Cohort Activities

UTeach Maker Cohort Activities - Spring 2019

05/20/2019 - UTeach Make For All Meet-Up

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On Monday, May 20th, UTeach Maker hosted a Make For All meet-up to kick-off their commitment to the Make For All initiative. There were over 40 participants representing over 20 universities from UTeach replication sites. The evening began with a showcase of making that has been taking place at UT-Austin and from members of the Austin maker community. Participants had a chance to see student projects from the Step 1 final maker project and create their own UTeach Make For All button.

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The evening centered around learning about how making has been incorporated at UT-Austin through hands-on activities. Similar to the April cohort meeting, Shelly and UTeach Maker Fellow, Krystal Evans, lead the group through the Cardboard Conceptions challenge. Participants were grouped-up based on a number that was pre-printed on their name tags to encourage introductions to new people.

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J.E. Johnson, from Texas Performing Arts, was present to provide a tutorial on various tools and techniques for working with cardboard. Participants were given a baggie which contained felt pom-poms, pipe cleaners, goggly eye, and other craft-based items. Within this baggie was a sheet of paper which contained three STEM-based terms, such as "momentum", "tectonic", and "metamorphosis". Participants were given 40 minutes to create a physical representation of one or more of the terms.

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After 40 minutes of creative activity, the group reconvened to share their creations. Projects included en embryo egg that hatched to reveal is dinosaur, the use of a cardboard gears to swing a bat to cause kinetic energy, the creation of a stunt ramp covered in "flames" to represent the quadratic arch of projectiles, and kinetic sculpture that took three people to operate to discuss the carbon cycle. We would like to thank all the participants who attended the UTeach Make For All meet-up, and we look forward to discuss how we can incorporate making into your STEM preservice programs!

05/07/2019 - Spring 2019 Maker Showcases

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On Tuesday, May 7th, UTeach Maker had their monthly cohort meeting and Spring 2019 Maker Showcases. The evening kicked-off with a maker playground, where participants in UTeach Maker and their mentors shared projects they have been working on. Lauren from MathHappens shared her laser-cut math manipulatives, including a new elastic Cartesian plane that folds to become a parabola. Caroline shared a dress that she sewed, plus Jean and Juliet let other play with their creation that allows students to visualize sine waves through pulleys, string, with a radian unit circle.

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With over 40 people in attendance, including makers, mentors, family, and friends, the evening served as an opportunity for newest UTeach Maker Fellows to share out what they have been working on over their past year in the program. Arami Rosales spoke about her journey as a maker and how incorporating STEAM with teaching engineering helped students build confidence and develop their identity as a maker. Halle Herzog spoke about how making provided an opportunity to connect her interests such as needle-point and board games, as a way of connecting with student interests.

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Ben Duong shared his experiences with making and working with MathHappens. He expressed that making helped him move beyond being focused on perfection and provided a safe space to learn through trial-and-error. Mao Leonard connected making with student's interests and expressed how through making she was able to learn more about her student's personal interests and passions while finding mathematical connection in her classroom.

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Finally, the evening ended with the presentation of gifts to our most recent UTeach Maker graduates. Rich's group made custom stationary for both Arami and Mao, along with a robotic clock and abacus. Lauren's group made a chess clock / classroom timer for Ben and a custom color changing lamp for Halle. In addition, Shelly unveiled the new UTeach Makers Fellow shirt design and gave shirts to the Maker Fellows in attendance. Best wishes on your final exams and we look forward to seeing what you've made over the summer when UTeach Maker meets next September!

04/14/2019 - Printmaking and E-Textile Workshop

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On Sunday, April 14th, UTeach Maker held a weekend workshop at St. Edward's University about printmaking and creating e-textiles. Our UTeach Maker Mentor, Alex Morrison, lead the workshop. The workshop kicked-off with a lesson about the history of printmaking using engravings. Participants found portraits online and then tranced the image on a sheet of paper by holding it over their laptop screen.

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Participants were then given a piece of pink isolation foam and a small chisel to cut out the negative space from their illustrations. This technique is reminiscent of woodcut engravings that were created by artists in the 19th century, as well as techniques used by the printing presses. Participants then coated their engraving in Bare Conductive Ink and pressed it to a sheet of paper to leave a negative impression.

