Author Archives: syaizza

Tinkering in the early years

Implemented for the first year, Creative Curious Tinkers is a collaboration between Science Centre Singapore and the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) under the Innovation Guidance Programme (IGP). 30 pre schools participated in the programme with the intention of developing a tinkering corner, makerspace or maker curriculum in the school. .

As this was the first full day workshop that we have done, especially for teachers for the really oung ones, we had a nice challenge curating the right kind of activities. We decided to have plenty of reflections to complement the many hands on activities. Much of the inspiration for the reflections and sharing, as well as activity faciltiation came from the Innovative Learning Centre, led by Susan Crichton. The team had a chance to meet up with Susan last year when she was in Singapore and had several insights into the training of educators which we put in place. We were also very inspired by Maureen Carrol from the D. school and copied activities unabashedly from her book DesignEd.

Standup, have vertical surfaces, plenty of open ended activities, lots of movement and cross pollination – these are what make Making and Tinkering different from sit down programmes at school.  Making ties very closely to self directed learning, and it was important for the teachers to understand the role of the tinkering space to bring out the individual creativity of the student.

We had three activities – the Marshmallow Challenge, Squishy Circuits and the Marble Run. T

Where appropriate, we tied the activities to the kinderarten learning framework and the iTeach principles.  It was helpful to do this mapping, both for us, as the teachers, enabling them to look at Making and Tinkering beyond a Science Activity. Much of this also came out in the teachers’ mid curriculum implementation. We heard statements like “Tinkering is a totally different approach. That is what we realized as we put the programme together”, which was very heartening to hear.

We had a tinkering kit that we put together, as well as a relevant resource kit with starter activities. Another wonderful thing that we discovered was how willing teachers were to stretch their students. We had teachers enthusiastically jumping on activities like cardboard automata and paper circuits, which we had included in the activity list with some trepadition, due to the level of fine motor skills involved. But as far as we could observe, both from the teacher enthusiasm as well as the videos of the children that were shared with us, kids as young as five and six have no problems at all with these activities.

During the brainstorming session, teachersbrought up excellent concepts from what they have learnt and included ideas which they felt will be useful to help build the skills in a child.

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We are really looking forward to the work by the teachers and to share what the preschoolers are tinkering.

Weekend Ranger Leather

Life is full of the unexpected. Who would know that something we dread doing can turn into a hobby or a career. For TJ, it all started when he was in Basic Military Training. When most of his campmates, including himself, were struggling to get their boots shiny, he noticed that his buddy always had the brightest, shiniest boots without ever seeing him polishing them.

It definitely got him thinking and after much ‘interrogation’, he discovered that his buddy was a leather crafter and he knew just how to get his boots shiny in the quickest and shortest time possible. From there, they exchanged ideas and it was pretty much how his interest in leather crafting started.

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His girlfriend also played a part on why he decided to start on leather crafting. As quoted by TJ, “my girlfriend is a fan of leather, always popping into retail shops, picking up leather shoes off the shelves and smelling them (yes, I know that she has a problem)”. Instead of spending a huge amount of money buying leather products, he prefers making them as it allows for freedom, creativity and the ability to conform to any shape or any design that one wants.

First Handmade Leather Product

The first thing that he made was a mobile phone sleeve for his girlfriend. Slowly, he experimented further, making more leather items ranging from name card holders to backpacks.

It is never easy to learn. Even after about 6 years of crafting experience, TJ is still learning each day. Taking it slow as he feels that leather crafting is still like a hobby to him, he is definitely looking into making it a full-time business when the opportunity arises.

While working on project pieces, he makes it a point to be attentive in designing and drawing out templates as leather is something which is not cheap to make a mistake on. It usually takes him about an hour for simpler projects but up to about 3 weeks or more if the projects are complicated ones, such as a backpack.

If you want to learn to be a leather crafter like TJ, or even exchange ideas with him, head over to Maker Faire Singapore 2016 at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) on 25th and 26th June to take a look at his design piece!

