What do design, DIY, engineering, and music all have in common? They all combine to create the successful ingredients for ICAT’s first ever MAKEr camp! On July 30, 2012, ICAT studio heads, researchers, and graduate students welcomed nearly thirty middle and high school-aged students to a week long camp designed to harness students’ creativity and encourage them to act on their curiosity. Campers experimented with sensors, circuitry, robotics, rapid prototyping, and the Pd-L2Ork K12 software as they used the design process to create custom musical instruments that responded to motion, sound, and touch sensors.
Why MAKEr camp? The MAKEr movement is driven by individuals who share a passion for exploring, innovating, and questioning how to create the objects of their passion using the resources available. Since there is no age restriction for being a MAKEr, examples of products range from high-tech robots to banjos made from shoeboxes. The power of making is that the process teaches us to question, explore, build, and test our ideas – all crucial components of critical and creative thinking.
Recently, ICAT held a workshop for students interested in combining both the arts and sciences. The MAKEr Workshop was free and open to the first 30 seventh- through 12th-graders who signed up. Within 72 hours of opening sign-ups, the workshop was full, Knapp said.
At the workshop, students worked alongside five ICAT faculty members, three graduate students and an undergraduate student to create musical instruments. Using computer software, students turned cardboard, trash can lids, buckets and other household items into working musical instruments.
In addition to the creation of musical instruments, Knapp hopes the workshop encouraged a creative environment where students could learn how to better brainstorm their ideas from beginning to end.“The idea of making is to make stuff with your hands, to create,” Knapp said. “The great thing we’ve done is emphasize science, technology, engineering and math, but in that we also have to make sure to mention the arts and integrate all of these things together.”
Tiger Sun, an eighth grader at Blacksburg Middle School attended the workshop and said it was unlike any other he’s been to before."
Click here to see photos from the camp, and continue to check back for information about future events hosted by ICAT team members.