Hands-On Learning for Educators
Our professional development sessions put both traditional and cutting-edge maker technologies into your hands, giving you the proficiency to bring what you learned into the classroom. We’ve been showing kids how to make stuff for years; let us show you what we’ve learned!
Through a combination of instructor-led demonstrations, hands-on individual activities, and group discussion, each session covers one topic in the realm of making. You’ll be actively making things to take home, and getting hard-earned tips and tricks that we’ve learned from thousands of student projects.
These PD sessions are run out of our Lincoln Square location, 2541 W Lawrence Ave, two blocks west of the intersection of Lawrence and Western. Materials and handouts will be provided, but you are welcome to take notes however you like.
Sessions run Wednesdays, starting promptly at 4:30 PM, and ending at 7:30 PM. Plan to arrive 10 minutes early. There will be planned breaks during the session, time to work on hands-on activities, and a Q+A period at the end.
Design Thinking – 10/17
Wed, October 17th 2018, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Learn what it means to think like a designer, to control a thought process, and to framework a project for applied design thinking.
We’ll guide participants through a series of design exercises to show how design thinking can be applied to classroom topics.
“Design” vs “Design Thinking”
Process over Product
Context + Program, Sensing + Acting
Where do Ideas Come From
Ideas vs Concepts
Separating Good Ideas from Cool Ideas
How to Consider Everything
Verbs not Nouns
The Prompt : Opportunities not Problems
Concept Mapping and Points of Departures
Diagramming, Illustrating, Drafting
The Importance of Precedent
Creating an Individuated Process
Material Construction: Cut-Drill-Connect – 10/24
Wed, October 24th 2018, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Learn to deploy the two most essential techniques for building things: cutting things apart and putting them together. Through hands-on exercises and extensive safety training, we show how tool and material constraints offer educators control while encouraging open-ended projects. You’ll learn how to safely teach rough carpentry, so you and your class can make fun projects using real wood and tools!
Participants use hand saws, cordless drills, and impact drivers to create a rough wood shop project (think a toy car or small figure) under the guidance of an instructor.
None. Carve-Laminate-Mold is a great next step after completing this course (but it’s not required).
Basic Tools Don’t Mean Basic Projects
The Design Process, Briefly
The Importance of Clamps
Practicing + Teaching Saw Safety
Practicing + Teaching Drill Safety
Practicing + Teaching Driver Safety
Let’s Build!Screws, Nails, Dowels: When To Use Each
How Precise Do You Need To Be?
Troubleshooting Student Projects
Material Construction: Carve-Laminate-Mold – 11/7
Wed, November 7th 2018, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Learn how to manage a complex process (using multiple tools and steps) by focusing on two methods of forming material: plywood lamination and resin / plastic casting. We’ll show you how to form molds of various sizes, how to use vacuum bagging and wood veneer to create bent plywood, and make a quick mold.
Participants will shape plywood using foam molds and vacuum bags, and take home a small plastic or resin piece they cast themselves.
None. This course works best when preceded by Cut-Drill-Connect, but it isn’t required.
Complex Objects Require Complex Processes
How Plywood is Made
Vacuum Bagging: How We Make Bent Plywood
Plywood Bending Checklist
Mold Materials and Carving Tools
Let’s Make Plywood!
Principles of Plastic, Silicone, and Resin Casting
What Makes a Good Mold
Vector Drawing + Vinyl Cutting – 11/14
Wed, November 14th 2018, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
2D vector drawing is a powerful tool, usable for everything from doodles to laser cuts. We cover its mathematical underpinnings, making complex and compound paths, and preparing your designs for export to a cutting tool. We’ll be using a Cricut vinyl cutter, but the lessons are applicable for Cameos, laser cutters, and even CNC mills.
Participants will use Inkscape to design a small label, nametag, or similar, and cut it out on the Cricut.
Two Approaches to Drawing: Vector vs Raster
Copyright and Original Content – Lead by Example
Vinyl Cutting with a Cricut: Cricut Design Space
The Mathematical Basis of Vector Graphics
Advanced Path Editing in Inkscape
Inkscape to the Cricut
Exporting to Other Formats and Programs
2D Cutting (Laser Cutter) – 11/28
Wed, November 28th 2018, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Learn about the safety, maintenance, and operation of the laser cutter and its related equipment. We demonstrate a variety of applications for laser cutting and engraving and provide hands-on training on a Universal Laser Systems 60W laser cutter.
