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Showing posts from 2014

Everybody Freeze it's Anna and Elsa!

Elsa and Anna joined the staff at Startpoint Coffee shop bringing Disney magic and sparkle to the Christmas light switch on at Woodley this weekend. 

We made dashing Sven's and dancing Anna and Elsa's using a vibrating motor, a paper cup, a coin cell, and some craft materials. 

No time to come to an event then download one of our activity sheets and do it yourself at home. See our latest activities.

More Maker Fun with Olaf. What is your funniest Frozen joke? Mine is about Olaf. Here comes Olaf. 
Q. What is Olaf's favourite food?

A. Frozen carrots

No! Click on Olaf to find out. 

Now try it for yourself! Click on the 'remix' button and make your own 'meme' using Mozilla Webmaker. Here a meme is a picture and some text that can be copied and changed by others and shared again. 

Mozzilla Thimble will open and the tutorial will guide you through how to make your meme! 

Stockport CoderDojo - November

Warning Contains Spoilers!Thanks to Eddie, Ellen and James Stockport CoderDojo has got their very own Christmas e-card. It's amazing what you can do with a Raspberry Pi and lots of great ideas!

We converted our table top animation rig into a top down rig with a painted background. Just add imagination!

Now try this yourself at home.
You will need:
1 x Raspberry Pi 1 x Pi camera 1 x bread board  1 x push button switch 2 male to female jumper leds
Miss Philbin from Geek Gurl Diaries shows you how to get started with your Pi camera.

For written step-by-step instructions on how to write a simple python program to turn you Pi-Camera into push button camera, to take  your first self and then set up your own stop motion then check out these resources from the Pi Foundation.

Space Pi and Life on Mars

What would it be like to live on Mars? We took a light hearted look at what life might be like  on Mars in 2025.

We added biospheres for living and growing crops and a swimming pool to relax. We captured life on our planet using a Raspberry Pi and a pi cam that we put together as a stop motion studio.   

By the end of the session we had our own satellite dish engineered from a LittleBits Space Kit. Ready to broadcast those first reports and give the people left on Earth a unique insight to life on Mars in 2025.    

What will the journey from Earth to Mars 
be like for those first astronauts? Here is 
a short clip from the film 'Roving Mars' 
that follows the journey of the Mars Explorer Rover Spirit from launch to landing on Mars. Much of the footage is computer generated 
but based on photos and data from other 
Mars rovers and probes. 
Would you leave Earth to go and live on another planet? 

Why is CoderDojo Amazing and Awesome?

Every time I go to a CoderDojo I have this moment where I look around during the session and glimpse the future. 

Today the kids and young people at Manchester CoderDojo were building a ghost train in Minecraft, creating space animations with a Raspberry Pi, learning Python, exploring Scratch & creating role playing games in Javascript.

Take a 30 second tour and see for yourself.

Why is it amazing and awesome?

Within the next decade I think some of the most important inventions and technological  advances will come from kids who went to CoderDojo on a regular basis. It might be ground breaking nano-tech or a biotech cure for the incurable, or more likely stuff that I can't even imagine yet. But as I looked around Manchester CoderDojo today I had that feeling that great things start like this. That is with a bunch of kids from 6 to 17 who think coding and being creative with technology is a fun, cool thing to do with your friends on a Sunday afternoon. 

New to CoderDojo? 

CoderDojo …

Animation Workshop at Eureka!

Eureka is an amazing place for young curious minds. We were so pleased to be asked to help deliver activities as part of their 'Made by Me' season. 

In the latest Eureka blockbuster two snakes fall in love, Elsa gets her own back a throws snow balls at Olaf and two ducks dance the day away. Here are the results, animations made by you on the 23rd of August at Eureka!

Many thanks to the staff and visitors who welcomed us and supported the workshops.
If you are new to making save the date and go to Halifax Mini Maker Faire on Saturday 30th August. It’ll be a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and imagination, celebrating the Maker in all of us.

Maker Faire Manchester, Stop Motion - Saturday and Sunday Films

Here is Part 1 of our amazing animated short created at Manchester Mini Maker Faire this Saturday. Thank you to all of our stop motion artists who created crazy characters to tell even crazier stories. Rabbit outwits the skinny fox, Pac-man makes a return and much more!

Want more? See Part 2 our Sunday Film. Sven saved Elsa from a burning building but Snowman was blasted by a Creeper.  

These animations were created with plasticine, using A Raspberry Pi computer and lots of imagination! 

We used a bread board and buttons connected to the GPIO pins on the Pi instead of relying on a GUI interface.

We made tweaks late into the night a head of the show.   

Manchester Mini Maker Faire

Wow, we had a fantastic time at Manchester Mini Maker Faire. The whole family came to deliver our 2 second animation challenge! kids created their own characters from plasticine and brought those stories to life using stop motion animation. We were able to show and tell lots of families about our latest Raspberry Pi project.

We captured an amazing 40 animations over two days. With an average of just two seconds per animation we are 'chaining' those animations together to create two short films for each day at the faire. Congratulations makers you created awesome animations. Check back tomorrow when we will publish the films!

