How to build a simple electric motor

How to build a simple electric motor

Today, I am going to demonstrate how to make a simple electric motor. This is a great activity for kids and adults, on rainy days or for science fairs. I’ve done this one with kids aged 8-12 ish, but it is a good all-ages activity, depending upon the amount of preparation you can do in advance, as well as the amount of help you are able to give while running the activity. Read more

Kids have the best ideas

Kids have the best ideas

The other day, as my kids were playing together upstairs, my youngest almost accidentally discovered how to slide down the stairs on his old crib mattress. The kids had made a fort of the entire second floor in our house, and used the crib mattress to block the stairs. When they were cleaning up, I discovered my youngest jumping on the crib mattress while it was perilously perched on the top step. For a split second, after I had realized the danger my son was in, I thought “Wow, that looks like it might be fun. Or dangerous. Or both.” Then I quickly shooed him away. Read more

Organizing the Waterloo Mini Maker Faire

Organizing the Waterloo Mini Maker Faire

 

June 15 at Kitchener City Hall, a large group of folks (including myself) organized and ran the region’s first ever Maker Faire, the Waterloo Mini Maker Faire. For those of you unaware of the Maker Faire phenomena, they are basically large, creative, do-it-yourself festivals, where folks come together to show off their creations, share their passion for their hobbies and interests, and for some, to sell things and make some money. A quick Google image search shows just how crazy and imaginative Maker Faires can be. Read more

Neat Engineering Competition

Neat Engineering Competition

Working at the University of Waterloo affords me some pretty neat opportunities. One of them is being able to occasionally view student project competitions for the Faculty of Engineering. This one I was interested in because I replied to a late-night plea for an ultrasound sensor that went out to the Kwartzlab mailing list. I guess a student group making a self-navigating boat damaged their ultrasound sensor and needed a spare for a competition the following day, and I happened to have one I could spare. After hearing the details of the competition, I decided to go have a look: Read more