The Importance of Iteration

Tonight I fixed a problem with my brushbot kits that’s been bugging me for months, but has been relatively minor compared to other issues, so I’ve left it alone.  That got me thinking about the different iterations I’ve gone through to get this little brushbot [...]

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Working through how a tape measure works

A few evenings ago I got home to the normal hub-hub to discover that my two-year-old daughter, E, had forcefully disassembled one of my cheap tape measures.  As I needed a break, I thought it a good opportunity to capture how I go about trying [...]

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How to build a brushbot

  Here’s a video showing how to build the brushbots that I’ve been using to teach about electricity.   Here are the visual build instructions (PDF):

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How do you start programming a robot?

“N,” my nine-year-old, and I have finally started to make progress on his robot. Now that we have the base, wheels, and arduino motorshield pretty much together, we’re both really excited to start having it do stuff.

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Electricity and Brushbots for Cub Scouts

Last night I lead the Wolf and Bear dens of N’s Cub Scout pack in their activity.  The topic I chose–and this should be no surprise–was electricity. After a number of object lessons to teach about what electricity is– charge, voltage, current, and open/closed circuits– [...]

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6 skills your kids (and you) will need to get good jobs

The world is changing so rapidly, what skills will my kids to get good jobs? What skills will I need in my working life? What skills will we need to be able to consistently innovate and make a (positive) dent in this world? How can we develop those skills?

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Minimizing frustration and keeping projects moving

A few Saturdays back I was wheeling through Lowe’s with a cart full of wood pellets and kids in tow looking for something to build a larger brooder box (for chicks) out of when an enthusiastic voice from behind me said, “Are you here for [...]

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Empowering kids and yourself by hacking

The world which we live in now, and that in which our kids are growing up, is shaped by the technology we use.  The technology we use brings us a lot of power, but it also shapes the way we think and work. Because the [...]

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Helping your kids do hard things without taking over

It happens too often: As parents we sometimes want our kids to succeed or win so badly that we tend to take over and do it for them. I think it’s usually well-intentioned, but this type of behavior actually decreases motivation over the long-term and [...]

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Soldering an Arduino mortorshield with 9 year olds

One of the projects that my oldest son and I have been (s l o o o o w l y) working on is a robot. The first version was great since it helped introduce him to the concept of “iterations” (i.e. start small, tackle [...]

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