Hackspace tour for a small group of six year olds!

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Martin Dittus

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Feb 20, 2011, 3:26:35 PM2/20/11
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At the most recent space party I met two women (Joy and Madlyn) who are teaching six year olds. They were very interested in the Hackspace and asked if they could bring their pupils along some day; I was quite intrigued by that prospect. I always thought the two things we don't have enough of are things for kids and art projects... :)

They just got in touch with me again, and we're now discussing how we could do this. They suggested they could all come this Wednesday afternoon, or Saturday; I expect many people who could demo anything (including myself) won't be able to make Wednesday before 6pm, so I suggest we do it Saturday.

Let me know your ideas for demos and simple DIY projects!

After a brief discussion here at the space I've heard the following suggestions:
- the laser cutter in action (e.g. cut a prepared design out of wood, explain in basic terms how a laser cutter works)
- the IRC message board, where people can post messages over the Internet
- Sam's IRC controlled RC car, remote controlled by typing commands over the Internet
- how to etch PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards; the etching process uses toxic chemicals so has do be done by a grownup.) http://hackaday.com/2008/07/28/how-to-etch-a-single-sided-pcb/
- the small multitouch table (may not be that exciting for 6 year olds. Saw a 2yo who was fascinated by it though.)
- the old big arcade game (does that still work?)
- flash cotton http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWEVm-G0JXw
- a Kinect interactive demo (move/dance in front of a screen and see your silhouette projected in the style of an Apple iPod ad)
- DNA extraction from saliva (requires mostly household materials like washing up liquid and salt, but also highly concentrated alcohol, so should at least partially be done by adults. The results, when it works, are quite pretty: a white complex frothy shape of pure DNA swimming in a glass.)http://www.irational.org/heath/DIY_DNA_DAY/documentation/dna_extraction_1400.jpg
- etc...

I'll need to check who'll be available to give such demos, several of them would need setting up first, some would require the respective project owner to be present. I've asked the ladies if they have any particular preferences. We also have a fairly broad collection of tools and machinery which we could show. Wood and metal working tools, etc.

m.

(Russ checked our insurance policy: "there's nothing about minors in the insurance, so we're covered as long as we're not negligent." I'll do a brief cleanup session beforehand to make sure we're as kid-safe as we can be.)

tom

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Feb 20, 2011, 4:05:32 PM2/20/11
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I think I can do saturdays for the ipod kinect thing, weekdays are a
bit of a no-no because of work

On Feb 20, 8:26 pm, Martin Dittus <deks...@gmail.com> wrote:
> At the most recent space party I met two women (Joy and Madlyn) who are teaching six year olds. They were very interested in the Hackspace and asked if they could bring their pupils along some day; I was quite intrigued by that prospect. I always thought the two things we don't have enough of are things for kids and art projects... :)
>
> They just got in touch with me again, and we're now discussing how we could do this. They suggested they could all come this Wednesday afternoon, or Saturday; I expect many people who could demo anything (including myself) won't be able to make Wednesday before 6pm, so I suggest we do it Saturday.
>
> Let me know your ideas for demos and simple DIY projects!
>
> After a brief discussion here at the space I've heard the following suggestions:
> - the laser cutter in action (e.g. cut a prepared design out of wood, explain in basic terms how a laser cutter works)
> - the IRC message board, where people can post messages over the Internet
> - Sam's IRC controlled RC car, remote controlled by typing commands over the Internet
> - how to etch PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards; the etching process uses toxic chemicals so has do be done by a grownup.)http://hackaday.com/2008/07/28/how-to-etch-a-single-sided-pcb/
> - the small multitouch table (may not be that exciting for 6 year olds. Saw a 2yo who was fascinated by it though.)
> - the old big arcade game (does that still work?)
> - flash cottonhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWEVm-G0JXw
> - a Kinect interactive demo (move/dance in front of a screen and see your silhouette projected in the style of an Apple iPod ad)
> - DNA extraction from saliva (requires mostly household materials like washing up liquid and salt, but also highly concentrated alcohol, so should at least partially be done by adults. The results, when it works, are quite pretty: a white complex frothy shape of pure DNA swimming in a glass.)http://www.irational.org/heath/DIY_DNA_DAY/documentation/dna_extracti...

Steff

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Feb 20, 2011, 4:15:03 PM2/20/11
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On 20 February 2011 20:26, Martin Dittus <dek...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Let me know your ideas for demos and simple DIY projects!
...

