Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Rube Goldberg Machines

A Rube Goldberg machine is a crazy contraption that accomplishes a very simple task through a very complicated, or "over-engineered" process - one step causes the next, which causes the next, and so on. It is named after a Pulitzer-Prize winning American cartoonist who made this type of machine famous in his published cartoons. These multi-step machines are always ingenious, creative, a lot of fun to watch and even more fun to build! We love to make them during First-Friday enrichment sessions - fun for kids of all ages!

These machines lead to a lot of trial and error, teamwork, concentration, collaboration, AND a lot of expressions like this one on the kids' faces:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fresco painting

What better way to bring the work of the Renaissance masters to life than to try their painting style ourselves? Fresco, (or "fresh" in Italian), is the art of painting with water-based pigments onto freshly applied plaster.
After studying famous frescoes like Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, we broke out some plaster and tried painting it wet, which we discovered is actually quite difficult! One of the many arts to this style must have been getting the plaster consistency just right -- and we learned, while working, how important it is for an artist to be familiar with the qualities of their chosen medium and how best to use it.

Just like the masters, we started with a sketch of our plan, then transferred the outlines to our plaster and painted quickly. Our results? We may need a few years studying with a master artist, as our Renaissance painters did, to become really accomplished at this style; but overall, we had a lot of fun with the process and the paintings were all very charming!
More on frescoes here:
and take a 3D tour of the Sistine Chapel, as we did in class, here:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Tinkertopia - invention inspiration!

Have you ever been to a "creative reuse" center? Tinkertopia, on Pacific Ave, is the place to go when you are getting ready to invent! Some members of our staff credit this fun store as the inspiration for our very own Seabury MakerSpace, and it is definitely an inspiration! We went a while ago to load up on invention supplies, and came back with some GREAT stuff! Let the inventing begin!

We filled our bags with creative reusables and our minds with exciting ideas for inventions!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Tallest Tower Engineering Challenge

We love engineering challenges! This one, based on our middle-ages study of castles, was based on the question: 

 We cut turrets

We fought against "flops"

We shared ideas and talked about out what worked well and solutions to problems

Figured out some tricks for using less tape


had a lot of fun in the process

AND made some pretty tall towers!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Renaissance Music & the Hurdy Gurdy

Right before Christmas, we had a visit from musician Jacob Breedlove, who was in town to perform as part of the Puget Sound Christmas Revels at the Broadway Theater. Jacob showed us how he made his own Renaissance-period costume (including his hand-stitched leather shoes) for the performance, and played some Middle Ages and Renaissance music for us on his beautiful, hand-made hurdy gurdy. He had us all up and dancing in no time!

An exciting week of learning culminated in a visit from the education department from the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University...