Automata at Tam Makers
A group of North Bay Maker Educators came to Tam Makers to learn how to create automata (a.k.a. kinetic or mechanical sculptures). This special meetup was organized by Adam Singer, technology / maker educator at Davidson Middle School, and my partner Geo Money, engineering teacher at Tam High School. Geo started by giving folks a tour of our incredible makerspace and wood shop, which we use in the evenings for wood working and maker classes at Tam Makers. We then gave a joint presentation about our Art Float for Social Change: earlier this year, we led over a hundred volunteers to create this large-scale, community-built, socially-conscious automaton, to inspire more people to participate in community life.

Geo then invited a dozen maker educators from Marin and the East Bay to create their own automaton, using special parts he had prepared for this occasion. Participants make their automata move round and round, side to side or up and down, using foam cams attached to bamboo sticks, sliding through 3D-printed guides on a wooden box.

This automata workshop was a great way to learn basic principles of mechanical engineering in a playful, hands-on activity that delighted everyone. We hope that students will enjoy creating their own automata as much as their teachers did!

This was one of our most fun and productive workshop at Tam Makers this year, because we were working with such creative and experienced teachers, who shared a lot of practical advice, and created with some really ingenious projects in just an hour.

Featured participants from North Bay Maker Educators include: Sara Bolduc, Claire Comins, Walt Hays, Nate MacDonald, Andrew Maley, Lisa Skinner, Paige Teamey, Jae Tillinghast, Dave Whaley, as well as Edomyas, Fred, James and Mike, to name but a few.

To see what they created, check out this video:
vimeo.com/306091671

Learn how to create your own Cardboard Automata:
www.exploratorium.edu/tinkering/projects/cardboard-automata

Learn more about North Bay Maker Educators:
plus.google.com/communities/110857114647152222610

Learn more about Tam Makers:
www.tammakers.org/
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