Participants will run laser cutter jobs, perform routine checks and maintenance, and troubleshoot common errors as part of this course. Each participant will take home a small laser cut item.
We recommend Vector Drawing + Vinyl Cutting or similar experience with 2D vector graphics, but it’s not required.
Components of the Laser Cutter and Fume Extractor
The Laser Cutter Control Panel (UCP)
Laser Cutting Workflow
2D Vector Graphics Review
Programming with Fill and Stroke
Vector Graphics for Laser Cutting: Best Practices
Maximizing Efficiency and Speed
Adding a Dimension: 2D to 3D
Troubleshooting Errors and Problems
Caring for Your Laser Cutter is Hard Work
3D Modeling I (Fusion 360) – 12/5
Wed, December 5th 2018, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Participate in a hands-on modeling exercise as we explore the core principles of CAD 3D modeling. As one of today’s most powerful and flexible CAD tools, Fusion 360 is purpose-built for modeling real objects and behaviors.
Each participant will create a Fusion 360 account, create at least one 3D model, and save it to their cloud account as part of this class.
Types of 3D Modeling
Choosing Your Program
Setting up Fusion 360
Six Faces, Six Tools: Designing a Die
The Timeline, in Brief
Cut, Join, or Intersect?
Extruding and Intruding
Saving and Exporting your models
3D Modeling II (Fusion 360) – 12/12
Wed, December 12th 2018, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Supplement the fundamental techniques presented in the previous course with advanced modeling practices. Learn to make highly complex models that are designed to respond to real measurements, are composed of multiple linked components, and leverage Fusion 360’s unique features to correct mistakes and speed up development time.
Each participant will be actively using Fusion 360, at the guidance of the instructor, and create one or more 3D models.
3D Modeling I or previous experience required.
Brief Review of Fusion 360
Organizing your Projects
The Sketch Workspace
Principles of Parametric Design
Setting and Using Constraints
Offsets, Construction Planes, and Projections
The Sketch Workspace, Revisted
The Timeline, Revisited
Components + Multi-Part Projects, in Brief
3D Printing (3D Printer) – 12/19
Wed, December 19th 2018, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Learn about the safety, maintenance, and operation of 3D printers and their related equipment. Explore effective techniques for incorporating 3D printing into your classroom, no matter the subject.
Participants will use Bit Space equipment to start, stop, and manage jobs, as well as evaluate prints before, during, and after printing. There will be mess ups, and it will be super fun. There will not be time for everyone to complete a 3D print.
We recommend 3D Modeling I & II, but no 3D modeling experience required.
Best Practices for 3D Printing in the Classroom
Good Idea, Bad Idea for 3D Print Projects
3D Printable Materials
Storing + Caring for Filament
Components of the 3D Printer
What Moves And What Gets Hot: 3D Printer Safety
Starting a 3D Print
Introducing the Slicer
Tuning and Customizing Your Slicer
Adhering to the Build Plate: Brim, Skirt, and Raft
Overhangs and Supports
Making Models that 3D Print Well
3D Cutting (CNC Machine) – 1/9
Wed, January 9th 2019, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Learn about the safety, maintenance, and operation of desktop 3-axis CNC milling machines. Participate in hands-on exercises with a Carvey as we explore effective techniques for incorporating CNC milling into your classroom, no matter the subject.
Participants will set up and run jobs on the Carvey, engaging with the process at all stages of making. We will try to get a small object carved for each participant, time permitting.
We recommend 3D Modeling I & II, but no 3D modeling experience required.
From Eli Whitney To Carvey
General Machine Operation + Workflow
The Computer Part is Easy
Materials, End Mills, Operations
Best Practices for CNC Milling in the Classroom
Specific Machine Operation + Safety
Starting a Milling Job
Simple Jobs Using Easel
Tool Path Generation with Fusion 360
Making Models that Mill Well
Electronics I (Hello LED) – 1/16
Wed, January 16th 2019, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Learn to deploy a wide variety of simple Arduino microcontroller-based projects. Through hands-on instruction, we’ll cover the fundamentals of circuits and electronics and progress through a number of basic Arduino projects. This course will focus on fundamentals and workflow, not programming.
Participants will upload code to an Arduino, wire circuits, make Arduino projects under the guidance of the instructor, and take home their projects.
Managing Expectations with Electronics Projects
Circuits, Components, and Diagrams
Three Imperfect Analogies
Let’s Build a Circuit Together!
