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Photo credit: Schurz Food Lab

Two words: Space Tomatoes. That’s one of many projects that the Schurz Food Lab will be showcasing at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire. The program is led by the multi-talented Jaime Guerrero, Schurz food science lab founder and administrator, who wants to change minds and hearts about urban agriculture. Guerrero explains that the mission of the lab is to develop and harvest the next generation farmer. He wants to teach the farmer of the future about traditional agriculture, sustainability, and the science behind it all. The program aspires to teach students to go forward with these new concepts and develop a whole new way of farming.

The Schurz Food Lab situated in a formerly unused classroom at Schurz is in its first year. Right now, students and community volunteers have been learning about hydroponics and aquaculture. Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in water, sand or other medium instead of soil. It’s less water intensive since the set up reduces water waste, making it more environmentally friendly. The lab has been growing a variety of greens including microgreens, baby heirloom lettuces, and more.  Aquaculture is the farming of seafood, which permits the cultivation of healthy seafood for human consumption. Unfortunately, sources of wild seafood have been grossly overfished. Aquaculture provides a real solution to this crisis. Currently, they are raising Red Nile Tilapia but there are plans to cultivate saltwater prawns and crayfish. The lab also has a small aquaponics system that combines the two. The waste water from the seafood helps fertilize the greens and filters the water that can now return to the tank. It’s a beautiful sustainable circle. The greens from the hydroponics lab have been donated to the Irving Park Food Pantry, facilitated by BuildOn, a vital partner and ally within the community. The lab was also recently certified by the CPS to supply food to the cafeteria. While they aren’t the first CPS school to receive such certification, they are first  indoor hydroponics lab in Chicago to receive that distinction. That’s super cool. The lab is all about “Feeding the mind, feeding the stomach, and feeding the community.”

So about those space tomatoes…For Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, they will set up a geodesic dome to show off the hydroponic and other systems. In addition to that, they will be unveiling the working food computer, invented at MIT. Guerrero explains that it’s basically a farm in a 2 x 2 foot box where all the conditions can be controlled to facilitate the growth of the plant inside. You can learn what settings of light, water, etc are most conducive to sharing and you can then share it with the world. The Schurz Food Lab has connected with Tomatosphere that works with NASA to grow seeds from the tomatoes grown in space in the working food box. So come to the faire and check out the growing space tomatoes!

 

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Photo Credit: Chicago Children’s Museum

Want to learn how to use a power drill and make an amazing cool sculpture? Join Chicago Children’s Museum at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire.

The Chicago Children’s Museum is “a place where families and caregivers with infants and children are encouraged to create, explore, and discover together through play.”(1) One great place for kids to learn is the Tinkering Lab, a place for learning for children and their families. Kids can learn how to use real tools, like saws and drills, and have the freedom to choose their own projects. There is even an early learning nook for very young children.

Kim Koin, Director of Art and Tinkering Lab Studios, explains that the Tinkering Lab sees learning as a social activity. It’s a great place for kids to experiment and have wonderful conversations with their families. Kim explained, “Parents are really surprised at what kids can do.” She says a major takeaway from the Tinkering Lab is “learning from failure… We want kids to try something out, be able to test it out, and build again.” Critical thinking and problem solving are critical for kids of all ages. Tis place is heaven for young boys, you’re going to have gift ideas for 8 year old boys after just one visit. In May, the Tinkering Lab is excited to debut the Zoom Room, where kids can learn about physical science, play with force and motion with 100s of matchbox cars. There will be a station where kids can experiment with cars on different surfaces to explore friction. You can even learn how the timing to hit a car with a wrecking ball! It sounds amazing!

Chicago Children’s Museum is excited to return to Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire with a new exhibit, and meet other makers in the Chicago region as well. Last year, they had a great time with Cardboard Mechanism at our 4th annual event.

This year at the 5th anniversary Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, they will be running “Power Drill Sculptures.” Everyone can learn how to use a power drill safely. Kids will first learn how to use a c-clamp to secure wood and then they will be trained on how to use a power drill. They will be able to build a collaborative sculpture that will develop throughout the day. Kim Koin explained: “Bring your focus. Bring your creativity.” Who knows what form that sculpture will take? We’re excited to see how it progresses!

