Workshop Alert: Drones on the Beach

This just in: 

New reward for $50: 

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*WORKSHOP* Conservation Drones with NatGeo Explorer and LAM's Resident Rocket Scientist Shah Selbe (Boeing), part of his SoarOcean project.

Learn what a drone is, how it's assembled, and how to fly them, and how they can be used to monitor and protect our oceans.

Check out the video: http://vimeo.com/96928124

Spend the day at the beach learning robotics, conservation, and aeronautics for $50? Where do I sign up? Oh yeah on the LAM Kickstarter!!

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Free Minecraft at the Local Library for Your Kids

We've been tweeting a lot about Minecraft the last couple days -- Monday we had our first Librarian Minecraft training and currently we're editing a video of it, coming soon.

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Team Minecraft in action on Monday

Parents out there know just how popular Minecraft is—the current most-watched channel on all of YouTube is about Minecraft, if that gives you an idea. It's just where kids ARE. The game has become a worldwide phenomenon due to its approachable gameplay and open-world creative system allowing players to build their own worlds full of spectacular creations. 

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Spectacular librarian creation

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Let's Teach LA To Make at the Library!

We've launched a Kickstarter project to train 600 public librarians in LA to teach Maker skills and support them in providing 18,000 hands-on educational experiences for Los Angelenos.

What the librarians will learn: Robotics, Electronics, Programming in Minecraft, Scratch Programming, Stop Motion Animation, 3D Design and 3D Printing! More!!

And now, a series of informational-type graphics giving some background on the state of STEAM in Los Angeles, why there's so much opportunity, why a lot of people are at risk for getting shut out of it, and why we need to try some new things to help...

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The stats on that:

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Why I Love Citizen Science

I recall my middle school and high school biology classes with some fondness. I absolutely loved learning about the human body and plants and fossils. Growing fruit flies was a very fun experiment and has helped me comprehend concepts on one of my favorite sites - 23andme.com. I used the word "some" because there were definitely aspects of those classes that I found frustrating. I didn't like having to memorize a bunch of information not knowing why it was useful, I didn't like having to dissect a cow's eyeball and I didn't like the uncomfortable metal swivel chairs that we had to sit on. I wanted to be outside learning about the snakes and tadpoles and crickets that I caught with my brothers. I wanted to learn more about the rings on a tree and why bats didn't run into things at night. I wanted to be in the field.

That is probably why I am so attracted to citizen science. My LA Makerspace co-founder, Levi Simons, is the most passionate and hardworking science teacher I have ever met. He has run traditional science classes at LAUSD and private schools and is now concentrating on running workshops out of school so he can do all those things that you just can't do inside a classroom. He has kids around 13 and up from all over LA come to the lab. The diversity of backgrounds is just not something you get in one classroom setting day after day.

Science!

The experiments that the LA Makerspace Community Lab run are mind boggling, but there is one in particular that is close to my heart.

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Advisory Council Meeting at Blankspaces DTLA!

Thank you so much to our friends at Blankspaces DTLA for donating the space last night for our Advisory Council to meet last night and create plans for LAM's future -- and some pretty stellar artbots courtesy of LAM instructor Allen Pan! Not to mention donuts donuted (groan) by Donut Friend.

Our advisors are rad.

 

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What's in the LA River? Part 1

Whenever I bring up that I've been working on a project to study the ecology of the LA river I usually get asked something to the effect of 'how many species of plastic bag have you found?'.

While it's true that the LA river has been more famous over the past 80 years as a flood control channel, movie location, and shopping cart burial ground it still is a river, and rivers always have an ecosystem.  What we've been doing over the past few months at LA Makerspace will now allow for anyone to help answer the question of 'What grows in the LA river, and why does it matter?'.

Yes, this really is a shot along the LA river.
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Exciting News for LA Makerspace!

Summer programming has come to an end and LA Makerspace is fueling up for an exciting year with the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL.) LA Makerspace has signed on to be the primary service provider of the LAPL’s Full STEAM Ahead program. Other providers include the California Science Center, Exploratory, Natural History Museum, Iridescent Learning and Kidspace Children’s Museum. This partnership will allow LA Makerspace to reach over 14,000 students (kids, teens and adults.)