Circuits 101: VIRP + Laws
Intro to Microcontrollers + Arduino
The Arduino Workflow
Let’s Build a Circuit Together! 2
Digital Inputs + Outputs: LEDs and Buttons
Implement a Project!
Electronics II (Sensors and Actuators) – 1/23
Wed, January 23rd 2019, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Gain practical experience using a variety of inputs and outputs. We’ll survey a variety of useful components by their fundamental types: analog or digital, sensors or actuators. Though we will lightly modify existing code examples, focus is primarily on practical uses and workflow.
Participants will actively work with Arduinos, wire together example circuits, modify and upload code, and take home a small Arduino project with a selection of electronic components.
Electronics I (Hello LED) or equivalent experience.
Circuits + Arduino: a Recap
Sensor / Actuator, Digital / Analog
Using Light: Photoresistors + LEDs
Using Sound: Sound Sensors + Buzzers
Using Rotation: Potentiometers + Servos
Using Color: NeoPixels
What your Arduino can Sink or Source
Programming with Arduino – 1/30
Wed, January 30th 2019, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Through a series of hands-on exercises for the Arduino, we cover programming fundamentals applicable to most programming languages. Starting with variables and progressing through object-oriented programming, this course empowers educators to move past block coding and opens the door to a vast world of online projects and tutorials.
Participants will modify existing code, write their own code, and use libraries to expand the capabilities of their Arduino. Take home the Arduino and any code you wrote.
No coding experience necessary. Great when paired with Electronics I + II, but not required.
Don’t Reinvent The Wheel
Computational Thinking: How to be Pedantic
Syntax + Control Flow
Multi-tasking is a Lie
Variables + Functions
A Brief Taste of Data Structures
Language Features vs Code Libraries
Finding + Using Coding Resources
Other Languages You May Want To Try
Video Games and Virtual Worlds (Unity) – 2/6
Wed, February 6th 2019, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Learn how to use game engines and simulation tools to enrich class projects using the Unity game engine. These hands on fundamentals are fun to learn, fun to teach, and almost certain to get your students engaged. This course focuses on pre-built assets rather than programming and provides practical advice on creating meaningful projects without code.
Participants will make a (simple) video game, which they can take home with them. I mean, it’s literally what it says on the tin. Did you think we were joking?
What is a Game Engine?
You Can’t Cheat in Unity
The Parts of the Unity Interface
Building a Snowman
Collider Shapes and Physics Implications
Parent and Child Objects
Unity Standard Assets
Using the Unity Learning Resources
Asset Store and Other Online Resources
Programming with Unity I – 2/13
Wed, February 13th 2019, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Through a series of hands-on exercises using C# within a Unity project, we cover programming fundamentals applicable to most programming languages. Starting with variables and progressing through object-oriented programming, this course empowers educators to move past block coding and opens the door to a vast world of online projects and tutorials. Great when paired with our Virtual Worlds course.
Participants will be writing code from scratch, learning to read and modify existing code, and making a small simulation game project. Feel free to take home the project! You made it!
No coding experience required. Video Games and Virtual Worlds or a basic understanding of Unity required.
Don’t Reinvent The Wheel
Computational Thinking: How to be Pedantic
C# Syntax + Structure
Variables + Functions / Members + Methods
Values + References
The GetComponent<Type> Function
Accessing Members of Other Components
Unity Physics Event Functions
Using the Input class: Keys, Buttons, and Axes
Using Code Resources + References
Programming with Unity II – 2/20
Wed, February 20th 2019, 4:30 – 7:30 PM
Building upon the building blocks taught in Programming in Unity I, we introduce new data structures, iterating over collections with loops, coding for 3D space, physics coding, and more. This course covers a broad range of useful and general-purpose coding techniques that can be immediately applied in your own projects!
Participants will be writing code from scratch, learning to read and modify existing code, and making a complex physics-based script. Feel free to take home the project! You made it!
Programming with Unity I, or equivalent C# experience required. Video Games and Virtual Worlds or a basic understanding of Unity required.
Don’t Reinvent The Wheel, Redux
Namespaces + the ‘using’ Keyword
Useful Namespaces + Documentation
Generic Actions: UnityEvent
Collections: Arrays + Lists
GetComponents<Type> + FindObjectsOfType<Type>
Iterating over Collections: for and foreach
The Vector3 and Quaternion structs
Coding in 3D Space
Coding in 3D Physics