  1. http://www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org/index.php/about/mission-history

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CELEBRATE OUR 5th ANNIVERSARY FAIRE IN STYLE!

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Welcome to the Fifth Anniversary Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, presented by Schurz High School , the Urban School Foundation, and Christina Pei! For those of you who are new to Maker Faire, it is the largest celebration of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) in the world.  Maker Faire is a venue for inventors, technophiles, artists, crafters, mad scientists, hackers, musicians, and anyone who makes cool things and want to show others how it’s done.  Our Faire is the most diverse in the world, and we invite you to participate in teaching and learning for all ages and interests!  If you have an awesome project to showcase, share it here:

APPLY NOW!

Reserve your maker table at Schurz High School on Saturday, May 7, 2016.  We will be accepting applications until April 1.  There is no cost to makers to present and it’s FREE for your friends to attend!  Makers will also be featured on our website and advertisements.

Questions? Contact us at CNSmakerfaire@gmail.com

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A very belated recap of the fourth annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, a wonderful day for Chicago’s largest celebration of learning, STEAM, and whimsy!

Outside, all sorts of wonderful makers showed off their skills. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.

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The Official Schurz High School NHS Ice Creamery

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Hungry???  

Check out this year’s food trucks:

aztec dave ouhlala

Be prepared!

The sun is coming to Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire!  The weather is predicted to be mostly sunny with a high of 71 degrees. However, you know Chicago can be a little sneaky with the weather so remember to dress accordingly!

Mostly sunny

Come and check out all our amazing Makers including: Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Public Library’s YOUmedia, First Robotics, Build-A-Blinkie, the Interactive Art Booth, Artology, Paper Clay Miniatures, Official Schurz NHS Ice Creamery and so much more!

We can’t wait to see YOU there!

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This year, Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire is excited to present the three largest hackerspaces in the Chicago area! We sat down with them to learn more.

Workshop 88Workshop 88Workshop 88 is a hackerspace and makerspace located in Glen Ellyn that provides a space for people to come together as a community and work on amazing projects. They offer a variety of tools for its members to use such as 3D printers, a CNC machine, a lathe, and more. They are even thinking of opening an amateur radio station in the space. But Workshop 88 is more than just the tools at its disposal. Jim Williams, a member of Workshop 88, says that it’s all about the community of people with similar interests who have a variety of knowledge coming together to share. It’s the people who are willing to help each other out, learn, and create delightful things.

One big yearly project is badge building. For the past 3 years, Workshop 88 makes Arduino-based LED badges that make the conference space into a game. Throughout the conference space, there are beacons that can transmit to the badge that lights up the LED and generates points. It’s a great way to get folks to explore the entire conference. Workshop 88 works together to design, build, and test these badges. In addition to their own projects, Workshop 88 hosts workshops and classes for libraries and classrooms. It provides them an opportunity to share their knowledge with people to get them excited about making. The goal is to have kids make things that get them interested in electronics and technology.

For Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, they are going to demonstrate some of their members’ current projects. A hacked Roomba vacuum cleaner. A radio receiver built from scratch. I purchased a new canister vacuum – it did a pretty amazing job with the spots from last weekends partying. An RGB LED wall display that is controlled by a joystick—uniting art and technology will hopefully foster conversation and ideas!

Southside Hackerspace: ChicagoSSHC photoSouthside Hackerspace: Chicago (SSH:C) is a hackerspace located in Pilsen committed to educational outreach, and strives to become a community resource for people to learn and exchange ideas. This hackerspace just turned three–Happy Birthday! They’ve hosted a variety of classes and workshops from basic soldering to Raspberry Pi within their space and out. Recently, participants got to check out an electron scanning microscope at the event as well. SSH:C attended events all around Chicago including libraries, schools, and other maker spaces to establish relationships. They plan on expanding their soldering tutorial into additional classes to teach programming. They also have been communicating with teachers all around Chicago and its suburbs about starting their own spaces for their students.