What's the Commotion? It's Stop Motion with Raspberry Pi

I think you will agree Robin Hood is as nimble and as swashbuckling as ever!

We celebrated the final session of this series of Maker Fun with a cool a stop motion animation work shop led by guest animator Paul Claessens. We rebuilt and re-programmed our Raspberry Pi to create this stop motion kit. 

Our star maker of month was the first to try out our new Raspberry Pi set-up. 

He created his first animated short; the Adventures of Robin Hood Re-told in 5 Seconds!
We had so much fun we are going to take our stop motion set to Manchester Mini Maker Faire. Pop along to the MOSI next weekend if you would take the 2 second challenge and help us create a chain animation.  

Butterfly Pi and the Great Escape

We did it! We captured the moment our Painted Ladies emerged from their chrysalides using our Butterfly Pi. There really is a Pi and Pi cam buried in that awesome Lego housing!

Why don't you put your Raspberry Pi to use this Summer and capture what nature is doing in your back garden! Don't forget to share it. #makerfun #raspberrypi

It was a lovely sunny day when we released the butterflies and we couldn't believe what happened next. Our Painted Ladies crept up onto the girls fingers for a little help with their great escape. 

They were in no hurry to leave and we were all fascinated by the chance to observe them before they finally flew away. 

It was a magical metamorphosis. We raised 5 very hungry caterpillars that ate so much they exploded to eight times there original size. They hung upside down and turned into Chrysalides. Check out our Caterpillar Pi video too. Before finally emerging as beautiful butterflies. The Butterfly kit and 5 live caterpillars came from Insect L…

Caterpillar Pi

A few weeks ago the kids got a butterfly hatching kit from their favourite aunt. Can you guess what our caterpillars got up to last night?

As you can see caterpillar number three became a chrysalis! Now we have three chrysalides and a crazy, hungry caterpillar still throwing shapes into the night.

How did this happen? The caterpillar hangs in a 'j' shape and sheds their exoskeleton for one last time before hardening into a chrysalis. We hope to capture the birth of our butterflies in a week or so time.

How did we do it?

We hooked up our pi with pi-camera and attached an eye- glass to shorten the focal length of the pi-camera. We used a cold light to light up the scene into the night.Check out our lego housing. We can change the height of the camera using the gears!We modified an existing time-lapse program. 
There is lots of great stuff out there: 
For inspiration and to discover other great projects see: Raspberry Pi foundation.
For local events keep an eye on the Manchester Raspber…

Maker Fun is Back With a Splash of Paint

Maker Fun Summer events started this week with our crazy scurrying art bots!  

We are so pleased to be back for a new series of events and have had an amazing week supporting the launch of the 2014-2015 Hannah Directory.

Kevin Fitzpatrick from Radio Manchester came to visit Maker Fun HQ, also known as our 'kitchen table' and recorded a fantastic report for the Mike Sweeny show. Mike was on great form and his show amplified the message that there are so many great things happing in communities across the North West. 

The Hannah Directory goes even further and connects 50 inspiring people and organisations from Newcastle to Gateshead, Durham, Leeds, Sheffield, Huddersfield, Manchester, Stockport, Preston, Barrow and Liverpool: It's a diverse collective combing old and traditional knowledge and a celebration of community endeavour.   

We are proud to be part of Hannah Directory as we strive to make a difference in our own community and are encouraged and s…

Our First Rube Machine!

Why keep it simple and do things the easy way when you can build a Rube Goldberg machine. We got inventive and found an over-complicated way to blow bubbles at Manchester Coderdojo last Sunday. We took Brio, Rosie the train, our favourite Zhu Zhu pet, balloons, fans, motors, switches and more. 

We made bubble blowers out of socks and re-used drinks bottles before setting to work on our machine. 

Take a look: 

The lovely people on the Minecraft table built an awesome bubble machine too. Now the trick is to get a bubble from our machine into their Minecraft world.

What next? The Rube machine theme is set to run for another two months. We would like to create all kinds of art bots at the June event and have the critters scurrying in and out of the real and digital world; leaving paint trails behind them. I can sense another magnificent challenge for those Minecrafters. 

Come and join the fun at Manchester CoderDojo where young people code and make.

Introducing The Glitter Bugs

Our glitter bugs were a hit at Maker Faire UK

We loved making our vibrating glitter bugs and bird bots from the first ones we made at home before the show ... 

... right through to the 100th bug we made at Newcastle Maker Faire!

Hats of to our supplier of vibrating motors; Precision Microdrives, an excellent product and not one fail!

New Sessions on the Events Calendar

New sessions starting the first Saturday in June. Further details will follow very soon. 

I have been super busy getting reading and going to Maker Faire UK in Newcastle last weekend. Lots of great things to share but I will focus on getting the events details up ASAP.

Way Back to 1936

Electroluminescent wire also know as EL wire was invented in 1936 by Frenchman Georges Destriau. Today's EL wire is flexible and gives 360 degrees of glowy strands of light! 

We used our EL wire to make aliens and Jelly fish. 

The moment of truth .... it illuminates!

Dragon Slime Time!

The fun is endless when you create dragon snot and slime!

Step 1. First design you dragon

Step 2: Make your dragon snot.

