One of the benefits of being part of the Department of Making + Doing is that we’ve had access to more resources, such as a grant we won from the Cognizant Foundation, which is doing a lot to support the creation of maker programs around the country. One of the first things we decided to do with those resources was to create an after school program. We’ve had some experience working with the Fleisher Art Memorial, to help create a class called “Gadgets and Sculpture that Moves!” so we wanted to build on that experience. We were fortunate to be able to use some connections through volunteers to set up our program with students at the Lea School, at 48th and Locust. The Lea School is part of Philly’s public school system, which pretty much everyone knows is operating in spite of a really bad situation. We’re very happy to be putting our skills to use there, and the students in our program are also warming up to our activities, and have already started coming up with great modifications to the projects we’ve built. The theme for the program is “How Things Work” so we’re covering simple machines, basic circuits, and some concepts of optical illusions. So far, we’ve made a tower-building challenge with bendy straws, mousetrap cars, and this past Tuesday we built tabletop catapults.
Check out this set of photos of the projects (we’re still getting permission to use photos of the kids so there aren’t so many pics right now). Our program is scheduled to run through December 19, and possibly into next year. Though we have some great teachers running the program, we could use a few extra sets of hands to help out in the classroom on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4:30. If you’re free and interested please email georgia[at]thehacktory[dot]org. (Any volunteers will need to complete a background check and child abuse clearance, but we can help with that.) In the future, this exactly the class we’d like the artists in our T.E.R.A. Incognita project to help out with. We’re running a kickstarter to help fund that right now, so please back it today!