In addition to outreach, SSH:C has been hosting a variety of educational and social events for its membership. In the past year, SSH:C has partnered with Pumping Station 1 on a Cryptography event on a monthly basis. It’s intended for people who are interested in cryptography and privacy online. The class moves back and forth between the two spaces, further encouraging collaboration between members of both hackerspaces. SSH:C and PS1 also held a nine week Business Planning workshop “Creative Entrepreneurship” led by Lisa Sonora Beam that focused on how to take an idea into a marketable idea.

In addition to the educational programming, SSH:C has introduced monthly movie and gaming nights. In January, they held a fantastic holiday party that allowed members and friends to showcase their work including laser-cut origami, a tri-copter and much more. But SSHC also have 3D printers, a new vinyl cutter, and many more tools to help people build amazing things!

For CNS Maker Faire, their members will showcase their work including a kinetic sculpture. They plant to have a hands-on activity for the kids and parents alike. SSH:C is growing and want to engage with people and other organizations about their work. Want to know more? Attend a weekly meeting Wednesday nights at 7:30.

Pumping Station: One

PS1 Photo Credit Everett Wilson

Pumping Station:One (PS:1) located in the Northside of Chicago brings together people with a variety of skills to develop a thriving and sharing community. Chicago’s first hackerspace, PS:1 has been around for six years. The space has a variety of tools including bandsaws, a CNC router, and many more.

However, it’s more than just a place to work on your projects. Members hold a variety of classes based on their interests. It’s a fairly independent process; someone decides there is a need so they make a class. There are classes centered around robots, beer making, wine tasting, leather working, and coding. As noted before, they also have been collaborating with SSH on the Cryptography class each month.

At the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, they are going to teach people how to make a Noise-o-Tron. They debuted this last year at the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire. The Noise-o-Tron is an optical theremin that does not require soldering. People build it by pushing leads through the board and twisting them. It only takes a few minutes to put it together. They have also created a “Color-O-Tron” version where people can make a game that simulates the old Simon game. These projects are both a fun way to talk about electronics while people can make something simple and fun. We can’t wait to make music with our optical Theremins!

PS1 has an open house on Tuesday nights at 8pm.

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Make a circuit with dough! Make music with circuits and magnets! Join YOUmedia at Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire and learn how!

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YOUmedia, a program run through the Chicago Public Library since 2009, has now expanded to 11 libraries throughout the city. YOUmedia provides spaces for teens and tweens to drop by and learn in an out-of-school context, connecting them with technology and resources to further their personal and even professional interests. Recently YOUmedia and Chicago Public Library Teen Services started First Saturdays Careers in Focus to allow teenagers, ages 14-18, to learn about careers in a variety of fields from engineering to music. This summer, they are planning to kick off a new teen summer challenge that will involve discovery and creation. Stay tuned for more information!

For Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, YOUmedia has two amazing activities planned. Julie Koslowsky, YOUmedia Outreach Coordinator, wants people to try something new and get excited about circuits and technology. These projects show that electronics does not have to be an expensive or even high tech activity. (1) “Littlebits,” a project for all ages, are simple circuits that connect via magnets, a power source, and other parts. You can make music, attach a fan, and more! (2) “Squishy Circuits” are conductive play-dough! With a few simple ingredients­—water, flour, salt and lemon juice—in the right order, the dough can become conductive or insulated. Plug in a power source and put strategic LED lights to create fantastic pieces!

We can’t wait to see YOUmedia at CNS Maker Faire!

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Road trip! Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire made their way to Milwaukee Maker Faire this past weekend. And we had tons of fun. The event was located at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in Milwaukee. At the same time, there was Harvest Festival, which made for a very festive environment!

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Outside of the Exhibition Hall, there was a wonderful collaboration between Maker Faire and Harvest Festival. It was none other than a pumpkin throwing trebuchet. It had all the glory of a trebuchet with added joy of pumpkins smashing against a target. It was delightful to watch. There were Life Size Mousetrap, and an ironworks demonstrating how to make shields and other metal armor. So cool!

