Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects. A Book Review

making and crafting with duct tape TheMakerMom.com
I received a review copy of the DIY Duct Tape Project Book, Sticky Fingers. Author Sophie Maletsky provides dozens of DIY duct tape projects along with advice on how to make them.

The book starts off with an introduction to making things, or crafting, with duct tape. She's pretty clear on the three basics: a place to work, tape and a good pair of scissors, but she rounds off what would otherwise be a very short chapter with loads of helpful tips. For example, don't use cardboard or a plastic tablecloth as you work surface. She also provides a breakdown of the different brands of duct tape, along with their pros and cons.

Learn to make things with duct tape or duck tape with the book Sticky Fingers

After sharing a few tips on creating a workstation, Maletsky guides the reader through basics, like how to create "duct tape fabric," sticky strips and more, that serve as the foundation for later projects.

Those later projects are broken down by chapters: quick crafts (bows and flowers), wallets, purses and cases, wearables, items for school, and items for home. Fittingly, the book closes with tips on how to use those end bits of tape and even the core of the roll itself.

Speaking of projects, my friend Mary Anne came over while our boys were at the pool. While my younger son was in the process of making plans with his buddy, I told him to relay a message that I wanted the boy's mom to come over for a playdate. "Adults don't have playdates," he replied rolling his eyes.


Oh yes, they do. I had to call her myself, but she came over and made lanyard, a belt and a collar for her dog (alas, it was too small for Tesla to model), while I made us ice cream sundaes and experimented with a (non duct-tape) glow in the dark Frisbee project (coming in another post).




See what else is on The Maker Mom's bookshelf.



Like The Maker Mom on Facebook. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Follow us on Pinterest and YouTube. Follow The Maker Mom on Google+.

Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Future City Announces 2014-15 Competition Topic

Future city engineering competition 2014-15
Future City announced their 2014-15 Competition Topic! Earlier this year I had the privilege of reporting live from the Future City 2014 finals in Washington, DC. It was exciting to see the engineering competition in progress. It was clear that the students in DC, all winners from their regions across the United States, worked hard to create their vision of a city of the future. They put in just as much effort to understanding and describing the technologies necessary to make their city function and some of the teams had pretty spiffy marketing materials for their cities, too.

The 2014-15 Competition Topic is...Feeding Future Cities!


From their site:  Choose two foods (one vegetable and one protein) and design a way to grow enough of each within your future city borders to feed all of your citizens for at least one growing season. Taking into account your city’s size and location, you must consider the critical elements needed to grow food including light, climate, air quality, space, water, soil, and nutrients.  

What a timely topic. I've seen several recent articles devoted to urban agriculture. Hubs even wants to put one of these in our basement. For now we have one of these. At any rate, I think it's pretty exciting and I'm a fan of Future City.

I like Future City because:

  • It's an exciting event that bring invites research in science and technology as well as engineering.
  • It encourages kids to think about their role in shaping an awesome and sustainable future.
  • There are a lot of girls involved- perhaps they are drawn by the creative and narrative elements?
  • It's a relatively low-budget event. Teams are supposed to creatively upcycle materials for their model and are limited to a budget of $100.
  • Related to other team STEM competitions, there's a low barrier to entry. It's only $25 to register a team!
  • Teams get paired with actual engineers to mentor them.
  • Generous sponsors ensure that most expenses are covered for teams that make it to the national competition--we're talking airfare, hotel and many meals.
Here's an overview of the 2014 competition that focused on transportation.


 
Like The Maker Mom on Facebook. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Follow us on Pinterest and YouTube. Follow The Maker Mom on Google+.

Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Science for Girls: It's STEM Girl Friday

This morning I caught some chatter on my friend Kristina Sauerwein's blog post at BabyCenter. (I wrote there with her back in the day.) She called attention to a discussion taking place on the Lands' End Facebook page regarding sexist science t-shirts in the back-to-school catalog. As you can see in her post, Lands' End offered two girl "science" shirts and two boy science shirts.

