Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Making (a Mess!)

After a busy season of preparing for outreach events (Solano Stroll, East Bay Mini-Maker Faire, Bay Area Science Festival ), our recent Maker Club meeting involved a  kid-tested Halloween maker activity: carving pumpkins. This maker approach to pumpkin carving involves LEDs, a Dremel tool, alligator clips, toothpicks, twine, cardboard, duct tape, and lots of mess. (Actually, the last one might be a middle school pumpkin carving thing, not a maker thing.) To minimize mess, our teacher made us work in big plastic bins.

We carved a hand shape into one pumpkin. Lots of wires later, inserting your hand into the carved spot caused the LEDs to light up.The pumpkin artists wanted to display the pumpkin at our school halloween fair.

However, when the pumpkin dried out, it ceased to be conductive. Although it was raining on Halloween, because the pumpkin was closed, the inside stayed dry.

So, we sprayed it with a spray bottle. Which meant our pumpkin artists were standing in the rain, spraying an LED covered pumpkin with a spray bottle. I really wish we had a picture, because it was awesome.

The second pumpkin team was trying to see what they could do with LEDs and a pumpkin.  They quickly sawed it in half and hooked up batteries and foil.  Knowing that it was conductive, they wanted to add a layer of insulating cardboard.  After adding batteries and LEDs and cardboard, there remained the daunting task of stitching the pumpkin together. I'm not sure exactly how this happened, but it involved twine and skewers.  But the resulting effect was kind of cool.

-Jane (8th Grade)

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