20140927_142225Inside was the joyful buzz of people learning and making. Over at the Build-A-Blinkie table, soldering tables were filled with happy busy people. We made our own Blinkies! We soldered together an atomic pin with blue flashing lights. It was the bees knees. Next time, we’re going to have to build their lighted cube! (Well, if we have a spare 2 + hours.)

We also met a group of makers who were prototyping a video game gym. It was a rather fantastic concept. The screen was hooked up to an exercise chair with pedals and arm poles. On the screen, there was an Asteroid game. To make your little space ship accelerate, you had to move the pedals. If you want to turn around, you had to pull or push the arm poles. Very neat. I can’t wait to see the final product.

We also got to see robots from First Robotics face off! These magnificent machines whirled and twirled across the court attempting to throw balls into one another’s goals. It was really inspiring to see what kids were able to do. I can’t wait to see what they make next!

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We also schmoozed with hacker spaces from Wisconsin. We met people from Madison based Sector 67. They were demoing a theremin piano. It was a horizontal theremin with piano keys for reference. Normally, you have to have perfect pitch to play a theremin but this piano key setup allowed regular folks to have a sense of what pitch is being played.

We also got to check out some friends of Northside Maker Faire: Chicago Electronic Distributors. We talked to them about some new and exciting future projects. And they had some neat kits to build!

One really nifty thing was that GE sponsored a contest. Contestants had three hours to assemble a vehicle to navigate an obstacle course without spilling an open container of water. You couldn’t use normal vehicle parts like a wheels, etc. It looked like a great deal of fun. Some folks had projects that would travel by rope; other groups made wheels out of plastic and rubber pieces. Next time, we are totally signing up and competing!

Thanks for a wonderful day, Milwaukee! Can’t wait for next year!

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CPei_Locks

Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire producer Christina Pei teaches lockpicking with TOOOL

The Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire team visited the incredible Henry Ford Museum this weekend, site of the 5th annual Maker Faire Detroit.  We played with, among other things, old school tractor engines, Power Wheels, hacked bikes, soldering, lockpicking, 3D printing, oh my!  Over 400 makers turned out for this featured Faire.  Here’s a little taste of what we saw:

A simple game of Flaming Skeeball

Mouse Trap

Life Size Mouse Trap always draws the crowds!

Old Tyme Bikes

Celebrations of past tech: manually-powered motors, retro bikes, and this couple dressed for the olden tymes.

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We milled a bottle opener with this Shapeoko 2 from Inventables.

The Manulith

We visited our friends from the Manulith, the 3D printing experts.

If you missed Maker Faire Detroit, have no fear!  It will return in July 2015.

And…you can join us locally this Saturday, August 2nd, for Chicago Southside Mini Maker Faire!  Located at the Ford City Mall, it is the second Mini Maker Faire in Chicago:

Saturday, August 2nd
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Ford City Mall
7601 South Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL 60652

Register HERE for free tickets!

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The White House is hosting its own Maker Faire today!  Follow the action at http://www.whitehouse.gov/maker-faire.  Or join in the fun from home by posting a picture of your own creation today, using #NationOfMakers.

day-of-making-badgeWe signed the “Building Maker Communities” Pledge on Makezine.com to show our support for the maker movement, and you can, too!  When you sign the pledge, you’ll also receive a free e-copy of the book, “Zero to Maker,” by David Lang.

The CNS Maker Team is headed to South Side Hackerspace this evening to start building the dice kit provided to us by Chicago Electronic Distributors. There will likely be making of other things, too–chainmaille from Blue Buddha Boutique, lockpicking from TOOOL, and possibly some of the gadgets we picked up from Maker Faire Bay area!  Follow us on Twitter @CNSmakerfaire for updates on our projects.  Or come join us tonight, starting at 7:30!

And just a reminder of the fun we had last month, here are some more pictures of the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire.  Thanks to ChiBots, the Schurz photography class, and Glowing Mood Flower for sharing!

ChiBots    IMG_9616 IMG_9406    2014MoodFlower

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