The Story of C.R.E.A.T.E.

Monday, February 22, 2016


The mini-car

I could see that he wasn't participateing with his group. They were gathered around the final assembly of their cardboard cubby prototype (see Cubbies: From Need To Knowledge Part I.) They were fitting scale-model shelves into scale-model uprights. He was hunched over what looked like a tiny piece of scrap cardboard.

Without questioning his seeming self-imposed isolation, I asked him what he was working on. Silently, he showed me the most amazing thing. A tiny car, perhaps two inches long, with a tiny steering wheel, impossibly tiny foot pedals and working doors with millimeter-sized handles.

I oohed and ahhed and asked him about it. What I did not do was question his choices. There was no way to know for sure what he was thinking without embarrassing him in front of his group. Perhaps he felt that he didn't fit-in as the only boy in his group. Perhaps he was simply bored with the prototyping process. But I could be sure of one thing. What he did not feel was disapproved of.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Deconstruction Percussion

One of the activities we offer in CREATE is deconstructing decommissioned technology such as old computers, printers or other items that might be donated to us. The only rule is that students disassemble – not destroy. The object is for them to observe and analyze the item, try to figure out how it was assembled and then select the appropriate tool for disassembly. When they first experience this, often their choice is the biggest hammer they can find. That's when they start learning about different screw heads, Torx drivers, torque and analytical thinking.

"...the biggest hammer they can find."

The usual end result is a pile of components and chassis that are stripped bare and some recovered motors and magnets. But sometimes, the end result is something else entirely.

What just happened?

The sound from outside the door was reminiscent of street scenes from Santa Cruz or from Haight Ashbury in the 1960s. Instead, it was technology repurposed in ways never intended by their manufacturers. Leave it to our kids to put the A in STEAM.