Post your Maker Faire Singapore photos with official Hashtag: #sgmakerfaire

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Istana Open House 2016

It was truly an eye-opening experience to be present at the Istana’s Open House. Having a wide variety of pop-up makerspaces set-up to engage families and their children in a hands-on learning experience of creating and building on their own makes the moment even more  treasured. It was a heart-warming experience to see so many children and their parents enjoying themselves in the activities that they do, which is in conjunction with our theme, ‘Happy City’.

The event was a collaboration between the Life Long Learning Institute, Science Centre Singapore, the Workforce Development Agency (WDA), community partners which includes Imagin8ors, Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) and local makers Elda Webb, Annabel Tan, Adrian Curic and Bart Ting, to propose a fulfilling parent-child tinkering session to experience learning through Making. Both parent and child were encouraged to build and make on their own elements of a vision of a future Singapore, which can then be placed on a 6m by 6m city map of Singapore.

 

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It was nice to see everyone enjoying themselves at the various pop-up spaces.

Children were encouraged to play around and have fun with what they make at the ‘Cars’ and ‘Planes and Boats’ pop-up space. Participants were given resources like foam boards, foam sheets, wooden dowels, balloons, vibromotors and straws to create on their own. As for ‘Boats’,  the really young kids had a great time splashing in a mini wading pool and blowing their boats.

What can be more alluring than flying balloons? Balloons with wings, of course. And so when we ran out of wing materials halfway through the day, the team improvised wildly and tore up all the flyers to make plane wings.

Annabel, a Maker herself facilitated participants in making ‘people-like’ creation using polymer clay. And then we had to chase them to place their people on the map, because, the people were obviously too pretty and everyone wanted to bring them home.

Here at ‘Buildings’,  volunteers from the Ground Up Initiative created buildings using various sizes of wooden blocks and also artificial grass.

As for ‘Circuits’, the participants were encouraged to make something out of colourful dough or a cut-out using foam sheets and construction papers which they can then form a circuit with LEDs, crocodile clips, copper tapes and batteries respectively. Decorative items like googly eyes, feathers and pipe cleaners were also provided for them to be open in their creation. Some of our favorites – Giant squids and Sea Dragonous Giganticus Maximus in the oceans of Singapore. And then someone had to make a Jurassic park to house these giant beasts!

Plant lovers were especially attracted to the ‘Nature’ pop-up space as it not only allowed them to make their own planter but they are able to choose which plants they prefer as there were a few types of plants provided for them to choose.

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As evening set in, a giant cardboard lion rose out of the tent, giving its blessings to the makers in the space. Inspired by the lion, families got together to make their own picnic tables and chairs using cardboard blockies.

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Through it all, it was a really fun-filled event and we hope to see everyone filled with excitement again in our next event!

The president himself dropped by at the makerspace and added the finishing touches to the model of the Istana. We were very heartened to see both Mr and Mrs Tan confidently using the glue gun to attach pillars and the Singapore flag to the Istana, which indeed looked beautiful presiding over the Singapore map.

 

 

 

 

Innovative Maker Projects by Raffles Girls School

Excited to showcase their interest for the upcoming year’s exhibition when they were told about the Maker Faire Singapore 2015, they started working on their project since March 2015 and was encouraged to sign up for the Maker Faire Singapore 2016. The two teams from Raffles Girls School (RGS) will be taking part in Maker Faire Singapore this year at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to showcase their respective team’s project.

The participants from team RGS

RGS

As part of their Research Studies project, the two teams worked respectively on planning and coming up with a solution for their projects.

‘SMART Locker’

Benda, Pei Ying, Xiao Ran and Joy are the inventors in Group 1. Under the programme’s Smart School System division, the girls started out by coming up with an effective solution using technology, in which it is able to solve the problems faced by both the students and staff. As a team, they invented ‘SMART Locker’, to improve their schools locker security system.

The SMART locker is a relatively affordable assignment submissions solution to replace basic locker. Its essential features included in­built SMS­ notification and security systems.  To achieve all this, they made use of the Arduino microcontrollers, oneSheeld shield, various sensors/actuators and Grove starter kits (by seeedStudio).

