Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heading to Maker Faire!

My plan is to still get a copy of the print version of More Make: Electronics and to work through it and document my work. I see the book is scheduled for a May 29 release, but I'm attending Maker Faire this weekend (May 17-18, 2014) and crossing my fingers that advanced copies of the book may be on sale in the Maker Shed.

Once I get a copy, I'll do an initial scan of the book to determine what components I will need to gather -- this could take a few days or a few weeks. My electronics collection has grown substantially and now includes many more components and tools than I ever needed for the original book. Still, I suspect I will need to do some sourcing and pricing to find out how best to gather supplies and not spend a small fortune. It's quite possible that the Maker Shed may already be planning one or more Parts Packs as they did with the first book (that one had two Parts Packs created for it), so I'll check that out and ask around at the Shed and share what I learn here.

On a similar note, I will be teaching a basic introduction to electronics and robot building to some campers this summer. At this point, I have 22 kids signed up for a weeklong camp where we'll learn about the basics of voltage, current, resistance and capacitance as well as get some hands-on practice with reading schematics, wiring them up on a breadboard, soldering, and, of course, building a real robot. I've been looking forward to this for some time, and if the camp goes well my intention is to teach more each summer and at different locations. I've got a parts supplier and a curriculum in development that I will use this first camp to help refine. The camp is $300 per camper (and I'm told this is quite low for a camp of this nature -- other non-technical camps in and around Atlanta can run $400, $500, even $600 per week. My camp filled up fast (I had originally set the cap at 20, but two extra campers managed to sign up before the school where I'm hosting it pulled the plug), so apparently parents and kids are seeing the possibilities here.

At the end of the camp, I'm inviting the parents to come and listen to their kids talk about their experience, show off their robots, and I'll have a chance to point these parents to additional resources like the Make: Electronics book and the follow-up book.

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