LEGO Balance: Extra Materials and Iteration

Over the past few months, we've been prototyping a tinkering activity using LEGO pieces to construct balancing sculptures. We're currently putting the idea on hiatus for a while as we prepare for an upcoming LEGO event, but we thought that in lieu of posting a detailed instructable about how to do the activity, I'd write a couple blog posts to share our groups reflections so far and the questions and ideas we're excited to pursue when we return to this topic.


Developing Scratchpaper Workshop

Nicole and I will be leading a tinkering workshop at this year's Scratch Conference at the MIT Media Lab. We've been experimenting with different ways of incorporating scratch programming and computational thinking into some of our tinkering workshops. As we've been preparing for the workshop, we've focused on paper circuitry as a interesting way to investigate some of these topics.


Scratch Paper Sound Experiments

Over the past couple of weeks, Nicole and I have been preparing for a workshop for the upcoming Scratch Conference at MIT Media Lab around programming paper circuits. We started to experiment with these ideas a few months ago when we hosted a BAME meetup for a half-baked smorgasbord of programming provocations.


LEGO Robot Orchestra

Over the past couple of weeks, we've been trying some initial prototypes of LEGO linkages in the Tinkering Studio workshop. We built on our previous robot arm experiments in the learning studio, but as we continued to prepare the activity to be tested on the museum floor, we shifted the focus more toward sound making and music as a prompt for exploration.


LEGO Art Machines

Over the next couple of months, we'll be working with LEGO Foundation to investigate possibilities for activities that use LEGO as a material for tinkering. We've identified a few starting points that we will use for initial explorations, including both adaptations of current tinkering studio activities and other ideas that are brand new for us. The first thing that we've started messing around with are versions of scribbling machines built with LEGO elements.


Peepshows with Tim Hunkin and Explainers

Longtime tinkering collaborator and artist-in-residence Tim Hunkin spent the past two weeks with us at the museum and as usual, his projects inspired more possibilities for tinkering. One of the ideas that shared was an exploration of peepshows made with shoe boxes, simple circuits, and other common materials. As you may know, Tim runs two arcades in the UK with delightful machines which use some of the same elements of this older form of entertainment including perspective, electronics, and story-telling.


Programming and Paper Circuits Workshop

Lately we've been thinking a lot about how to provide an introduction to programming through visual languages like scratch with visitors on the museum floor.


Physical Programming & Sensor Garden Prototyping

Our recent experiments with ScratchX, Seeed Sensors, and programming have produced some really interesting prototypes that I think can shed some light on the process that our group goes through when working out new tinkering activities. We've all been sharing ideas with each other and it's been really interesting to see how initial investigations build on one another and lead to new pathways.


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