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Making the Most of Your Summer

While some kids may have every minute of their summer planned out and optimized, now is the season where many parents are wondering what’s the best way to take advantage of the extra time and learn something new.

As a parent, we have always tried to find unique experiences for our kids that were unique, hands-on, and fun. Resisting the temptation to put them into a cram school to etch out a few more points on their GPA is hard. Not that this is all bad, but in addition can you find engaging, authentic experiences where they can use their math and communication skills they’ve worked so hard on throughout the year to tackle a project that builds critical thinking and problem solving skills? What opportunities are out there?

Recently, having lunch with a friend with 3 young kids, it donned on me there are some interesting options out there that need to be shared. Here’s a collection of the top gems we’ve found that we hope will inspire a summer full of play, passion and purpose.

JAM Online Courses (from DIY.org)

Khan Academy – Pixar in a Box  From “The Art of Storytelling” to the “Mathmatics of Animation Curves” the engaging Pixar content and brilliance of the guests shine through. Content seems to be aimed at upper grades, but younger students will find value in it too.

Hour of Code – Code.org  Full of activities that fit the full range of age groups and diverse interests. Also available in multiple languages including English and Japanese.

And of course, our Maker Toolset Summer Camps that run for 4 days starting on either July 30th or Aug 27th!

Mission to Mars – Summer Camp 2017

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ミッション・トゥ・マーズ – サマーキャンプ 2017

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Minecraft Coding Summer Camp 2017

マインクラフト・プログラミング サマーキャンプ 2017

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Mission to Mars – Summer Camp 2017

The team at Maker Toolset has done it again!

We are excited to announce our “Mission to Mars” Summer Camp 2017 which will bring you four days of hands-on learning. From building a foundation of STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to preparing you for college level classes and careers in engineering and design, this camp will see you take flight this summer.

Designed for beginners new to 2D and 3D modeling, engineering design, and coding for robotics you will quickly find confidence in your ability to build a drone glider. If you have spent time with any of these tools before, we also have a number of additional challenges awaiting to push the limits of your problem solving abilities.

Sign-up now…

Mission to Mars Summer Camp – July 30th Start

FLY

Day 1 – Design and build an Exploration Drone
Introduction to Exploring Mars – What challenges do we face and what tools can help us?
Learn basic aerodynamics and build techniques, and construct a pre-cut drone glider prototype.
Learn about the unique problems for flight on Mars and start designing your own improved drone for exploring the Red Planet.

REDESIGN

Day 2 – Design Tools for Exploration
Learn to use Sketchup for 2D & 3D design and problem solving. Design a drone (plane) and turn it into a template for laser cutting the parts to create a prototype.
Each student will need to bring a laptop with Sketchup Make installed.

MOVE & SENSE

Day 3 – Design a Robot & Launch our Drone
Learn coding for Robotics.
Do basics of making the robot move, code to move an arm, obstacle avoidance and sensors.

PRESENT

Day 4 – Presentation Polish and Sharing
Final build and preparation for presentation of your drone solution.
Additional investigation of real exploration scenarios for Mars and what can be done with the knowledge, tools, and techniques learned.

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Take flight this summer with us on a “Mission to Mars”.

For those who cannot make our first camp, we have the same camp running late August as well.

August 27th Camp start Signup

http://makertoolset.com/product/aug-27th-start-mission-to-mars/

 

Celebrate Your Games

Wow, we made it! The super successful first annual Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs was a brilliant highlight to the Coding for Life event of Tokyo Sandbox 2017. A huge thank-you to Kevin Lim of Tokyo Sandbox for his confidence in us to put on a show that was remarkable. Additionally, a full round of applause to all of you, the students who demonstrated your creativity, hard work, and persistence to conceptualize and deliver on your ideas!

Please remember to individually thank your teachers who gave up many afternoons and weekends to get behind this project to provide a very unique and authentic learning experience for us all. A wonderful surprise was the extraordinary support from the volunteers at Tokyo Sandbox as well as the team from YouMeWe who will be putting all the proceeds from token sales into their Digital Literacy Project with children living in institutionalized homes. Your efforts will make a difference in the life of underprivileged children in Japan.

A quick summary of the overall event summary in infographic format below.

In the spirit of transparency and reiteration, we have corrected a silly gaff that has actually changed the order of the results previously announced! Please see the v2 results below…

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Due to the misreading of a 1 as a 4 during the announcement of winners, we have corrected our mistake and offered even more prizes for the excellence shown by students.

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To wrap up, the Grand Prize winner of the littleBits Gizmo and Gadgets kit was K-IST coders. Thank-you again to Korg and littleBits for their assistance with judging as well as for supplying the prizes.

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Runner Up – Coding for Life Prize for significant technical coding challenge goes to GuriiEcoGames who have won the littleBits Space Kit and the littleBits Base Kit.

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Runner Up – Arcade Gamer Appeal Prize for ability to draw people in to play everyone’s game goes to Team Mallaborema who have won the littleBits Gizmo and Gadgets kit.

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Also, a very big congratulations to Mr. Shibata who beat the odds in a raffle of 45 gamers who completely filled their stamp passports for the entry to win a Nintendo Switch!

Judging for the Playoffs was extremely tough as every single team put in a huge effort and came up with interesting and fun ideas for their games. There was a bit of genius in each game and we hope this has provided more fuel to your passion to invent more and constantly stretch your creativity. In the end, the attendees chose for us through their determination to play again and again as they tried to master the game and compete with their friends. We look forward to seeing how high you may have raised the bar for next year!