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While their ink was drying, participants learned about Makey Makey Go, a USB key that serves as a conductive sensor that turns everyday conductive objects into a touch pad. Using Audacity, participants created a recording on their laptop that was designed to play when they touch their conductive engraving.

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Participants then imported their audio recording into Scratch, a block-based programming language, to write a program that would be triggered by the Makey Makey Go when their engraving was touched. This technique can be used to create interactive art, or paired with conductive thread and e-textiles to make interactive clothing. Thank you Alex for the fantastic workshop! We look forward to seeing everybody on May 7th for our Maker Showcase presentations and the final cohort meeting of the semester!

04/02/2019 - Cardboard Concepts Team Challenge

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On Tuesday, April 2nd, UTeach Maker held our monthly cohort meeting in Painter Hall. The evening started with a Taco Tuesday dinner where UTeach Makers and Mentors has an opportunity to catch-up on recent developments and share about their experiences. The theme of the evening was cardboard and STEM. J. E. Johnson from Texas Performing Arts gave a demonstration of some student-friendly tools for cutting and shaping cardboard, such as the Dremel Moto-saw.

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Inspired by Critical Making, a course at UC-Berkeley, Shelly introduced the Cardboard Concepts Team Challenge. In this challenge, each team was given 60 minutes to create a visual representation out of cardboard of two randomly selected STEM terms. Some of the terms included "heterogeneous", "embryo", "kinetic", and "metamorphosis". Working with their UTeach Mentor, teams used recycled cardboard, colored paper, pom-pom balls, pipe cleaners, and rubber bands to design and build their creations.

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The room buzzed with the whirl of the Dremel Moto Saw as teams worked together to create a collaborative project.Teams created artifacts which included working catapults, a cocooned caterpillar that opened to become a rainbow colored butterfly, and an embryo of heterogeneous cells that unfolded to become our UTeach Maker mascot, TaterTot the Corgi.

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The Cardboard Concepts Team Challenge was a hue success with teams having an opportunity to work with their mentors and try new cutting and design techniques with an approachable medium -- cardboard. In two week, St. Edward's University will be hosting a Printmaking and E-Textile workshop which will be led by our UTeach Maker Mentor, Alex Morrison. Please RSVP with Shelly if you can attend. We look forward to see you there!

03/10/2018 - Drones, Drones, Drones

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On Sunday, March 10th, UTeach Maker hosted a weekend workshop at Ann Richards Middle School called Drones, Drones, Drones. This workshop, lead by UTeach Maker Mentor Oren Connell, provided an opportunity for participants to assemble and pilot their own quad-copter drones. The workshop started with a lesson about the physics of how drones work, and how their motors and propellers provide lift.

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Workshop participants then worked to assemble their own drones from kits, which included an opportunity to practice soldering skills and to learn about how lipo batteries work. Throughout the workshop participants learned about the components of drones which includes the motors, battery, propellers, microprocessor, and sensors. Once assembled participants went out into the yard and practiced flying and controlling their drones.

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This workshop provided an opportunity to discuss the integration of tinkering, fiddling, and problem solving into STEM activities. In addition, participants considered how drones can be used in the classroom to teach math and science principles. This included concepts such as lift, calculating forces and loads, using the camera and sensors on a drone to collect data, and even creating autonomous drones that are controlled by algorithms. This workshop really showed that when it comes to making in education, the sky is the limit! A huge thank you to Oren Connell for hosting the workshop. We look forward to seeing everybody on Tuesday, April 2nd for our next monthly cohort meeting. Have your cardboard and hot glue ready for the Cardboard Concepts Team Challenge!

03/05/2019 - SxSW EDU Austin Maker Meet Up

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On Tuesday, March 5th, UTeach Maker held our monthly cohort meeting at co.lab, a community makerspace in Austin that is focused on inclusion and diversity. This meeting served as a precursor to an unoffical SXSW Maker Ed meet-up that was attended by makers from around the United States. The evening kicked off with Texas style BBQ and a chance for UTeach Makers and Mentors to share their making activities with each other.

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Following dinner, UTeach Maker Mentor and co-founder of co.lab, Patrick Benfield welcomed everybody to the makerspace and gave them a tour of the equipment and explained the philosophy of their mission. This was followed by an opportunity for UTeach Makers to participate in a scavenger hunt to find other makers who had specific skills or backgrounds, such as "Find somebody who knows how to use a laser cutter."

