Young Maker Panel

Engaging the Creative Possibilities of STEM to Catalyze Cultural Change: Boston’s Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn Program

Osakpolor 'Clinton' Osula, Dainirys 'Damien' Pimentel, Adonis Evans, Lola Fearon, Gabriel Grajeda, Susan Klimczak

PDF   |   The mission of Boston’s Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn (L2TT2L) is to generate a critical mass of Boston youth of color creatively engaged with technology and engineering who catalyze cultural change in their communities about what is possible to achieve with STEM. Each year, from April through August, 36 teen youth teachers use a constructivist approach to learning and building projects. During the summer, they travel throughout Boston to teach what they have learned in 3-4 week hands-on summer STEAM camps that reach over 600 children at over 25 community organizations located in the neighborhoods most in need of education resources.
L2TT2L Youth teachers and former youth teachers now in college studying STEM will present 3 types of projects
1) Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn model as a community organizing project. This 17 year old community organizing program has been developed through participatory design with teenage youth teachers and college mentors, who are former youth teachers now in college studying STEM.
2) Example of a project built by a team of youth teachers. Each summer small teams of 3 youth teachers design and build projects that solve a community issue they think important using the engineering design process.
3) Examples of some of the 12-15 project-based teaching activities they design and offer to elementary and middle school youth in Summer STEAM Camps. Returning youth teachers design teaching activity projects and mentor new youth teachers to teach.

GIY: The Living Leather Project

Emily Takara, Trisha Sathish, Anne Hu and Corinne Takara

PDF   |   We would like to share our journey exploring bio design, specifically our experiments with making and growing kombucha bio leather. Our grow-it-yourself (GIY) explorations in kombucha leather are the foundations for a future biodesign challenge, in which we plan to propose a biodesign tinkering kit for children. We believe that exploring biomaterials in youth education in a playful way is important because using approachable methods, such as tinkering and hands-on activities, can introduce children to new ideas and technologies. We believe that this is a fun and simple method to introduce sustainable design conversation in youth curriculum. As part of our mission to educate children, we hope to conduct youth workshops at our local nature park, McClellan Ranch Preserve in Cupertino, California and in East San Jose, California. Currently, we are growing a bacterial cellulose with kombucha cultures and are exploring uses and possibilities of this bio material. We will be presenting various methods of growing and drying kombucha leather, as well as several projects and crafts that can be created with this bio material, such as small lanterns and integration as skins with 3D printed objects.


Yashna Kumar and Leanne Gibson

PDF   |   Manurewa High School’s Makerspace is a place that is accessible to all students, teachers, and staff to investigate their ideas and projects utilizing technology.
From our project we have learnt important lessons such as the environment of a fabrication space is a key factor in the success of Makerspaces.

Robot Serenade: Robots in a Talent Show

Daisy Martinez, Kelly Zamora and Jasmine McBeath

PDF   |   We describe how our team of four girls in middle and high school built robots and had them perform for our Full STEAM Ahead Showcase, an art and science talent show for youth 10-18 years old. We thought it would be funny and creative to make a robot sing to another robot, and then dance together, performing as if they were people at the talent show. Here we talk about how we came up with our ideas for dance moves, created the robot costumes, and learned about coding and problem solving. Finally, we talk about how we presented the dressed-up robots singing and dancing at the showcase. We liked how the robots weren’t part of a competition but part of an event where everyone showed off their talents. We want to encourage other youth centers to do similar projects and be creative with robots.

Robotic Arm Controlled by Speech

Pannawish Boonto, Ittichai Rattanathavorn and Nalin Tutiyaphuengprasert

PDF   |   Diseases affect people all across the world. Diseases such as ALS (is a specific disease which causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles). People affected with ALS can move difficult so they can’t grab things easily too. I had an idea to help people affected by ALS grab things for them. My idea was to build a robotic arm controlled by speech. The project had two elements. Hardware: The robotic arm has four joints it can turn left-right, forward-backward. Software: To control something by voice, we need to have data storage because we need to use AI (Artificial Intelligence). In contrast to the natural, I hadn’t used python before and did not know AI at all. So I start the project by using Googles AI or “Cloud Speech API” for education. The project is still in voice recognition phase. After the project was made I feel like it should be improved, so I work on the project in the next trimester. I changed my hotword detection from Cloud Speech API to Snowboy which is free software and can detect the Thai language and can be used offline. I also assembled a new robotic arm and tested it with a new function to brew tea. The robot can brew tea nicely.

Traffic Light for Visually Impaired

Rodrigo Porto

PDF   |   The project consists in a traffic light that helps visually impaired to cross the street. It is basically a traffic light that verifies every time someone wants to cross the street or not and produces different sounds so as to tell this person whether the traffic light is red, yellow or green. One of the project’s main motivation was the necessity to figure out a way to make technology help people and affect their lives. Despite the fact that I hadn’t known what Arduino was until the beginning of this year, I discovered what it was and I could create a project using Arduino motivated by trying to find a solution for a big problem that is: how to make visually impaired cross the street. Since I could create a new project using something that I had learnt in the beginning of the year, there must have been something magic during my work. There was. I concluded that every time you’re motivated by a noble cause, you are able to accomplish everything and this is the lesson that I’d like to share.