Play-Based, Hands-on, & STEAM-Powered! Virtual makerspace workshops for all ages and abilities are led by teaching artist Jay Mankita.
Hands-on workshops and stand-alone presentations, series, residencies, and large events are available. Gather the necessary materials…
Now booking four Maker Space Build-Along Workshops:
1) Chain Reactions from Toys & Household Materials
2) Stick-eometry: Geometry From Sticks
3) Mechanical Linkages from Craft Sticks
4) Mechanical Automata from Paper Cups & Paper Clips
Play-based learning is at the heart of Playful Engineers, that’s why it’s in our name! And why we encourage (though we don’t require) teachers to follow our 3 step sequence, making the most of the materials, and of what we have to offer as teaching artists, before, during, and after our live-streamed session/s. We’ve developed this sequence according to our experience in play-based learning, and informed by the principles of Universal Design for Learning, and Contructionism.
Creativity and ingenuity are brought to light in a fun and engaging way for all students no matter their ability or materials on hand. Jay was fabulous encouraging even the most reluctant students to begin and try. – Jessie Cardarelli, 5th grade Teacher, Burkland E.S.
“I want to thank you again for all of your help and patience. One of the last meetings we had was an all staff reflection on content area work. We, the science teachers, used the video from one of our students (his dog rang a bell that triggered a marble that travelled down to release a dog treat) as the highlight of our year and the end of our presentation. We marveled as this shy young man found his voice through engineering, design, and construction. A big assist to you for making that happen.” – Jack Czajkowski, Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School
“That was SO MUCH fun! The kids very obviously loved it, as did I!” – Megan Dehmelt, Burlington County Library
Let’s arrange an online workshop, presentation, series, or residency. Funding may be available in your area – contact us!
Mechanical Linkages from Craft Sticks!
Mechanical linkages are everywhere – in machines of course, but also in art, architecture, and nature – even in our own bodies. Becoming more familiar with them strengthens our foundational understanding of mechanical processes specifically, and engineering and design in general.
Students make scissor, reverse motion, and parallel linkages from ordinary materials, building the structures for their own artful mechanisms that send messages, tell stories, or accomplish tasks. As they build their structures according to instructions and templates, they are also beginning to conceive and create their own designs to overlay those structures. That process in turn may lead to modifications of the structures. Engineering informs design, and vice versa.
Crank-Driven Mechanical Automata!
Students make their own crankshaft-driven automata designs – artful mechanisms that can send a message, tell a story, or accomplish a task. For a single session, all you need to get started are paperclips, craft sticks, tape, cardboard, and markers.