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Call for Makers: LA Makerspace Equality in Innovation Make-a-thon
What: A mini-hackathon to create innovative high-tech projects for kids in low-resource communities.

When: Sunday, Nov 4th, 1pm–11pm

Where: Two Bit Circus Micro Amusement Park, 634 Mateo St. Los Angeles, CA 90021

L.A. Makerspace’s mission is to make sure all kids in L.A. have the opportunity to learn skills like working with electronics and coding, no matter what their parents or schools can afford. We partner with the Los Angeles City and County Public Library systems to help kids learn robotics, coding, e-textiles, and stop motion animation. And, we recently became a division of Two Bit Circus Foundation, who do the same thing in high-need schools, where these projects will also be used, so this event is a celebration of that as well!

Design Brief

Want to solve a really hard problem? The biggest obstacle toward achieving equality in distribution of technology skills at the K-12 level is the cost of materials. Public libraries and schools cannot afford to do projects with materials costs above $6 per child. This eliminates most advanced robotics and electronic projects.

The current solution for many libraries and schools is the use of expensive electronics kits. However, this means the kids’ projects must be disassembled upon completion, meaning they miss out on the pride of taking their creation home to show their family, and having the components available for further tinkering.

So Constraint #1 is: how low-cost can you go?

Constraint #2: the skill level of the adults who will be guiding the kids through the projects. The vast majority of them do not have any technical background, and indeed may have anxieties and lack of confidence about tech. So, the projects have to be easy enough for an adult to understand and lead.

Constraint #3: Safety. In a library and many school environments, we can’t solder or use fire, liquid nitrogen, high voltages, etc. Is it possible to have fun without these things? Let’s find out.

Example Projects

Shybot: An autonomous robot that teaches kids about sensors, transistors, and how to breadboard, based on a paper plate. Created by Allen Pan (YouTuber Sufficiently Advanced).
Arduniño: A sub-$6 Arduino Nano clone that kids can program to play games, created by Shaun Shue.

Full Schedule:

1:00 pm: Doors open
1:15 – 1:45pm: Welcome, getting to know each other’s superpowers
1:45 – 2:15pm: Educators + Hackers Small Group Brainstorm
2:15 – 2:30pm: Shareout and finalize Design Brief
2:30 – 4:00pm: Hack Session #1
4:00 – 5:00pm: Shareout + Feedback
5:00 – 6:00pm: Dinner Break (food available to purchase onsite)
6:00 – 6:30pm: Voting and Round 1 Awards

6:30 – 7:00pm: Session #2 Educators + Hackers Small Group Brainstorm
7:00 – 8:30pm: Hack Session
8:30 – 9:00pm: Voting and Round 2 Awards
9:00 – 10:00pm: Public shareout—make videos, social media etc
10:30 – 11:00pm: PROFIT

How to Participate

Sign Up Here. This is primarily a brainstorm sesh, but we will have some tinkering supplies available. If you want to bring stuff, we can give you a tax receipt for it as a donation.
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