We had lots of fun!

We are going to put our recipes online soon so that you can share them with your friends. Sign up to our newsletter and you will be among the first to find out. 

We will be back in Marple in June, don't stop making!

What's All Stat About?

We want to shout about our numbers and reflect on what our data says about our journey so far.

Maker Fun has delivered 81 makes over 10 events since we started in December 2013.

We have welcomed 41 individual makers to our sessions! 

61% or our makers are girls and 39% of our makers are boys.

28 parents have supported their kids making cool stuff at our sessions. 

Our top three events were Dancing Angels and Dashing Reindeer where we made bots using vibration motors, Crazy Cases introducing e-textiles and the Hour of Code UK were we coded Angry Birds and programmed BeeBots.

We have developed unique activities for Maker Fun. 

What's next?

We think this is a good start but we want to double the number of makes we have delivered by the end of this month. And we will be hosting lots of sessions at Newcastle Maker Faire on the 26th and 27th of April at Newcastle Centre for Life to reach this goal.    

We are going to look at ways of making our sessions sustainable. We would like to reduce the…

1010011001 11001 11000101001001

Ok, perhaps the title is not exactly 'Hour of Code' in binary but it does capture the essence of our latest Maker Fun session. From Bee-Bots to Angry Birds we did the Hour of Code! I am happy to say we all made it and deserved our certificates at the end of it.

Dads Can Sew Too!

We had great fun making our crazy cases; decorating them with fabric pens and adding LEDs using conductive thread. As you can see from the highlights from the session dads can sew too! 

 Click on our 'Events Calendar' and find out which events are coming soon.

Crazy Cases - What A Hoot!

'Crazy Cases' kicked off the new series of Maker Fun Events earlier today. Some fabulous designs. This one before we added some LEDs to brighten owl's night sky!  It was a tricky session sewing with conductive thread and sharp needles! Did you know dads can sew too. Look out for the high-lights on the next Maker Fun video coming soon.    

Want to join in the fun? Come to our events:

This design reminds me of that cute Pixar animation called 'For the Birds' (2000).  

Tried and Tested

Don't delay reserve a place today!

We have had lots of fun trying out and testing our activities and we are ready for the first session this Saturday at Marple Library.

Maker Fun Spring Events Go Live!

Crazy Cases: 22nd of February What a Hoot!

Just Kidding:1st of March

Hour of Code: 8th of March 

Dragon Training School: 15th of March 

Message for Mum: 22nd March

Glow in the Dark: 29th of March

Don't delay book a place today.

Workshop Tasters - Going live later this week

Six weeks of Maker Fun coming very soon... We can't wait our events are set to go live at the end of this week. See you there.  

Workshop Tasters - So you think you know about dragons!

Coming Soon... 

Session: Dragon Training School

Could you spot a mood dragon from a stink dragon or a glow dragon? We will smell, squeeze and stretch dragon snot and slime to find out which dragon it came from.
Then you will create your own dragon slime and design a new daring dragon!

Maker Fun is Going to Maker Faire, April 26th & 27th Newcastle 2014

I'm really excited to announce that Maker Fun is going to have a stand at Maker Faire UK, we are going to be running drop-in workshops and telling everyone about our fabulous maker sessions that we run in Marple Library. 
I went last year as a visitor and saw so many exciting things; fire breathing dragons, dancing storm troopers and a crazy bio tech tongue survey. 
Hosted by the Centre for Life in Newcastle it's a great family event. Book your tickets early and join in the Maker Fun. 
Maker Faire UK

The Devil is in the Detail!

Having lots of fun sourcing the materials for the next Maker Fun sessions. Just wanted to share a couple of moments that made me laugh or gasp out loud.

Looking for glow powder for a cool 'dragons blood and dragon slime' make that I have in mind. Found a glow powder that is based on a food additive instead of Zinc Sulphide and came across a foodies blog on the same. BadRabbit speculates on how to make food glow: 

"I bet Firefly butts are edible. Not positive of that and I don't really know how you'd find out but I seem to remember reading about a culture that ate them." 

"Edit: Nevermind. They are toxic..."

Thank you Badrabbit, you made me laugh out loud. More here: Luminescent food techniques.

And here is the one that made me gasp! Trying to source electro luminescent wire, EL or glow wire from cheapest source. Wrote to a couple of companies in China with interesting results. Was happy that my first quote was competitive but looked into the other activ…

Maker Fun Returns: Stop Press!

Hold the dates... Maker Fun is back
We will host 6 new sessions starting in February.

Returning to Marple Library, each session will run between 9.30am and 10.30am.

Details coming soon until then here are the dates: 

22nd of February
1st of March
8th of March 
15th of March
22nd March
29th of March

My First Pi Adventure

Got my first Pi last week. OS loaded, case built, camera next. Watch this space!

A Message for Santa

Happy New Year 2014

Many thanks to everyone who supported our Maker Fun sessions. We are planning a new series of events and will be back in February.  

Now that Santa has finished his journey why not re-use your sound recorder and make your toys talk! 

If you took away one of the greeting card sound units here is a link to a how to video: 'Make an audio greeting card'