Minecraft, Scratch, Citizen Science, Tabletop Filmmaking, Stop Motion Animation and Robotics are the programs that LA Makerspace will contribute to the Full STEAM Ahead program. Overseeing the new partnership and implementation of the services is LA Makerspace’s new Managing Director, Mya Stark. Instructors include Ariel Levi Simons/Citizen Science, Brian Foley/Scratch, Tara Tiger Brown/Minecraft, Allen Pan/Robotics and Jessica Judd/Tabletop Filmmaking and Stop Motion Animation.

LA Makerspace instructors will train 30-40 librarians in these subject areas. The librarians or Maker Apprentices will then host related workshops at their home branch. This partnership will quickly and dramatically expand LA Makerspace’s reach and scope in the city of Los Angeles, making the Full STEAM Ahead program LA Makerspace’s top priority.

These are exciting times for LA Makerspace, not just in growing as an organization, but also in programming. The Citizen Science Summer Research Program utilized the makerspace at the Pio Pico Koreatown library this summer and studied the LA River. Successful workshops on Tabletop Game Design, Arcade Game Design, 3-D Printing and Optical Theremin took place in the space in June. LA Makerspace in partnership with Pursuitery hosted a four-week-long Minecraft Camp and two sessions of Scratch were offered online through the Summer of Learning initiative. 

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Win a Maker Gift Pack from Intel!

LA Makerspace members and supporters! We're happy to announce a rad giveaway courtesy of Intel: 2 Maker Gift Packs including an Intel Galileo 2 board, three sensors to work with the board, and a free full pass to all three days of the Intel Developer Forum (a $1500 value).
Update: Here's a pic!
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LA Makerspace, Citizen Science and the LA River

Participants in the LA Makerspace’s Citizen Science Summer Research Program, E-CLAW (Ecology and the Chemistry of the Los Angeles Watershed), are studying the Los Angeles River by taking water samples from eight sites along the river from the Chinatown area to the Sepulveda Recreation area.  They are performing a series of chemical, physical and biological tests and comparing their data with 2003-2004 data that was collected by Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR.)  The hope is the research will support and inform the current and upcoming river revitalization projects and, by involving high school students, create a large network of people who can study the river and increase scientific literacy around that research.    

Dropping in on the program to see the science firsthand was inspiring.  High School students are the researchers and they are extremely knowledgeable and fun.   They represent North Hollywood Zoo Magnet, Viewpoint, Wildwood School and West Adams Prepatory High School and all have aspirations to work in STEM related fields. 

Ariel Levi Simons, co-founder of LA Makerspace and Citizen Science instructor explained, “The short term goal of this project is to establish monitoring methods which high school students could implement on an ongoing basis.  This we've mostly accomplished this summer as we've been able to get repeatable data on the chemistry of the river, as well as how to capture samples on the algae and aquatic invertebrates living in the river.  The next step with those samples is to get a reliable method for students to visually identify our samples, which are now preserved and kept by our partners at USC.  Somewhat longer term, our plan is to do genetics sequencing of the algae in the river, again by USC, to get a measure of biodiversity in the system. The main long term goal is to figure out a way of keeping this project going on the scale of years so we can track the river ecosystem during the whole transition of the Glendale narrows from concrete to soft bottom river.”

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 Site Four and Five in Glendale at the Los Angeles River.

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 Evan Visher, high school researcher, measuring water flow.

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Citizen Science High School Researchers

High school students are the researchers collecting and analyzing samples from the Los Angeles River for the LA Makerspace's Citizen Science research project, E-CLAW (Ecology and the Chemistry of the Los Angeles Watershed.) Nikita Hudson, Gemma Busoni, Evan Visher, Megan Ferreira, Chloe Butler-Jones, Chiara Berruto, Max Caplow, Jesse Silva and Roberto A. Salamanca are the high school students participating in the first two-month phase of the program. Ariel Levi Simons leads the project.  Others involved in the research are Stacie Dahl, Robin Sehler and Daniel Kang.  Please continue reading for interviews of the students involved and click here to read more about the project. 

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LA Makerspace
A non-profit member driven community space for makers, tinkerers and DIYers of all ages to create and collaborate.

LA Makerspace