An Over Coffee® special-edition podcast
STEAM can contribute to a very creative and fun Valentine’s Day.
And Over Coffee® has just had the privilege of “counting the ways” with three STEAM experts!
On Saturday, February 3, Play-Well TEKnologies Los Angeles Regional Manager Michael Luong, Play-Well TEKnologies‘ senior Los Angeles instructor James Castellanos and maker, educator and STEAM enthusiast Mitchell Malpartida joined us for a discussion panel at Pipe & Thimble Bookstore, in Lomita.
The topic: all things STEAM, as they related to creating cool gifts and experiences for Valentine’s Day!
Michael, James and Mitchell shared their experiences at the intersection of art and science, offered a lot of creative ideas and resources for parents, teachers and anyone who enjoys making things (wait, that’s just about everybody!), and stayed to teach some fantastic free workshops.
“This will never work,” commented one person on Facebook Live.
James and Michael had created a LEGO® Valentine’s Day catapult that would toss a Valentine candy heart into a basket.
And then, of course, it did.
“That’s awesome!” messaged the same viewer, after Mitchell successfully operated the catapult.
Workshop attendees also had the opportunity to build “walker” robots with the LEGO® components, and James and Michael had created a conveyor belt.
We can personally attest to the fact that building a “walker” with these cool components took just about ten minutes, and was a lot of fun!
Then, in the next workshop, Mitchell showed everyone how to make a “techy Valentine”.
Using littleBits components and kits he had assembled, he walked attendees through construction of…a Valentine that could talk or sing!
And the coolest part? Using the same elements, every “student” created a different look!
It had already been a great day. But one more fun event was yet to come.
Mitchell had brought “DROPMIX”.
This is a relatively new STEAM-based game. Participants use cards with embedded sensors to mix music–and win points.
And we experienced some real cutthroat game-playing skills from our opponents! Congratulations to them on their win!
Meanwhile, even after Valentine’s Day is over, we encourage you to check out our guests’ STEAM-based projects. Play-Well TEKnologies offers not only summer camps that teach engineering and robotics to kids grades K through 8, but classes and birthday parties. (And, they also do office parties for us “tall kids”!)
And Mitchell has an exciting new project in the works! Here’s a link for updates.
On this edition of Over Coffee®, you’ll hear:
A definition of STEAM, as it relates to creativity, education and maker projects;
How each of our guests first became involved with STEAM;
Ideas for STEAM-oriented Valentine’s Day creative-project ideas which Mitch, James and Michael use, in their classes;
Some great STEAM projects to create Valentine gifts for “big kids”;
Some favorite maker resources which Mitchell, Michael and James recommend;
Ways to remove the “intimidation factor” when getting girls involved in STEAM classes;
A technique to get kids involved in learning STEAM-related skills–and other basic skills, as well;
Some last-minute STEAM-oriented Valentine project ideas
And, the fantastic “passion projects” in which our guests are involved, with links to contact them!
Meanwhile, warm thanks to Barbara and Ellie Lieberman, authors, artists and proprietors of Pipe & Thimble, which is Southern California’s first all-indie bookstore! (After only nine months in operation Pipe & Thimble is already a multiple award-winner!) Here’s a link to check out their ongoing special events.
Be warned, though. They have fantastic books and “handmades”, and you are highly unlikely to leave empty-handed. We may need to buy a new bookcase now!
(Note: LEGO®, Duplo®, Mindstorms®, the LEGO logo, and the brick and knob configuration are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2017 The LEGO Group. These programs, our podcast and our related discussion panel are not authorized, sponsored or endorsed by the LEGO Group.)