Today's Young Hackspace event...

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Martin Dittus

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Feb 26, 2011, 1:49:01 PM2/26/11
to london-h...@googlegroups.com

I think everyone's exhausted after 2h of having young kids around who get excited about things, ask hard questions, make things... plus the preparation, and the cleanup session afterwards.

But it was well worth it. The day was amazing. The kids enjoyed it thoroughly, as did the parents... and so did we.

Big thanks to Tom Wyatt, Will Pearson, Daniel Hertz and Kirsten Skillen for all their enthusiasm, hard work, and the late hours spent on preparations. Without them this wouldn't have been nearly as excellent (or even possible in the first place.) Special thanks also to Mark Steward who dropped in today and helped us out in many small and big ways; turns out he's a great teacher too. And to many others who helped out beyond that (e.g. Charles Yarnold who among other things made the toilets kid-friendly.)

We learned a couple of things today that will help us make future events even better; I'll soon start adding to the project documentation [1] with more details. I made some photos [2] but was mostly distracted by the whole thing, so loads of stuff hasn't actually been captured well; maybe next time we'll organise a dedicated photographer.


A couple of points of note:
* Having the kids draw things which we would then cut and etch worked really well. The laser cutter was a bit temperamental, and crashed on one of the models; but with a bit of improvisation we could work around the delays this introduced. The kids now have something they made that they could take home.
* Similarly all demonstrations involving lasers were very successful; from simple things like shining a laser pointer at the floor (the kids instantly started trying to step on it and chase it, hilarity ensued) to things requiring more setup (making a laser tunnel with a fog machine, and having kids and parents stand in it. Everyone was delighted.)
* Mindstorms was one of the other main attractions; especially the older kids (the 5-7 year olds) couldn't get enough of it and soon started playing with it in fairly ambitious ways. They came up with a neat simple game: pick up a ball with the claw, navigate the robot to one of the desk's cable holes and try to drop the ball into it. They wouldn't get tired of it, everybody wanting to go next.
* And surprisingly the IRC board was a big attraction too, especially for the older kids who can write their own messages (and then started teaching younger kids how to type messages.) Mark related it to our own reactions when it was first set up, when everyone excitedly started playing around with it.
* Senake's daughter brought her Pleo, a great toy; generally anything robotic elicited an excited response.

I.e.: it's often the "interactive" stuff, the moments where they can do things and make things, that worked best. (In total there were about eight kids, age two to seven, plus their respective parents.)

There's loads more, but I'll leave it at that. Talk to anyone who's been here for more anecdotes.

Now off to find some more kids. We should do these every month.

m.

[1] http://wiki.hackspace.org.uk/wiki/Project:Young_Hackspace
[2] http://www.flickr.com/photos/dekstop/sets/72157626019572953/

Mark Steward

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Feb 26, 2011, 6:07:02 PM2/26/11
to London Hackspace
I'll second this - it was fantastic fun, and full of the all the best
stuff about Hackspace. I only turned up halfway through to see how it
was going, and was drawn in by the energy and excitement of everyone
involved. There's nothing better than having a kid ask to use your
laptop to write on the board, and then burst out giggling at what they
wrote.

I wasn't sure how it would pan out, but the kids were extremely well
behaved, and I'd love to see more like it.

Mark

Senake

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Feb 27, 2011, 7:09:26 AM2/27/11
to london-h...@googlegroups.com, Martin Dittus
Hi Martin & everyone who helped out yesterday,
 
 
This is just a quick note to say we all - the kids & I - had a wonderful time at Hackspace yesterday. I think the kids loved it because of your really obvious enthusiasm as well as all of the cool stuff laid on...
 
In addition to the Mindstorms robot and trying to step on the laser beam, my little boy was (strangely) very impressed with the items that had been printed out on the 3D printer. They also really liked having their laser cut animal to take home, the touch screen, the dragon wandering around and some of the other inventions (eg. the musical instrument).
 