The boy shirts are detailed and technical and, frankly, the kind of thing I might have purchased for my boys when they were young. The girl shirts have a lot of sequins. Honestly, I thought the Saturn one was pretty cute, but calling them science shirts is a big stretch.

The bigger question is, is Lands' End sexist in their approach to science? The shirts aren't as bad as "Math class is tough" Barbie, but still, there's quite a difference between the boy and girl offerings. Many parents are upset.

As noted above, I have boys and they would have liked the "boy" shirts. My boys had very little outside media influence during their first few years of life. My older son even had a pink stroller when I was pregnant with his little brother. He sent it careening around the house, bouncing it off of walls. They have always been very "boy."

My point is, my boys challenged and changed a lot of my pre-motherhood assumptions about nature vs. nurture. I now give a bigger nod to nature than I ever thought possible.

So, moms of girls, I'm asking you in the name of STEM, what's your opinion on the Lands' End shirts? What would you like to see the company do as they move ahead? They seem to be listening to customer feedback on this, so I'd encourage you to chime in. Would the "boy" shirts be of interest to your daughter? Would the design or shirt color or style need to be tweaked for it to grab her interest? Is there a large untapped market for gender-neutral kids clothes. I thought so...and then I had kids.

Just two paragraphs up I noted that I now give nature more credit than I used to in terms of how it affects identity, preferences and temperament. I stand by that, but I do acknowledge that there are many messages we send our kids each day about what it means to be a boy or a girl.

It's easy to blame the media, but maybe instead of pointing fingers, we should hold up mirrors. Verizon recently launched a powerful commercial along these lines. It's part of a broader campaign, #InspireHerMind, to encourage girls to embrace STEM topics and careers. Their site is full of information and resources, which is not surprising given that their partner in the initiative is Makers.

What do you think?





Like The Maker Mom on Facebook. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Follow us on Pinterest and YouTube. Follow The Maker Mom on Google+.

Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Butterfly in my Office

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
I was just going about my day last Wednesday when I finally puttered into my office to get some work done and I saw a butterfly, flitting about in the container on my desk! I had expected the Black Swallowtail Butterfly to emerge from its pupa around July 14, so I wasn't even on watch yet. Still, it was exciting to see the beautiful butterfly.

Feeling compelled to release her into the world as soon as possible, I cast aside my plans to bring her to a local patch of prairie.

And then I cast her aside. She took off without attracting the attention of the birds feeding in my neighbor's yard. Thank goodness--how awful would it have been to watch the swallowtail get swallowed on her first flight?

{shudders}

Curious to know what happened in that chrysalis during the critter's 10-day metamorphosis? Here's a good explanation and here's another one that includes 3-D scans of the process.

Here she is when she was just a baby. They grow up so fast!


Like The Maker Mom on Facebook. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Follow us on Pinterest and YouTube. Follow The Maker Mom on Google+.

Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sponge Balls and Cicada Killers

Today I'm over at Bedtime Math showing you how to make sponge balls, a fun, easy and green alternative to water balloons!

I also recently shared how to turn a summer hot dog meal into something crazier, but still simple.

In other news, although I don't plan to coach entomology again next year, the award-winning girls on my team have a year-round interest in insects, so I try to stay attuned to that. When I find, say, a dead moth on my porch, I put it in a plastic baggy to hand to them for further study.

Have you observed moth wings under a microscope?

This morning I found a cicada killer wasp while out walking Tesla. Despite the scary-sounding name and even scarier looks--2 inches long with yellow "warning" stripes!-- they are only a danger to cicadas. The wasp was barely alive, so I used the otherwise empty poop bag to scoop it up and bring it home.

Then, emboldened by this great photo capture, I dared to photograph it.

In my kitchen.

cicada killer wasp
It was over an inch long not counting the antennae.
I didn't get quite the clarity I wanted because as I was zooming in on it, I saw its abdomen heaving. What do you know? It was still alive.

In my kitchen.

Happy Monday, everybody!

Like The Maker Mom on Facebook. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Follow us on Pinterest and YouTube. Follow The Maker Mom on Google+.

Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...