Over the course of the last couple weeks, our first sessions of Makerspace for a Day have been nothing less than a blast. Though we spent our time differently in many ways in our most recent experiments, both weeks have provided some unique lessons that everyone has been able to appreciate.
Session 1: Planning, Design and Prototypes.
If you could make anything, what would it be? Its really kinda tough sometimes to give an answer to that question, so in order to get our creative brains working away, we decided to draw and share designs of that one thing that we’d build, if we could build just about anything. Drawings started appearing on paper of everything from helicopters to items and artifacts with what would appear to be super powers. Then we kept going, labeling the part on the page and building lists of materials that we might need to get started on our first ever iteration of these awesome invention, the prototypes!
Our next steps on our personal inventions will be to begin making scale models and crafting our first 3D models in order to produce scaled versions of our world-changing new creations.. Stay tuned for future sessions as we continue to innovate and refine our designs into something to share and demonstrate in the real world!
Session 2: Focus Groups and Gaming
As a break and sort of a treat for all of the kids’ hard work on design in the last session, i thought to see of they’d like to try out one of our inventions at CSW, and make DIY kits of wands and spell/superpower (read: foam ammo) for our SpellTag game. As an inventor, its actually a rare and valuable thing to be able to present and guide a team of curious testers, tinkers and hackers and I felt that they’d really be able to show me what aspects of my invention work best as a game, and help me gain some insight into how I could keep making it better. Again… we had a blast. From the moment I demonstrated how to fire your ammo off the end of your awesome magical wand, the lab went crazy with people crafting their own unique wands, talking excitedly about the powers they were going to imbue to their spells, and testing their wands with spells whizzing over our heads as we worked.
The best part of our day was after we had all created our wands, we learned what powers everyone had made, and practiced getting hit by a spell. Spelltag isn’t a game where its a bad thing to get hit. because we were all basically acting in improv as our own characters. So every time you get hit, its like your friend is saying, “hey, gimme a reaction!” and you got to act out your own character even more! A few times we had to stop the game due to the fact that people were laughing at the hilarious reaction someone had made when they got hit by a “lava ball” spell.
After the end of the day, I asked if everyone would rate the game as they experienced it that day on a scale of 5 possible stars, and pretty much everyone said they thought it deserved top marks except for one child. He gave it four. Amid the shouts of outrage to his lack of solidarity, I asked the boy what I could do to make the one more star, and he said simply, “Gimme your wand, I think its the coolest one…”
Session 3: Design Your Own Prototypes
Today we took a step further and began to think about that one thing we might want to try our hands at building on our own. We’d already seen in the last weeks that building something, whether it be a game, a kit, or an art piece might go through some changes and grow each time we attempt to make a prototype, so each person that took on the challenge of building their own invention was taking on quite a bit of work. Luckily, with our available tools such as a 3D printer, and a laser cutter, we knew that some materials would be a snap to create for the first time and test out. Some items that started taking shape were two rc helicopters, and a basketball hoop whose net could be made out of recycled plastic shopping bags.
Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll be iterating our creation from first drafts and drawn designs to 3d models and actual tangible items. This is going to be a big step for most, but getting that first thing you’ve created from scratch under your belt is a very important milestone in every young inventor’s life.