If you want to DIY flash cotton/paper you'll need to find some fairly
concentrated nitric and sulphuric acid. The latter can be had as "One
Shot" or "Bullet" brand loo unblocker for less than a tenner a litre,
but the former is a bit of a pain to get hold of. We could try
potassium nitrate (I have some lurking somewhere) dissolved in the
sulphuric, but in my teens when I did this sort of thing (ahem) more I
found that the dissolving process could be exciting and the resulting
nitration somewhat disappointing. If we can get hold of actual lab
nitric it's a trivially easy thing to do and lovely and dramatic for
the kiddies. The excellent Reverend Lancaster of Kimbolton Fireworks
used to do fabulously entertaining public lectures featuring this sort
of thing at the chemistry department when I were a nipper in
Cambridge.

S

Martin Dittus

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Feb 20, 2011, 4:18:31 PM2/20/11
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More ideas were posted on IRC. Leaving out the many hyperbolic ones:

- CO2 rockets (from the balcony, or on wires in the space. We could race them)
- for the laser cutter demo: have the kids draw things which we then cut/etch (Tom Wyatt is interested in helping with this)
- QR code treasure hunt (may be risky to have kids rummage around, but I'm sure we could organise enough smartphones)
- smoke machine and lasers! (would need to darken the room) or any other laser experiment
- "Rubber gloves with rare earth magnets at the fingertips - those could be fun, if kept away from PC's/iPODs..."
- stuff with LED throwies

... more still coming in.

Will Pearson

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Feb 20, 2011, 4:32:15 PM2/20/11
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On Feb 20, 8:26 pm, Martin Dittus <deks...@gmail.com> wrote:
> At the most recent space party I met two women (Joy and Madlyn) who are teaching six year olds. They were very interested in the Hackspace and asked if they could bring their pupils along some day; I was quite intrigued by that prospect. I always thought the two things we don't have enough of are things for kids and art projects... :)
>

snip
> After a brief discussion here at the space I've heard the following suggestions:
> - the laser cutter in action (e.g. cut a prepared design out of wood, explain in basic terms how a laser cutter works)

Can you ask them to get the kids to draw something? Then we could scan
it and cut/etch it. I'd be happy to do this demo.

Will

ynohtna

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Feb 20, 2011, 4:36:45 PM2/20/11
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One of my missions is to spread the joy of dabbling with music to others and I've run small "let's make electronic beats" workshops with children before way back in the past. I'd be delighted to show the kids some fun music tech (the Tenori-on, a small hands-on synth, some of the cool things that can be achieved with delay lines, etc) and see how and what they respond to (agenda disclosure: I consider this user research).

I may have to apologise up-front to the children or gaffer tape my mouth, though, in case some of my more cruder turns of phrase escape as I get passionate and excited. Maybe wear a "bad role model - do NOT emulate" t-shirt.


Anthony.

Ben Blundell

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Feb 20, 2011, 4:39:48 PM2/20/11
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Didnt we have these pencils that make sounds?  the ones with the lil battery and what not?

Ben
--
(>) SECTION9 * Benjamin Blundell
(>) b...@section9.co.uk * www.section9.co.uk
(>) Code, Design, Graphic, Web 
(>) London Hackspace, Laboratory 24, Cremer Business Centre. London E2 8HD

(!) For Secure email use PGP Key-ID: 0A9C59AF @ http://pgp.mit.edu

Martin Dittus

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Feb 20, 2011, 4:42:11 PM2/20/11
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On 20 Feb 2011, at 21:32, Will Pearson wrote:
>> After a brief discussion here at the space I've heard the following suggestions:
>> - the laser cutter in action (e.g. cut a prepared design out of wood, explain in basic terms how a laser cutter works)
>
> Can you ask them to get the kids to draw something? Then we could scan
> it and cut/etch it. I'd be happy to do this demo.
>
> Will


Yeah Tom suggested that as well; this sounds like a great demo. I haven't used the laser cutter, so your and Tom's help would be very much appreciated (and it may make sense to have several people helping out with this so that e.g. one can explain what's going on/how the laser cutter works while the other is tracing/prepping the model.)

This sounds like a prime candidate for a demo.

I suggested we do this on Saturday. Will, are you free that day? I'll let you guys know if that works for them too.

m.

Martin Dittus

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Feb 20, 2011, 4:46:06 PM2/20/11
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Oh! Yes! That sounds great too.

Let me discuss all the ideas so far with Joy and Madlyn, I may contact you :)

Charles Yarnold

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Feb 20, 2011, 6:21:39 PM2/20/11
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I was going to post to the list about resetting the loo's to allow for fresh funnies to be written, it seems like this is a perfect time to do so (would be best to have more than 1 loo with a below PG rating ;) )

I would document the loo's on the wiki for posterity before washing them, any objections?

