Getting the headband just right

Popular choices were headbands, crowns, and other more elaborate headdresses, but we also had belts and what I can only describe as an improvised chest-plate made from what may once have been a woven straw trivet.

littleBits Korg kits (and coding in the background!)

I was pleased to see more interest in the littleBits kits this week, and since we were 3D printing, we had some kids ask to do Hour of Code or Build with Chrome. It’s always a little bit heartwarming to have kids asking you if they are allowed to practice computer coding.

3D design using Cookie Caster

The 3D printer was back and loaded with some gold-colored filament this week. We had some really intricate 3D creations printed this week using Cookie Caster (Kristin and I didn’t even know it was possible to make such detailed creations using that program)!

See you again next week, Makers!

littleBits Musicians

After a few weeks without Michigan Makers, this week showed a renewed burst of energy and creativity. We had to carry on with Michigan Makers this week without Kristin, who was on a whirlwind conference schedule. Thankfully, we had a parent volunteer and Sandy from Scarlett to help fill the gap! We weren’t able to bring the 3D printer this week, but we brought a lot of the old staples including the junk box, Snap Circuits, Lego and Kinex (with a new donation of Kinex from our lovely parent volunteer!).

Junk box remains as popular as ever!

We also brought in all of our littleBits kits – something which we have brought in past weeks but which has so far not gotten much attention. Because littleBits can take a bit of concentration and perseverance to master, I made a point of encouraging kids this week to give them a try.

Making music with littleBits!

It turns out, the key was just to provide a little motivation, in the form of the Korg synthesizer kits. Once some of the students realized they could make music with littleBits, they were sold. And having listened to some of their beats myself, I have to admit they may be onto something.

Cool Circuits Puzzle

We also had a fresh bout of supplies for our junk box, which translated to some extraordinary bursts of creativity! One of the creations included a video camera complete with tiny folding viewscreen on the side.

Showing off her camera

Others went very avant-garde today, choosing to express themselves through a landscape of items that they deemed representative of their “workshop.”

Fresh junk box supplies!

Great job makers – looking forward to future weeks and the return of the 3D printer.

Mitchell’s Budding 3D Designers

After last week’s successful debut of the 3D printer, we couldn’t wait to have the kids experiment with creating their own designs. We decided to try using, a website from MakerBot which allows you to draw an outline of an object using a line tool or upload and trace images, which the website automatically extrudes into 3D printed objects that are just like a cookie cutter!

Designing 3D prints using CookieCaster

We had a little bit of a hiccup getting the website to work initially, so not everyone ended up designing something today. But, we will definitely be bringing this back in future weeks so everyone can have a chance to design and 3D print an object.

3D printed house, designed using CookieCaster

It was great to see what the kids came up with. CookieCaster forced them to think very carefully about what they were going to make, since they could only use lines and had to make sure the lines connected to make an outline. Some kids said it was too hard at first – but they focused, perservered, and created some amazing stuff, like a heart, a panther, and a house.

Sweet Two-Story House Built with Roominate

This week we also finally had some girls who were able to figure out the electronic components of Roominate, which they added to the creation above. Check out a video demonstration on our Flickr!.

Hour of Code – Check out that focus!

And after an exhasting day of 3D printing, what’s a maker to do? Relax with some Hour of Code, of course.

Can’t wait to see what these kids come up with next!

3D Printer Debut at Mitchell

We had quite the menu of options this week at Mitchell!

Along with the regular offerings of Lego, Kinex, Tinker Toys, and the junk box, we also brought back the Dash robots, Roominate, the Design Studio game, and Snap Circuits as well.

Powering a fan with Snap Circuits.

And, for the fans of Snap Circuits, we also brought a few littleBits kits this week. These kits include modules that snap together and allow kids (and adults!) to build a variety of projects as they learn about inputs, outputs, and circuits.

Trying out the littleBits Space Kit.

However, the most exciting activity this week was the debut of the 3D printer!

3D Printing the Michigan “M.”

Kristin and I have seen the 3D printer operate a fair number of times, but watching the kids become entranced by the printing reminded us of how cool this technology really is to watch. Some kids spent the whole day today just watching the printer chug along!

Lego Nyan cat meets junk box UFO.

We are really looking forward to future weeks, and hoping we can give everyone the opportunity to create something of their own using the 3D printer.


Robots & Roominate

Another successful week of Michigan Makers!

New today were our always popular Dash robots, a design and prototyping game called Design Studio, as well as Roominate, a building set which also lets you set up lights and motors to control different aspects of your creation. We also brought some new Snap Circuits kits since that was such a popular activity last week.

Design Thinking with The Extraordinaires’ Design Studio

The junk box, Lego, Kinex, and Tinker Toys made a reappearance to round out today’s menu. And this week, we had two more family members volunteer, which made a huge difference for Kristin and me!

Building with Roominate

A few girls were the first to explore using our Roominate kit and were able to create a two-story house which they were working on furnishing and decorating, as well as exploring using some of the electronic components.

As usual, we had a flurry of interest in Dash and were glad that the kids were able to negotiate turns with each other so everyone who wanted to experience the robots today was able to have a chance.

Snap Circuits was a success again this week, with two girls creating a project that let them recharge a battery by winding a crank and regulating the voltage output.

The best part (for Kristin and I) was how well the kids cleaned up – they even cleaned up early, without being asked! We suspect this may be due to the positive influence of our excellent volunteers.

Keep tuned for future weeks – the 3D printer might even make an appearance at Mitchell one of these days!


Page 1 of 3

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.