Final Updates – Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs May 14th

We’ve done additional checkins with Team GuriiEcoGames and Team Mallaborema and they are on the home stretch with their games which are looking very good and promise to provide fun and challenging game play action for all who attend the Playoffs Event this coming May 14th.

GuriiEcoGames – With a Japanese themed interactive battle game, your reaction speed and moves will be put to the test. Brace yourselves for two player action fun.

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Mallaborema – Space and time may bend while playing this colourful challenge to your reactionary speed. Ready, Go!Mallaborema teaser

Posters to remind your friends, faculty and family come to enjoy your game on May 14th are linked below.

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Download Poster PDF in English

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Download Poster PDF in Japanese

Electronic Arcade – Countdown to the Playoffs!

Each school and team are hard at work preparing their Electronic Arcade Game for the Playoffs Event this May 14th. Mark the date on your calendar and join the fun!

Have you scheduled your game preview with our Judges?

We had a great preview of the game the K-IST Coders, JEPI, and SVS teams are creating. Enthusiasm, hard work, and teamwork were on full display here. Elements of programming, physical computing and modelling were all present. We are looking forward to playing your games on May 14th!

K-IST Coders – Here’s a teaser photo. We don’t want to give away too much before the day of the playoffs, but we can say it involves a character named Banana Bully.K-IST Coders

Team JEPI – Lights are blinking, code is in progress and buttons are being cut as Team JEPI sprints to the arcade finish line.
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Team SVS – Waves are beckoning you to try this Hawaiian themed game, but beware the shark infested waters!SVS IMG_2949

Overall, we are impressed by the teams’ enthusiasm and thought put into bringing you the most creative, challenging, and fun games you’ve played in a long time. We expect there will be plenty of “play testing” between now and the playoff event to find the right mix of challenge versus playability for all our guests at Tokyo Sandbox. Support your school and fellow students by buying your tickets and stopping in to play their games and many others on May 14th at Akiba Square in Akihabara.

Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs 2

Downloadable PDF Posters

Fukushima – Electronic Arcade Game Workshop

Thanks to the generosity of everyone’s support for the Tokyo Rocks for Tohoku/ Ladies Rock for Tohoku events held by a collective of Tokyo-based indie musicians and local venues keeping Tohoku in their hearts and on their minds.

We enjoyed running this creativity and technology workshop with a group of underprivileged children in Fukushima last weekend. Their unbridled enthusiasm to take on the challenge and stretch beyond what they thought possible was an eye-opener. What a great chance to spark the idea to leverage physical computing for solving problems while having fun with technology.

The students put the design cycle into action while using easy to understand electronic building blocks by littleBits, some Makedo, cardboard, elastics, marbles, and other construction tools to prototype their team’s Electronic Arcade Game. Next, members from other teams playtested the games and gave feedback on enjoyment and suggested improvements.

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Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs

Buckle your safety belts and start saving your cardboard!

We are excited to announce the opening of registrations for the first annual “Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs.” Inspired by Cain’s Arcade, and as part of the Coding for Life event alongside the Tokyo Indie Game Festival held on May 14th  2017, the playoffs will choose a winning arcade game from multiple teams across Tokyo.

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To find out more, contact us here.

Applying schools will enter up to 5 games from teams of 3 to 5 students. A 10 session workshop series is also available where students will follow the design cycle to prototype and iterate upon their games. The best games from each category will be entered into the final playoffs event as a highlight of the Coding for Life event.

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Previous workshops with students have produced some incredible learning opportunities and even more collaboration with their communities. Once such example is the Scoreboard Counter Invention as documented by our team.

Students strengthen the skills of problem solving, design iteration, and entrepreneurship through the collaborative project of building an Electronic Arcade. When tasked to use simple materials such as cardboard combined with advanced electronics modules, students prototype fairly advanced concepts present in everyday technology like your car to your washing machine.

Witness students challenging the design process with technology first hand by signing up.

STEM Needs A New Letter

We are inspired by people who realize there is a need to convert the conversation around STEM into the more complete STEAM. Similar to the article STEM Needs A New Letter we see the opportunity to lowering the barriers due to affordable and easily accessible tools like electronics, robotics and coding, and rapid prototyping materials and hardware to not only revolutionize Design Technology and Art curriculums, but to do the same for all subject areas including Science, Math, Languages and more.

Below is a talk we gave on examples and the process we follow to introduce these skills to students.

New Bits!

We’ve just taken shipment of a new batch of littleBits and are excited to see what the students can do with these!

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Electronic Arcade Sessions

Congratulations to Candy Inc team who’s game was nominated most popular by the G1 students. This team was also selected for the Best Designed Game award. While the other games where also in high demand during our “Play Test” sessions, this group of girls really found the sweet spot when attracting repeat players.

Thunderstormz team was selected for Best Multiplayer Game, Electronic Dragons team was selected for Best Game Rules, and The Raptors team was selected for Most Creative Game. We were so impressed to see how each team helped the other teams through collaboration on connecting electronics, cutting cardboard, feedback and lots of play testing.

It feels good to see these students drive and focus knowing that they are the next batch of inventors and innovators to decide solutions for all our futures. We look forward to seeing what creativity will spring from these young minds in future sessions.

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