Sol

Jonty Wareing

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Feb 20, 2011, 6:54:37 PM2/20/11
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> I would document the loo's on the wiki for posterity
> before washing them, any objections?

You just volunteered to be the toilet wall archivist.

--jonty

P.S. I assume by "document" you mean pictures, right?

Charles Yarnold

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Feb 20, 2011, 7:34:23 PM2/20/11
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You just volunteered to be the toilet wall archivist.

Well its my first step on the ladder to be the curator of the science museum!
 

P.S. I assume by "document" you mean pictures, right?

Yes, but I would love to see an OCR that could parse those walls!

Dylan Beattie

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Feb 20, 2011, 7:38:36 PM2/20/11
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Crowdsource it. Most captchas are less meaningful - and less readable - than the stuff on the Hackspace toilet walls.

Mark Steward

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Feb 20, 2011, 8:41:57 PM2/20/11
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On Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 11:54 PM, Jonty Wareing <jo...@jonty.co.uk> wrote:
> P.S. I assume by "document" you mean pictures, right?
>

That's hardly an accessible format. Someone like Russ will be cursing
you in 40 years time for not logging these cultural discourses in a
free and hackable way.

Adrian Godwin

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Feb 21, 2011, 4:32:23 AM2/21/11
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There's a graffiti ML already, isn't there ?

Martin Dittus

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Feb 21, 2011, 9:21:18 AM2/21/11
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We just christened this project the "Young Hackspace", and reserved the Quiet Room for Saturday; and the laser cutter, but we won't need access to that all day. I'll post a separate announcement later.

More ideas.
- Jonty says he could organise a LOGO robot, but won't happen by Saturday (maybe for the next instalment?)
- do we have microscopes? To show small things up close.
- the Jacob's Ladder
- connecting an oscilloscope to a switchable power source, then let them turn knobs

spooq

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Feb 21, 2011, 9:24:47 AM2/21/11
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Sodium silicate crystals? Not so good for hands-on, but definitely fun.

Luke

Will Pearson

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Feb 21, 2011, 10:23:30 AM2/21/11
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On Feb 20, 9:42 pm, Martin Dittus <deks...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 20 Feb 2011, at 21:32, Will Pearson wrote:
>
> >> After a brief discussion here at the space I've heard the following suggestions:
> >> - the laser cutter in action (e.g. cut a prepared design out of wood, explain in basic terms how a laser cutter works)
>
> > Can you ask them to get the kids to draw something? Then we could scan
> > it and cut/etch it. I'd be happy to do this demo.
>
> > Will
>
> Yeah Tom suggested that as well; this sounds like a great demo.

Tom, stop beaming thoughts into my head :P

> I haven't used the laser cutter, so your and Tom's help would be very much appreciated (and it may make sense to have several people helping out with this so that e.g. one can explain what's going on/how the laser cutter works while the other is tracing/prepping the model.)

> This sounds like a prime candidate for a demo.
>
> I suggested we do this on Saturday. Will, are you free that day? I'll let you guys know if that works for them too.


Yeah I'm free. Also does anyone have a low power laser pointer we can
use to demonstrate what a laser is (obviously not giving kids the
laser). Also having the smoke machine running for this bit might be
good,

Will

Alex Pounds

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Feb 21, 2011, 10:27:04 AM2/21/11
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On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 07:23:30AM -0800, Will Pearson wrote:
> Yeah I'm free. Also does anyone have a low power laser pointer we can
> use to demonstrate what a laser is (obviously not giving kids the
> laser).

I've got a bright green one that you're welcome to use. It's reasonably
low power, though I wouldn't recommend looking into it.

I fully expect to see eight similar offers by the time this message hits
the list, by the way.

--
Alex Pounds .~. http://www.alexpounds.com/
/V\ http://www.ethicsgirls.com/
// \\
"Variables won't; Constants aren't" /( )\
^`~'^

Daniel Hertz

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Feb 21, 2011, 10:29:03 AM2/21/11
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I was just about to say if anyone wants a LEGO Mindstorms kit for the space. I could bring it before Saturday if needed.

Daniel Hertz
dan...@dhertz.com

ynohtna

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Feb 21, 2011, 11:02:26 AM2/21/11
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Along those lines, I uncovered a bunch of children's electronic/experiment sets (those ones with the big clip together components, etc) on a recent rummage through my junk trunk.

I can also bring them to the space before/on Saturday if there's any interest.