Inspirations from their everyday life plays a part in their creation as they realise that people do face challenges on a regular basis and that is what they feel interested makers should gain to be able to create something innovative.

Take a look at their video!

SMART Locker Demonstration Video from Brenda Tay on Vimeo.

‘SMART Air-Conditioner System’

Tze Yee, Venice, Nicole and Ruth are the inventors in Group 2. In their case, it is about finding a solution in dealing with global warming as it has since been a rising problem. Together as a group, they spent a huge amount of time researching on their project, even away from their allocated project sessions so that they are able to come up with an effective solution to the problem.

Tinkering is something they engage with together most of the time to assist in building their ideas further.  Their project uses Arduino IDE software to automatically on-off air- conditioners based on people count and the surrounding temperature. This is applicable in places, which requires air-conditioning for example classrooms, offices and research labs.

Being able to come up with something beneficial for many, these girls feel that creativity and simplicity are one of the few crucial aspects of an innovative invention.

Now take a look at their video!

SMART Air-Conditioner System Video Clip from PH on Vimeo.

With their determination and passion in engineering, the two teams were able to overcome the challenges faced and created their own customised and functional systems. Do drop by Maker Faire Singapore 2016, 25th and 26th June to look at their intelligent creation up-front!

Post your Maker Faire Singapore photos with official Hashtag: #sgmakerfaire

 

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) by Hakim

Many of us like to wonder about the operating mechanics behind machines and how an inventor comes up with a brilliant idea. As such, curiosity is one factor that makes everything about inventing works.

Hakim is a maker who is always curious about how things work. He is always handling a project at any time be it for work, personal or community. He came to know about Maker Faire Singapore last year when he participated as one of the makers under HackerspaceSG. There, he showed a LEGO robot controlled via Bluetooth using an iPhone (http://www.abdulhakimhamid.com/mf2015). Therefore this year, he hopes to spread the mantra of being a ‘citizen scientist’ so that anyone can give a go at building something to discover something new.

Creator

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)

For Hakim’s case, the idea of creating his own operating machine was partly from watching James Cameron’s documentary “Deepsea Challenge” and also his fascination for the unknown beneath us. He noticed that there are a lot of developments made for terra and space exploration but nothing much for underwater. As such, he is curious to know how feasible it is to make a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and compare it with industrial grade ones that costs up to 50 times more.

To start with, his creation is known as an underwater ROV. It has onboard HD video camera that provides live video feed to the surface on a laptop via a tether cable. Onboard batteries provide a run time of 60minutes. It is designed to go to a depth of 100metres underwater. Both vertical and horizontal thrusters provide propulsion underwater and since it is designed to be neutrally buoyant, it can maintained its bearing at any depth.

ROV

Come and give Hakim’s uniquely constructed ROV a visit at Maker Faire Singapore 2016 held at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) on the 25th and 26th June! We hope to see you bring your curiosity and build imaginative ideas there!

Post your Maker Faire Singapore photos with official Hashtag: #sgmakerfaire

 

SCSA Teachers Workshop

Students are known to be more creative as compared to teachers when it comes to activities like making a toy. However, adults’ like teachers should not be discouraged by the creativity of their students when it comes to creating a toy or a design. It is a skill in which everyone can learn and develop at any point of time in their life.

Most teachers often see workshops like these as a refreshment course for them. Although they may be teaching for a long period of time, it has been quite a while since they sat in a class feeling like a ‘student’ again. One of the most amazing observations I had was to actually see teachers themselves being so engaged in the activities that they were tasked to do, especially working in groups together with teachers from various schools. The fact that they have the same interest shows how strong the interaction was among them, striving towards creating something which they would definitely want to bring back and show it to their students.

Here are some photos during the workshop.

 

The workshop was conducted to introduce teachers to exploring common tools and materials with some hands-on activities, leading to the annual Sony Creative Science Award (SCSA) Competition. This year’s theme is ‘Rise and Shine’ and the teachers were taken through 2 activities in which one is linked to the other. It is to prepare the teachers and give them a rough idea on what is expected of the participants for the competition.

