Scrapyard Junior Workshop, USA Science and Engineering Festival, April 2012.
What if teachers and after-school providers were as comfortable with electronics as they are with calculators, markers, books, and blocks? Would children then develop an innate understanding of electricity and interaction design? If kids could hack safe, low-cost computational boards, with simple in and outputs, would they begin to view themselves as makers and tinkerers? If tweens are given the tools to construct their own knowledge of circuits and switches would “sketching with hardware” become as much a part of their cultural practices as drawing, writing, posting, and re-mixing? Will these same children be better prepared and more disposed to future learning in chemistry and physics? Scrapyard Challenge Jr. explores these questions. Our team is part of the national movement to evolve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) to STEAM, folding Art and Design into the rubric.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HAVING US RUN A WORKSHOP AT YOUR EVENT PLEASE CONTACT US!
With this project we propose to prototype a low-cost and low-barrier-to-entry platform for children and adults with non-technical backgrounds to design, make, and play with materials and safe, very low-voltage electricity. Our audience is adolescent and adult pre-makers: children, parents, and teachers who may have been overwhelmed by and underexposed to STEM education. Our cohort will consist of formal teachers, informal educators, and middle school and high school kids working together as peers in both teaching and learning. Our model is multi-generational; tweens, teens, parents, and teachers are introduced to electronics and interface design via a creative challenge. As well as designing and staging the workshops, we will be creating curriculum and assessment tools.