Brainstorm a family hackerspace!
What: Community Visioning for Fall 2014
When: Thursday July 24, 5:30-7 pm
Who: You and your family!
Hey everybody! We’re in the process of reimagining our fall afterschool options in a big way and we’d love your input! Join us for an evening of sharing food and ideas, making plans, and helping make Parts and Crafts awesome for Fall 2014.
Starting next year, we want to shift to an open membership model, which we hope will help us better serve the community. The goal is to move away from a class-based afterschool model and towards vision of a real family hackerspace, a community center which people can use in a range of different ways. Specifically we’d like to revamp our afterschool program to better serve the needs of the community by:
Shifting away from a “pay-per-day” model to an open membership model
Broadening drop-in hours so that more people can use the space for free
Structuring program offerings to create a vibrant and diverse afterschool community in our space
We hope to enlist your help in building up a mixed-age community of hackers, makers, and tinkerers, and we’d love your feedback in helping us figure out how to make this important transition!
What does this look like in practice?
Our vision has a couple of key components:
Free drop-in afterschool four days a week (vs. pay at the door)
A rotating set of intro classes — electronics, woodworking, computer programming, and games — that we run every week, for free, for anyone in the space
A structured volunteer program to help build capacity and train new people
Extended drop-in hours five days a week where families can come *with* their kids, use our tools, get trained, and use staff resources for their own projects
The idea is that if you like these things, want to support them, and have the resources to do so, you can! By becoming a member and supporting *all* of the programs that we run, rather than the specific workshop or afterschool program you would otherwise sign up for, we can make big strides in terms of widening access to the programs we offer.
In the process, we can bring more kids into the space, open up a lot of exciting new possibilities in terms of who we serve and what programs we offer, pay our staff a living wage, and start to build a volunteer base from the deep well of grown-up knowledge in the Somerville maker community. It’s a small shift, but (we feel) an important one!
What would membership get you?
The ability to come in anytime we’re open (excluding school hours) to use our space, our tools, and our resources.
Reduced rate for guest workshops + other perks (the ability to host a birthday party? a free lightsaber kit? one-off workshops on topics of your choosing?)
A way to support these things that you would otherwise pay for!
Membership would not be required for participating — but it’s a way of helping to build a community, reach more people, and bring more people into the space. Think of the NPR or PBS membership model — they’re going to air the programs either way, but wouldn’t be able to do it without sustaining members who help to pay for them.
Where you come in!
We have lots of ideas, and lots of questions! About cost and feasibility: How much would it cost? Is this more convenient than just charging people for classes? Is sliding scale working? and about program offerings: Would people actually use it? What workshops do people want to see? What pieces are we missing? How do we make it great?!
To try to answer these questions, we are reaching out to local parents, educators and community-minded folks to join us for a brainstorming session to help us make smart decisions about how to make this a reality.
You are invited to join us on July 24th from 5:30 to 7PM in our space at 577 Somerville Ave, just outside Union Square. Children are encouraged to attend and activities will be available for them in our kid-friendly makerspace. We’d like you to tour the space, ask questions, offer suggestions and then fill out a one-page survey about membership pricing structures. We are grateful for any feedback and constructive criticism you can offer.
If you’d like to attend please RSVP here or email firstname.lastname@example.org by July 22nd.
No open shop or kids band this weekend
- Saturday 2/8 – No kids band or open shop. We’re going on vacation!
- Saturday 2/15 – Open shop @ the New England Model Engineering Society Show! No open shop or kids band at Parts
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and Crafts — come out to Waltham and visit us there!
- Saturday 2/22 – Open shop resumes at Parts and Crafts. As per usual, Saturday 12-2 pm!
Sorry about the inconvenience! We’ll be back in force at the end of February, look forward to seeing you then!
The Riffle Effect Public Lab’s New Pilot Water Monitoring Sensor Tool By definition, a riffle is a “short, relatively shallow and coarse-bedded length of stream over which the stream flows at
higher velocity and higher turbulence than it normally does in comparison to a pool.” Similarly, Public Lab is making waves in the DIY and hacker community when it comes to creating tools for environmental exploration and investigation. Last weekend, I attended a Public Lab “toolshed raising” event in Somerville, MA, wherein local community members come to learn more about the organization, get a demo of their current tools, and work together
on projects. There, the Public Lab team announced RIFFLE (Remote Independent Friendly Field-Logger Electronics) (support it here), a new pilot program and tool to monitor the water quality in Mystic River. I’m constantly impressed by the tools they develop (including a DIY spectrometry kit, balloon mapping kit, and modified infrared camera), which all follow the same credo: they are low cost, open source, and easy to build/maintain. At the
event, Ben Gamari, one of the RIFFLE developers, expressed the core philosophy of making these tools accessible:
“It has to just work.” Read the full post at www.scistarter.com
PLOTS Toolshed Raising was great! Thanks to everyone who came out! We had a headcount of 25+, with the day covering tool intros, a presentation on Riffle, and open work periods with several working groups forming around water
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temperature mapping, aerial thermal camera flight planning, a RPi “nozzleCam” for
our new Makerbots, etc. Check it out! Riffle Presentation The Riffle, presented by donface.gif: A big crowd: The Riffle team making plans: Mary Martin, UNH researcher making visualizations for Riffle: Thermal Mapping brainstorming: members of Sara’s Northeastern Research Group From left: Sara, Devra, Max From left: Liz, Lauren Parts and Crafts! From left: Will MacFarlane, Patrick Herron (of Mystic River Watershed Association), Denise Provost (our district’s state representative), and Katie Gradowski. ***************************************************************************** Kieran and Ethan on Design Squad
- Showing us how it’s done! ***************************************************************************** Enrollment is open for February camp!