Some of the tools and materials that we brought along with us to the workshop are wooden blocks, cardboards and foam boards, glue guns, LEDs, playdoh, drill, soldering iron and wooden sticks. We introduced to them various tools and materials as we wanted them to learn and familiarise themselves with the tools. We believe that it is a good way in getting them to use the tools to build further on their creativity, thus bringing the experience back to their students.

It was also a pleasant sight to see the teachers using the tools provided for them as it shows the creativity they had to make their toy.

Here are photos of a few of the teachers using the tools provided.

Before they were given the time to start making, an example was shown to get them started on forming their ideas. One observation made was that the teachers are detailed in their creation. While some made the toy in an interesting and attractive way, majority on the other hand make it a point to create a toy with a goal for the children to achieve.

Here are two short videos of the teachers sharing what they have done.

If you are interested for updates and information on the Sony Creative Science Award (SCSA) Competition, click here.

Making in Art – 13th February 2016

We would like to thank everyone who have taken their time off to attend the Making in Art workshop at Science Centre. The importance of the workshop was to promote parent and child bonding while at the same time allowing participants to engage in multiple hands-on activities teaching them about Science, Art and Technology, and we were glad to notice that the children were enjoying themselves with the activities along with their family.

Here are some photos during the workshop.

More Photos can be viewed here.

Here is a video that you can see.

For those who have missed the workshop, here are some activities that were conducted during the workshop which you can try.

Paper Circuits: There are many creative ways in which you can play around with circuits. Here is one http://www.sciencebuddies.org/blog/2015/04/creative-circuits-with-copper-tape.php

Soldering: Soldering may seem daunting to a beginner, but young kids can handle a soldering iron. Try your hand at PCB design Easy, EDA.

String Art: String art may be tedious as the cuts required have to be symmetrically aligned, however, it is a good way to integrate art with Mathematics. It is also a great way to improve patience and fine motor skills.  Here is a video tutorial in which you can start from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-diObeiBeQ

Conductive Silicone: Andrew Quitmeyer has shared his tutorial on conductive silicone! Gives breadboarding a completely different view. Here is the link for reference http://hackaday.com/2016/01/07/conductive-silicone-makes-flexible-circuits/

You can also check out Makezine and Instructables as it offers great ideas on projects that you can make at home.

We hope you can join us at our next workshop on the 9th of April going with the theme Making Toys and Games. This would be a great time to look at homemade and self made toys, everything from low tech “Kampung style” toys to robotic toys. You can register at https://www.regonline.sg/2016workshop2

 

 

Pop-Up Makerspace at Junyuan Secondary School

The Pop-Up Makerspace was a 2-day weekend event held at Junyuan Secondary School, in conjunction with the yearly Bursary Awards Ceremony. The idea of organising a Pop-Up Makerspace during the ceremony was to introduce the Maker Mindset to students and families. Some may not have heard of ‘Making’ while others would be more interested to learn more about it, especially when there are hands-on experiences provided for them to work on projects at the various booths.

Students were encouraged to participate in the activities hosted by the various booths where they explored learning, Science, tech, and craft in innovative and experiential ways. Playeum was one of the hosts for the activities. Parents and kids work on the art of speed booth, creating their own wheeled-gadget. The activity was very open ended, encouraging creativity.

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Playeum’s booth complemented the space by Imagin8ors, and many kids walked over to motorize their wheeled gadgets.

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Annabel, a polymer clay artist and Priyanka, a paper quilling artist taught families about low tech making. Participants gained basic knowledge of different crafts.

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We had brought in the WaterColorBot, previously showcased at the Hour of Code. Students were very interested in the robot as they are able to paint the image that they want, knowing that is operated through the WaterColorBot that is being controlled by an Arduino and three motors. Many of the parents were wowed, especially when we shared that the WaterColorBot was the brainchild of a ten-year-old. We were glad that sharing the WaterColorBot made visitors to the space think deeper on how such products are being invented and thus broadens their imagination through the brainstorming of ideas.

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And then there were goodies! Participants to the space got to bring home a Google Cardboard (VR Google Kit) that they could develop for.

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