Anthony.

Sci

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Feb 21, 2011, 11:23:20 AM2/21/11
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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

May I suggest that any tools not being used at the time of the visit be
physically unplugged? I'd hate to hear of a curious 6yo during an
unsupervised momment having pressed the ON button on the bandsaw or
lathe. Or touching acid, sharp tooling cutters, metal edges, hot
soldering irons, 40Amp power supplies, etc..

As someone who's self-employed, my first thought on hearing this is
"health and safety nightmare" followed shortly by "invalidated insurance
policy".

~ Sci
- - Every silver lining has a cloud
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Senake Atureliya

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Feb 21, 2011, 11:49:24 AM2/21/11
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I would definitely like to bring my two kids if it was on the Saturday - we have already started work on a monorail at home after being inspired by the one in the Hackspace office.

I also have some joint venture (part prototyped mechanical) products that could help fund Hackspace. I would be interested in finding people interested in helping with finishing them off and/or taking them to market.

PS. It is great to see so much enthusiasm, but as Sci say, tight control over the demos and precautions are needed to minimise risks.

Senake

Senake Atureliya
CEO
www.jointventurehubs.com
London

E: sen...@jointventurehubs.com

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ynohtna

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Feb 21, 2011, 12:29:30 PM2/21/11
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Saw this, thought of this thread (any myself): http://www.creativeapplications.net/objects/giffi-objects/

Jonty Wareing

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Feb 21, 2011, 11:40:34 AM2/21/11
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On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 02:21:18PM +0000, Martin Dittus wrote:
> - do we have microscopes? To show small things up close.

There's a binocular microscope in the workshop, it's ace.

--jonty

tom

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Feb 21, 2011, 4:15:29 PM2/21/11
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On Feb 21, 4:49 pm, Senake Atureliya <sena...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> I would definitely like to bring my two kids if it was on the Saturday - we have already started work on a monorail at home after being inspired by the one in the Hackspace office.
>
>

This pleases me greatly :)


Oh and what about making a giant smoke-ring generator? Or a giant
bubble blower?

Martin Dittus

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Feb 21, 2011, 5:14:19 PM2/21/11
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On 21 Feb 2011, at 16:49, Senake Atureliya wrote:
> I would definitely like to bring my two kids if it was on the Saturday - we have already started work on a monorail at home after being inspired by the one in the Hackspace office.


This is great, thanks for the offer!

At the moment it looks like we're already fully booked for Saturday, we're currently expecting about 10 kids. Since this is a first I'd like to be cautious and leave it at that (especially since other visitors will be present as well, on weekends it often gets more busy.)

That said, it's already pretty clear that Young Hackspace is likely to turn into a frequent event. The level of interest and excitement so far has been amazing.

A monorail building session for older kids (10 and up?) would be incredible. Would you be interested in helping with such a workshop? We'd have to find a realistic workshop scope though, especially if we can limit it to an afternoon...

Martin Dittus

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Feb 21, 2011, 5:35:47 PM2/21/11
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On 21 Feb 2011, at 16:23, Sci wrote:
> As someone who's self-employed, my first thought on hearing this is
> "health and safety nightmare"

I hear you :)

To put this in perspective, we're booking the Quiet Room where we will spend much of the time; we'll also be in the workshop to show them things, but they'll always be accompanied by adults (I'm thinking three kids per adult) and we're not planning to let them just run around freely.

But yes, we already discussed unplugging dangerous things and doing a safety check first. :)

Martin Dittus

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Feb 21, 2011, 5:28:34 PM2/21/11
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> On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 3:29 PM, Daniel Hertz <dan...@dhertz.com> wrote:
> I was just about to say if anyone wants a LEGO Mindstorms kit for the space. I could bring it before Saturday if needed.

Oh interesting. I think someone mentioned we already have a kit, is that true?

To keep the kids focused I'm hesitant to confront them with too many complex things on the same afternoon, but instead would like to fill any breaks with small things to show and play with; would it be hard to prepare a model that's ready to play with, as opposed to handing them a box with bricks?


On 21 Feb 2011, at 16:02, ynohtna wrote:
> Along those lines, I uncovered a bunch of children's electronic/experiment sets (those ones with the big clip together components, etc) on a recent rummage through my junk trunk.
>
> I can also bring them to the space before/on Saturday if there's any interest.

Yes please! This sounds like easy fun for curious minds.

Sci

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Feb 21, 2011, 6:02:03 PM2/21/11
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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

There's a big bubble wand in one of the "rubbish" boxes. At least there
was on sunday.

