Makers

Expand/Collapse Makers


WNET is a proud partner of the Maker Party, an initiative hosted by Mozilla, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Writing Project in which people around the world meet up, learn to make things, and share what they've made online. This collection is designed to support the Maker Party by providing a one-stop shop of STEM and digital making resources that focus on the problem, technology, or process behind object creation.

Teachers can use the collection, which is categorized into design, how to (DIY), arts and crafts, robotics, and engineering subtopics, in conjunction with hands-on activities to further this initiative. Like the Maker Party, this collection is designed to encourage hands-on engagement in science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts.

  • Designing a Wheelchair for Rugby

    In this video segment adapted from Design Squad, U.S. Paralympic athlete and wheelchair rugby player Kerri Morgan asks the teams to build an automated wheelchair that simulates a defensive player on the attack. The teams use the engineering design process to create adaptive technologies. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades 6-12 students.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Air Bag Design

    Do you need proof that driving is a dangerous activity? More Americans have died in car crashes over the past 100 years than in all the wars the U.S. has ever fought combined. More than 40,000 Americans die each year on the nation's highways, most as the result of high-speed collisions. In this video segment adapted from NOVA, learn how engineers developed the air bag, an important automobile-safety device now found in most cars.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Balloon Brain: Designing a Helmet

    As humans, we thankfully have more going for us than the balloon brains depicted in this video segment adapted from ZOOM. Still, the failed efforts of some of the ZOOM cast members to design adequate protection for their balloon brains illustrates the importance of wearing a proper helmet and protecting your own brain whenever you skate, rollerblade, ski, or ride a bike.
    Grades: K-8
  • Triangles: Designing a Newspaper Chair

    Once it's been read, there's often little more to do with the daily newspaper than to add it to that towering stack of recyclables we collect each week. In this video segment, however, the ZOOM cast demonstrates how innovative design can turn this otherwise flimsy material into a relatively solid piece of furniture.
    Grades: 3-8
  • Kid Inventor: The Collapsible Lacrosse Stick

    Many inventions are born of a need to be able to easily store or transport an item without negatively affecting its intended function. In this video segment from ZOOM, a young inventor named Lauren explains the motivation behind her collapsible lacrosse stick.
    Grades: K-8
  • How Do You Keep Lemonade Cool?

    This video segment adapted from FETCH!™ shows two cast members teaming up to take on a design challenge: Make a lemonade stand that keeps lemonade cool and is sturdy and transportable. With the assistance of master carpenter Norm Abram, the team does an experiment to determine the best insulator for keeping the lemonade cool and then chooses their materials from among those available. Their deliberate approach exemplifies the strengths inherent in the engineering design process. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades K-8 students.

    Grades: K-8
  • Kid Designer: A Comfortable Cardboard Chair

    Many people have never attempted to build their own furniture because they feel it would be too difficult or too expensive to make anything worthwhile. In this video segment from ZOOM, a yound designer named Nick demonstrates his process for designing and constructing attractive, sturdy chairs from cardboard.
    Grades: 3-12
  • Designing Swimming Prosthetics for a Dancer

    In this video segment adapted from DESIGN SQUAD, dancer and performance artist Lisa Bufano, a bilateral leg and finger amputee, challenges the teams to build specialized prostheses for an underwater performance. The teams keep aesthetics and function in mind as they use the engineering design process to create adaptive technologies.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Robo Arm Challenge

    Robotic arms are cool, useful, and fun to make. In this video from Design Squad Nation, kids design and build controllable mechanical arms and use their “robo” arms to lift objects and to play a series of games. As they build their mechanical arms, the kids use the engineering design process, apply a variety of science concepts (e.g., levers and tension and compression), and learn how NASA uses robotic arms in many of its missions. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades 3-8 students.