Having had a chat with my two - aged 7 and 4:
 
(1) they seemed to like the idea of making something out of bits in team - Anouska suggested 'a big robot' - which could maybe be made from wheeels, polystyrene and maybe some mindstorms/laser cut components. Less ambitious and more realistically could be 'Thunderbird 6 race...What would Brain build? challenge' with ordinary lego, Meccano, Lego and other components/materials.
(2) she also enthusiastically suggested having a disco, although I'm not sure how that would fit in - except maybe with user controlled lights and low power lasers.
 
We also have a few other things for next months event: steam boat for races - really clever tin toys with no moving parts that we got at the recent Alexandra Palance model engineering show. It would be quite educational as they demonstrate how water/steam change into one another very simply.
 
Again, thanks to all.
 
 
 
Senake

spooq

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Feb 28, 2011, 11:14:29 AM2/28/11
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On 27 February 2011 12:09, Senake <sen...@piefinance.com> wrote:
> We also have a few other things for next months event: steam boat for
> races - really clever tin toys with no moving parts that we got at the
> recent Alexandra Palance model engineering show. It would be quite
> educational as they demonstrate how water/steam change into one another very
> simply.

Those things were really cool. I couldn't believe something so simple
actually worked!

Luke

Andy "Bob" Brockhurst

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Mar 1, 2011, 6:08:15 AM3/1/11
to london-h...@googlegroups.com

Cool, remember making those with my grandfather, using old metal cigar
tubes with a nail hole in one end.

I also remember making an electric motor out of a wine bottle cork with
some enameled wire wrapped around it, and using pins as the brushes and
commutators.

These are all things I plan to do with my son when he's old enough.

Bob
--
a.k.a b3cft/Andy
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Andy "Bob" Brockhurst mailto:andy.br...@b3cft.com
[mob] +44 (0)7790 499034 [twitter] b3cft
http://kingkludge.net/ [yahoo] abrockhurst2000
[skype] andybrockhurst
=====================================================================

Billy

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Mar 1, 2011, 6:55:25 AM3/1/11
to London Hackspace

I mentioned the Young Hackspace event to some other people from the
home-education group my daughter was part of. A couple of them have
been down to the space for a look already. They're interested in
taking part in the space.

I'll forward them the links to this thread.



On Mar 1, 11:08 am, "Andy \"Bob\" Brockhurst"
<andrew.brockhu...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> On 28/02/2011 16:14, spooq wrote:
>
> > On 27 February 2011 12:09, Senake<sen...@piefinance.com>  wrote:
> >> We also have a few other things for next months event: steam boat for
> >> races - really clever tin toys with no moving parts that we got at the
> >> recent Alexandra Palance model engineering show. It would be quite
> >> educational as they demonstrate how water/steam change into one another very
> >> simply.
>
> > Those things were really cool. I couldn't believe something so simple
> > actually worked!
>
> > Luke
>
> Cool, remember making those with my grandfather, using old metal cigar
> tubes with a nail hole in one end.
>
> I also remember making an electric motor out of a wine bottle cork with
> some enameled wire wrapped around it, and using pins as the brushes and
> commutators.
>
> These are all things I plan to do with my son when he's old enough.
>
> Bob
> --
> a.k.a b3cft/Andy
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy "Bob" Brockhurst                mailto:andy.brockhu...@b3cft.com
> [mob] +44 (0)7790 499034                              [twitter] b3cfthttp://kingkludge.net/                       [yahoo] abrockhurst2000
>                                                 [skype] andybrockhurst
> =====================================================================

Nigel Worsley

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Mar 2, 2011, 12:23:12 PM3/2/11
to london-h...@googlegroups.com
Just had a thought about something for a future event, use the laser to make custom dies for a plasticine
extruder. Get the kids to draw the outline of an animal or something and then cut the die from it, possibly
use Fimo or similar instead of plasticine and then cut it into slices for hardening so that they can take it home
with them.

Nigle

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