Fall 2014 Workshops, Our New Website, and What would you put in a makerspace?
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Welcome to the Maker Junior newsletter!  Thank you for joining this list.  I send out newsletters monthly but you can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more regular updates.  

Fall 2014 Workshops

We have a great line up of workshops for Fall 2014. We have three new workshops for Kanata. Join us at the Glen Cairn Community Center to create something for Hallowe'en, do a little Toy Hacking, or make a Snowbot. Or register for all 3 and save $15.  

New this fall we are offering a six-week Makers Workshop in the small meeting room at the Orleans Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. This class will be starting October 26. Each class will have a different project to take home. Register online now while there is still space available!

Website Refresh

We've been working hard this fall refreshing our website. It's not quite finished yet, but you can check out our new layout and graphics at Thanks to Sherri at GStrategic for her beautiful graphic work. We've been lucky to have her work with us. We are in the process of the expanding the storefront. Got any ideas? I'd love to hear them. Send me a note and I'll see what we can do!

Middleschool Makerspace Wishlist

I've been lucky enough to visit some cool makerspaces lately. A couple of weeks ago, Nanik and I toured the new makerspace at the University of Ottawa. (We can't wait to go back!) We love to visit the ImagineSpace the Nepean Centrepointe branch of the Ottawa Public Library. And I was thrilled to be invitied to participate in the opening of the Elmwood School Fab Lab.

One of the questions I often get asked is what would I put in a makerspace? Most of the making I do is with kids, and the age I most often work with is middleschool, grades 5-8. So if I was building a middleschool makerspace, this is how I would get started:

  • Planning. Pencils, erases, paper - often this is overlooked and I'm usually looking for these materials when I'm helping to sketch out ideas. A whiteboard is useful. A whiteboard wall is even better!
  • Art supplies. Paint, paintbrushes, paint pots or a palette. Markers. Glitter, sure, why not? Decoration is a valid step in making a project.
  • Basic sticky stuff. Masking tape, glue sticks, duct tape, and a hot glue gun.
  • Basic Circuits. Conductive paint, conductive thread, batteries (3V and double A), battery holders, wire, LEDs (flashing LEDs are always excellent), and wire strippers. Oh, and don't forget a roll of aluminum foil. Always handy!
  • Building materials. Cardboard - boxes, tubes, lots of cardboard. Foam core is very handy. Bristol board is fun. Felt, fabric, and clay can also be used for construction.
  • Basic Tools. Sewing needles, hair dryers, screwdrivers, precision screwdrivers, and if there isn't a hand held drill, maybe an awl or hole punch. Rulers and measuring tapes.
  • Cutting tools. Scissors, wire cutters.
  • Safety. A full set of safety glasses and a first aid kit.
  • Housekeeping. A sink or access to water, paper towels, hand soap and a garbage can. A broom and dustpan are also useful for picking up the pieces.
And more advanced tools:
  • Computers are important. As is an internet connection. It's important to be able to look for inspiration. Chrome books are a good start, but eventually you're going to want to set up IDEs and drivers for different microcontrollers. 
  • MaKey MaKey's are my favorite way to introduce the idea of integrating the physical and virtual.
  • Digital camera or web cam. Stop motion films are a great way to start creating.
  • Some sort of computer controlled cutting machine - I've heard great things about vinyl cutters, but I don't have one myself. 
  • 3D printers are instantly engaging. Be prepared for the upkeep. But what a great way to inspire learning!
  • Sewing machines are always fun.
  • Raspberry Pi - always fun to set up one as a computer. And have one available as a controller.
  • Arduinos. You don't need lots - but having a couple on hand is a good idea. 
Have I forgotten anything? What would you put in a makerspace?

Keep Making!
We are excited to announce that will be exhibiting at the Toronto Mini Maker Faire, November 22-23, at the Toronto Reference Library at Yonge & Bloor. Tickets are free! Come see what all the excitement is about.

Yes, we visit classrooms!

I have several standalone workshops that I can take to classrooms or special events. And yes, we do birthday parties! Contact me for more information and I will be happy to provide pricing and details.

Alison Evans Adnani
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