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The real party started after he cohort meeting, as members of the broader maker community began arriving in the space to participate in the meet-up. This meet-up aimed to feature hardware and software companies with maker-centered products. Exhibitors included companies such as, Makey Makey, Charmed Labs, Chibitronics, and Pi-Top. UTeach Makers had an opportunity to meet maker educators from throughout the United States and share their experiences from the UTeach Maker program.

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In addition, UTeach Maker's director, Shelly Rodriguez, unveiled a white paper on Incorporating maker-centered learning into preservice STEM teacher education: A model from UTeach Maker. This white paper was written by the C3 Maker Consortium and funded by Infosys. Copies of the white paper and other UTeach Maker publications were make available to all participants of the meet-up. Be sure to join us on Sunday, March 10th at Ann Richards Middle School for our next weekend workshop -- Drones, Drones, Drones!

02/17/2019 - Mathematical Bookbinding

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On Sunday February 17th, UTeach Maker had a weekend workshop featuring mathematical bookbinding lead by UTeach Maker Mentor and PhD student, Natalie Freed. Inspired by Japanese binding techniques, participants learned the mathematics behind bookbinding in order to create custom patterns where threads did not overlap. Natalie shared the history behind the binding techniques and showed several examples of both traditional books as well as her own creations.

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The workshop began with a mathematical puzzle of figuring out a connect-the-dots pattern in the shape of the house. Participants were challenged to find as many possible ways to connect all dots without crossing a previous path by tracing their path with pens and paper. Theory was then put into practice with the use of needle and thread to physically sew the pattern into a piece of heavy card stock.

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Through the process of inquiry, participants were challenged to create a rule to figure out whether a series of patterns were mathematically possible to sew without overlapping threads. Based on the Seven Bridges of Königsberg, Natalie shared Euler's answer to the problem and the resulting mathematical theorem. Participants were introduced to an app that Natalie developed called Stab Book Designer to create custom bookbinding designs along with algorithms about how to sew them.

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Afterwards participants were given an opportunity to design their own bookbinding patterns based on the rules that they had uncovered from the workshop. Holes were punched into card stock and paper with awls, paper punches, and drills, and then sewn using colorful yarn. A huge thanks to Natalie Freed and UTeach Maker for hosting the workshop. We look forward to seeing everybody on Tuesday, March 5th at co.lab for the unofficial SXSW Maker Ed meet-up!

02/05/2019 - Foundry Tour / Find Someone Who

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Welcome back UTeach Makers! On Tuesday, February 5th, we welcomed our Spring 2019 cohort of UTeach Makers. We had over 38 attendees which included our current cohort of Makers, Mentors, and returning UTeach Maker Fellows. In addition, we welcomed our newest UTeach Maker Mentor, Natalie Freed, who has a background in computer science and an interest in the mathematics behind stitching patterns.

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This semester launches a new partnership between the UTeach Internship Program and The Foundry makerspace. Three of our UTeach Makers have been placed in internships there where they will serve as technicians to help other students at UT-Austin in their journey of making. As part of our monthly cohort meeting, Jason Harron lead a tour of the foundry and gave a demonstration on how to use the Carvey, a 2.5 axis CNC milling machine. This was followed by a Find Someone Who activity, where our makers and mentors mingled as they searched for people with specific skills and experiences.

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The evening wrapped up with an opportunity for UTeach Makers to spend time talking in small groups with their Maker Mentor. This served as an opportunity to catch-up on what they had done over the winter holiday break and to set goals for their Maker Showcase open portfolios. Be sure to RSVP for our next Maker Weekend Workshop which is scheduled for February 17th, from 1:00-5:00pm. During this workshop Natalie Freed will be leading us through how to create Mathematical Bookbindings. We look forward to seeing you there!

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UTeach Maker Fellows: Tuesday, February 5th also served as the inaugural meeting of the UTeach Maker Fellows, which is open to anybody who has completed the UTeach Maker micro-credential. We had six UTeach Maker Fellows in attendance. As a group they discussed plans for involvement with a maker summer camp at Mendez Middle School, they considered proposals to submit to the UTeach Annual Conference, and brainstormed about additional ways to get involved and support the Austin maker community.