~ Sci


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Senake

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Feb 21, 2011, 6:51:17 PM2/21/11
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Hi Martin,
 
 
I would be very happy to run a monorail building session, just as long as it fits in with weekend family commitments.
 
With regard to age appropriateness, given a little instruction and the use of your laser cutter to fashion some supports, the monorail could be built by much younger children as well as 10 year olds. My son - aged 4.5 - already makes complex multilevel wooden tracks out of Brio (http://www.brio.net/en.aspx) using large plastic blocks and lego to make viaducts, mountain ranges and other structures.
 
The other thing that you might want to bear in mind with Pancake Day coming up on the 8th March relates to a "lateral thinking workshop" that I ran a long time ago..."The Great Pancake Flipping Challenge" involved building a pancake flipping machine using a frying pan, a camping gas stove, big meccano (Dexion racking that my machinery business used for prototyping) and pneumatics. If the Hackspace has compressed air, old shelving, pneumatic cylinders, flow regulators and so on, you could look at something doing similar.
 
It's a shame about the limit this Saturday - if there was space, my daughter could bring her Pleo (robotic dinosaur ideal for expaining artificial intelligence, stepper motors & sensors to kids - see http://www.pleoworld.com/Discover/LookInside.aspx) and I could supervise my kids (boy 4 and girl 7)...if not, that's cool - just let me know how you get on and dates for follow up workshops.



Senake

www.jointventurehubs.com
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Clare Greenhalgh

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Feb 21, 2011, 7:56:07 PM2/21/11
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Please could your daughter bring her Pleo another time - I have always dreamed of having one!

Noko

Martin Dittus

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Feb 21, 2011, 8:00:42 PM2/21/11
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Hehe maybe we should also have a Young Hackspace day for adults. I know you would all love it!

m.

Clare Greenhalgh

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Feb 21, 2011, 8:03:19 PM2/21/11
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I know I would :D

Martin Dittus

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Feb 22, 2011, 7:51:19 AM2/22/11
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On 21 Feb 2011, at 22:28, Martin Dittus wrote:
>> On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 3:29 PM, Daniel Hertz <dan...@dhertz.com> wrote:
>> I was just about to say if anyone wants a LEGO Mindstorms kit for the space. I could bring it before Saturday if needed.
>
> Oh interesting. I think someone mentioned we already have a kit, is that true?
>
> To keep the kids focused I'm hesitant to confront them with too many complex things on the same afternoon, but instead would like to fill any breaks with small things to show and play with; would it be hard to prepare a model that's ready to play with, as opposed to handing them a box with bricks?


Daniel, disregard my reply above; turns out the parents love the idea of having access to a Mindstorms kit :)

So if you could bring it before Saturday that would be swell.

m. (Who's never actually played with Mindstorms.)

Elliot West

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Feb 22, 2011, 8:03:19 AM2/22/11
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I also left a complete Mindstorms kit in the space...

Daniel Hertz

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Feb 22, 2011, 8:29:02 AM2/22/11
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Ok, I'll leve it next too all the lego stuff when I get in today.

Daniel

Daniel Hertz
dan...@dhertz.com

Nigel Worsley

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Feb 22, 2011, 1:16:43 PM2/22/11
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Having just got down to the space for the first time in ages, I have discovered that my makedo set
is in my box and is therefore available if wanted: http://makedo.com.au/

Nigle

Martin Dittus

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Feb 22, 2011, 3:27:42 PM2/22/11
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I'll accept that offer! :)

m.

sen...@googlemail.com

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Feb 23, 2011, 4:21:04 PM2/23/11
to London Hackspace
Bit of a late reply...

The giant bubble blower would be great especially if the bubbles
stayed intact up to (say) 500m altitude!...aeroplanes & other safety
considerations permitting, of course.

Steff

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Feb 23, 2011, 4:24:24 PM2/23/11
to london-h...@googlegroups.com
On 23 February 2011 21:21, sen...@jointventurehubs.com

<sen...@googlemail.com> wrote:
> Bit of a late reply...
>
> The giant bubble blower would be great especially if the bubbles
> stayed intact up to (say) 500m altitude!...aeroplanes & other safety
> considerations permitting, of course.

To co-opt a Zenism, the aeroplane that cannot cope with a soap bubble
is not the true aeroplane.

S

Sci

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Feb 23, 2011, 4:59:38 PM2/23/11
to london-h...@googlegroups.com
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

I'm suddenly reminded of the last couple of panels of this page:
http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20100920

Or possibly this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Ffr1U7KMY

~ Sci

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