    Grades: 3-8
  • Soft Landing Challenge

    Cars use airbags. Packages use airbags. Why shouldn’t eggs use airbags, too? In this video from Design Squad Nation, kids use balloons and other readily available materials to design and build a shell that can protect an egg when it is dropped from a height of three feet. Their systems model the airbag landing systems used by three NASA Mars missions. The kids use the engineering design process, apply a variety of science concepts, and learn about NASA’s exploration of the solar system. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades 3-8 students.

    Grades: 3-8
  • Designing Electric Circuits: Door Alarm

    Electrical circuits are used in a wide variety of technological innovations, from television sets to windshield wipers, escalators to telephones. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members use electrical circuits to create door alarms out of a variety of materials. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grade 3-8 students.

    Grades: 3-8
  • Building Simple Machines: A Glass of Milk, Please

    Imagine the most complicated process you could go through to simply pour a glass of milk. Then multiply that by 10. The image in your mind is probably approaching the level of complexity the ZOOM cast members achieved with their milk-pouring machine. Watch as they demonstrate all 34 steps in this video segment adapted from ZOOM.

    Grades: 3-8
  • Design Squad: Suspension Bridge

    As is true with any engineered structure—whether it's a skyscraper, a tunnel, or a dome—different bridge designs manage the forces of tension and compression in different ways. In this video segment adapted from Design Squad—a PBS TV series featuring high school contestants tackling engineering challenges—a team of students competes in a bridge design and construction challenge that requires them to build a suspension bridge, which uses long sagging cables and towers to support the weight of a suspended deck. The rules of the challenge prohibit them from using power tools and force them to use natural resources. Thus, they use hand tools and tie ropes to trees and wooden posts.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Design Squad: Truss Bridge

    Have you ever wondered how different bridge designs manage the forces of tension and compression? In this video segment adapted from Design Squad—a PBS TV series featuring high school contestants tackling engineering challenges—a team of students competes in a bridge design and construction challenge without the aid of power tools. Using handsaws and a boring machine, as well as an age-old wood-joining technique, the team constructs a king post bridge, a type of truss bridge that gets its strength from ultra-rigid triangles that will not easily bend or twist.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Easy-Fit Design

    As part of her Massachusetts Institute of Technology undergraduate degree program in mechanical engineering, Chi-An Wang worked with New Balance, a major athletic shoe manufacturer, in the design and testing of a new running shoe for triathletes. The approach for solving this real-world problem exemplifies the importance of following each step of the engineering design process. In particular, it shows the value of research: learning what consumers really want, using surveys and testing. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grade 3-12 students.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Gas in A Bag

    Gas in A Bag is a hands-on science exploration for young children and their teachers, parents or caregivers. In this video, watch as students experiment with a recipe that makes a chemical reaction and forms carbon dioxide.

    Grades: PreK-5
  • Velcro

    In this animated video from LOOP SCOOPS, a sphinx asks two children how a pair of sneakers is like a dog that has been outside. The kids discuss how dogs, after being outside, sometimes return to the house covered in burrs. Looking at both burrs and Velcro® under a magnifying glass, the children discover that both are covered with tiny hooks. The sphinx explains that the inventor of Velcro® was actually inspired by a walk in the woods with his dog.

    Grades: 1-4
  • Designing a Roller Coaster

    What keeps a roller coaster moving and on its tracks as it dips, climbs,and loops? Intelligent engineering designs make all this possiblewithout sacrificing safety or thrills. In this video segment adaptedfrom ZOOM, cast members demonstrate their own design techniquesas they build hills, turns, and loops into the track of a model rollercoaster.
    Grades: 3-5
  • Building Simple Machines: Plant Quencher

    How difficult can it be to water a plant? Pretty difficult when your objective is to build the most complicated machine possible to complete this simple task. In this video segment from ZOOM, Jillian demonstrates the use of ramps, wheels, pulleys, and other simple machines to construct her "plant quencher."

    Grades: 3-8
  • GEMS CO2 Cars

    Hannah, Victoria and Laura are GEMS: Girls in Engineering, Math and Science. GEMS is an after-school program where girls work on science projects. Check out how they design and build dragster cars; then watch as they race in a state competition.

    Grades: 4-6

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