- February Vacation Camp! February 17-21, 9-3 pm. A whole week of invention and creation! We’ll have our electronics workbench, art table, a bunch of hand-tools, building supplies, scrap materials, air pumps, hot glue, duct tape, etc. Printers will be taken apart, bread will be baked, LEDs and
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motors will be glued to things, there may very well be giant cardboard sculptures. Who knows? We don’t know exactly what’ll happen, but we promise it will be fun, and amazing! Open to kids age 7-13. Cost: $75-300/week, sliding scale, with early and late care available.
Help Save Henry’s Garden! Update: Sunflower Picket Line! (the following is copy pasted in an email from a camp parent) “People all over Somerville, MA plant flowers
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in beds in medians. These sunflowers are not a safety hazard–I live and drive there every day, and people walking and driving by compliment us every day as we work on the plot. We planted them specifically to memorialize a very old tree that was taken down without our knowledge by the city of Somerville. These flowers and vegetables are are not overgrowth, they are carefully contained and tended in a bed that our family
built with our children.” The Superintendent of
Highway Lights and Lines has requested that the family take down this flower bed, saying that it’s overgrowth whose height poses a safety concern (see petition here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-henrys-raised-bed-garden-in-somerville-ma/) We like sunflowers! (they are both friendly, and useful in remediating nuclear waste sites!) If you’d like to see it preserved, click on this link and let the City of Somerville know how you feel! http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-henrys-raised-bed-garden-in-somerville-ma/ To kick off the new camp session, we decided to stage a sunflower picket line. Pictures below!
Slow Times at Parts and Crafts Amazing pictures with slow-motion camera, jello, water balloons,
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Girls Invention Week Rocks! It was an amazing week of stilt-making,
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table and box design, dropping eggs, launching water balloons, crafting giant looms and tiny pillows, getting lost on the longest hike we’ve ever been on, and hosting a fantastic end-of-camp talent show.
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We had an all-time high of 40 kids who came to camp last week — a first for Parts and Crafts, and more than double the number who signed up for the session last year (for more on what we did over the course of the week, see pictures below) Working on mosaics Scratch Day! Carbonating ginger ale with dry ice Building a loom out of a bed frame Stilts! Girls Invention Week rocks!
Kids Street Band rehearses this weekend! After a long hiatus, the Parts and Crafts kids
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street band will be starting rehearsals again this weekend! Come and make a joyful noise. Sunday May 6, from 3-5 pm!
Fun pictures of stuff we did at camp! Lemon batteries Building robot armor to pilot vehicles of the future Darth Vader finishes a Rubik’s Cube in under 3 minutes Consecrating the mandala Sand explosion! Cambridge Science Festival! *************************************************** Camp is wrapping up for the summer! Ten weeks never went by so fast — between the motorized bikes, the popcorn sales, the mushroom hunts, and the restaurant, it’s been quite a summer! A few things to mention! For kids and parents who are excited to see what we’ve been up to, we’ve started a list of “project pages.” We also have a flickr feed (partsandcrafts), if you want to check it out. Due to an unfortunate incident with the camp phone (photography: helium balloon) we’re missing a chunk from the middle of the summer — piano takeapart, sadly, is consigned to memory — but we’ve got some pretty great photos of popcorn sale, mechanisms, worldbuilding, squirt guns, mushrooms, marimbas, and other assorted goodness. Note to parents: If there are images you’d like to have privatized please let us know. Right now all images of people are under full copyright (i.e. not for reuse) but are publicly posted — mostly so you all
can see them! That said, it’s easy for us to change the setting. We’re doing some stuff in the fall, some of which is starting very soon! “Stuff” includes: classes! workshops! afterschool! We’ll be doing an electronics class, an Arduino workshop, and an invention class with Terry Murray the Inventor Mentor — as well as an afterschool program, every Friday at Parts and Crafts! If you’re
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looking for fun stuff to do in the off hours, we encourage you to check us out. Last but not least: workshops! CSEs have been on hiatus this summer, but now
that summer’s wrapping up we have a lot of great new ideas for projects. Expect the next kits in mid-September — we’ll be working on them over the next few weeks and sending out an invitation for a build party at some point over the next month. We’ll also be doing periodic build parties. The best way to find out about these is by signing up for our mailing list — which you can do by clicking on the right-hand link on this page! PVC catapult! ***************************************************** A vision of the future! Oscar Archimedes, the youngest and cutest member of the parts and crafts collective. He’s not ours, but he sure is cute. Congratulations to Jeff and Beth on the newest member of their family! ******************************************* Parts and Crafts is looking for workshop leaders! Do you build Rube Goldberg machines? Make pies? Hack cameras to study plant photosynthesis? Build catapults? Fold kinetic origami? LIke to take things apart? If so, we’d love to talk to you! We’re actively looking for people with cool skills, awesome projects, and community-based research initiatives to collaborate and work with during our summer programs. If you’re in Boston and want to get involved, drop us an email at email@example.com. *******************************************************
Hi all! We are currently migrating data from our old sort-of-custom blogging engine to Wordpress. There
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