Get Out The $100,000 Vote

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Hooray for STEM in Hollywood!



Guess where your very own LA Makerspace Scratch Squadders were this past Saturday, October 3? At Google, yet again! Google hosted an event called “Cracking the Code: Diversity, Hollywood, and Stem.” The event started off with a keynote conversation with Danica McKellar, actress, author, and mathematician. She’s involved with series such as Wonder Years, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, and Dancing with the Stars to name a few. She started off by asking the audience what a stereotypical scientist, engineer, or mathematician looks like? She challenged us to think otherwise. There is no typical look. Everyone and anyone could be a scientist, mathematician, engineer, etc. There is no such things as a “woman engineer, a latino mathematician, etc.” They are equal engineers and mathematicians. Danica was a clear advocate to girls in STEM. She encouraged girls to understand that smart is cool! 


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LAM at Sandbox West

Our own Tara Tiger Brown is leading a workshop at Sandbox West, a dynamic idea forum focused on the intersection of play, learning, and technology. The focus will be on working with educators to better understand how to integrate hands-on electronics projects into the classroom so that it works with existing curriculum. There's a lot of other super cool stuff going on too.

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LAMSS At Google

At Google: Scratch Squad Celebration

by Ashley Burton


Scratch Squad had the opportunity on August 21st to visit Google LA to introduce some new Scratchers to the Squad as well as tour the Google LA facilities.  Our Googler volunteers who traveled to join us from Mountain View, Kennan Cronen and Lehren Mackay, as well as Jennifer Vaden Barth, Google LA’s  EngEDU Program Manager, were able to escort us on a tour around the Google headquarters.  There were approximately 25 students in attendance who were involved in Scratch Squad plus parents and siblings.

After arriving at Google, the kids were set up in the “Big Lebowski” Hall to learn how to teach Scratch to groups of their peers.  After the class our Googlers led us on a tour of the facilities of Google LA.  Once the tour was completed our resident MakeyMakey expert, Sara Kaviar, then explained to the kids what MakeyMakey is and then let the kids explore and make their own.  When the kids were finished, our judges went around to observe what they had done and then they chose a winner from the different groups.  

Overall the visit to Google was a great experience and the kids all had a great time with all of the events. LAMSS is so grateful to Google for the opportunity to tour their facilities as well as utilize their space to teach our new recruits about Scratch and how to explain it to their peers.   


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LAMSS + Google CS First - A Match Made in Scratch Heaven


By Brian Foley

The LA Makerspace Scratch Squad is starting its second year teaching free coding classes in LA. This year we are partnering with Google's CS First program to allow groups to learn even more about Scratch and Computer Science. The Scratch Squad is made up of kids who volunteer to help introduce Scratch to others across the city. Last year the Scratch Squad taught classes in a wide variety of places - Libraries, YMCAs, after school programs and even people's garages! The classes are all free and the teaching is done by the kids for kids. 

Scratch Squad offers groups up to four Scratch lessons - but several groups have asked for more. This is where CS First comes in. CS First provides instruction on coding with Scratch through its online web portal.  Groups can use the online tools including instructional videos and live advice to go far beyond the introduction that Scratch Squad provides.  This year the Scratch Squad will help groups get started with CS First enabling far more learning than before. 

Kids aged 10-16 who know coding are invited to join the Scratch Squad and help us reach our goal of 100 Scratch Classes by the end of the year.

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LA STEAM Nonprofits: Let's Get Together at DML!!

An open invitation to LA STEAM education nonprofits, and anyone else who's interested in maximizing impact and efficiency in LA STEAM ed;


We're presenting a workshop at the DML Cafe on Saturday, and thought it would be the perfect time to gather some of L.A.'s STEAM education nonprofits for an informal lunch to discuss creating a network to help us work better together. 

The lunch will be held from 1-2pm, Saturday June 13th, at SPIN @ the Standard Hotel, (550 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071), so that everyone can attend even if they're not going to the conference -- But, be aware that admission to the DML Cafe is just $50 for educators and you will learn SO MUCH cool stuff!

Hope to see you there! Look for us at the Ping Pong tables!



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Scratch Squad Saturday!


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LA Makerspace Wants You


LA Makerspace is Hiring! Robotics/Electronics, Creative Computing, and Minecraft Instructors! As well as a Part-Time Program Assistant to support all of the above. Job descriptions after the jump; send your resumes to

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Google <3 LAM Scratch Squad

One of the newest LA Makerspace initiatives - the Scratch Squad - has already won an award.  The Scratch Squad is a group of tech savvy young people who are interested in spreading the word about coding. Kids age 10-17 have volunteered to help teach Scratch classes around the city. Brian Foley, and education professor from CSUN, is organizing the group and has been prepping the Squad on how to teach coding with the LAM curriculum. 

Check out this video made by one of the Scratch Squad members:

This week Google announced that the LA Makerspace Scratch Squad (#LAMSS) are one of 37 recipients from around the world (12 in North America) to receive the Google RISE grants for 2015. Google RISE supports innovative programs to teach Computer Science to underrepresented groups. They liked the kids-teaching-kids model of the Scratch Squad and are eager to see how it works in LA and if it can be replicated in other places. The grant provides funding for the Squad and support from Google to get the word out about its work. 

Are you or someone you know interested in coding and learning Scratch? You can request a class from the Scratch Squad. Any teens that know Scratch or coding (Scratch is easy to learn or relearn) can still apply to join the LAMSS.


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Citizen science and solar fuels

One of the most important pillars of modern civilization, without which we wouldn't have a large portion of our energy and materials, are mined hydrocarbons.  Over the past two centuries we have developed an ever-increasing ability to extract coal, oil, and gas from the Earth's crust and turn it into everything from fuel, to plastic, and fertilizers.  Without our ability to find and use all of these carbon-based fuels our modern civilization would collapse very quickly, and yet the environmental cost of extracting and using the stuff may make it increasingly difficult to justify our current path.

Before humans got really good at industry the Earth had been running on a carbon cycle where plants would take up carbon dioxide and other processes, such as animals breathing and the eruption of volcanoes, would produce a roughly equivalent amount of the stuff.  This process was only roughly equivalent as some plants were buried and slowly turned into coal, tar, and methane over the eons.  When industrial civilization took off we as a species figured out how to take all those millions of year of energy, in essence fossilized sunlight, and use it for everything from electricity generation to artificial fertilizer.

This has been a pretty neat trick for the past few hundred years, but what if we could skip the step in the cosmic cookbook that reads something like ,"Bury plants for 300 million years.  Season with sulfur to taste.  Extract after the invention of the internal combustion engine."



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