If you’re not a teenager, first thing: go find a teenager. Ideally one with some time on their hands, who’s interested in tinkering, in science, in making things - because Google and MAKE have teamed up to answer the age-old question of how to spend a summer?
They have launched Maker Camp, a virtual summer camp for kids around the country with a focus on creating, building and discovering. The partnership between MAKE magazine and Google consists of a 30-day curriculum run on the Google+ platform. Camp participants will have help from popular makers like Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing, Stephen and Fritz of EepyBird (the guys behind the wild Coke and Mentos experiment), Dirty Money co-host Jimmy DiResta, and founder of Adafruit, Limor Fried. "Making" can mean traditional arts and crafts or science projects, can be done indoors or outside, and uses innovative technologies and processes to build unique projects, according to MAKE Magazine publisher Dale Dougherty on the Google blog.
Maker Camp is a free six-week DIY, online summer camp for teens, and features how-to instructions for 30 projects in 30 days. Camp counselors (MAKE engineering interns and editorial staff) provide guidance throughout the day to help teens successfully complete their projects.
Each day of the week is themed to appeal to every camper’s unique interests:
• Maker Monday
• Tinkering Tuesday
• Weird Science Wednesday
• Theoretical Thursday
• Field Trip Friday
At most camps, mornings include plates of mush and eggs cooked over fires in grubby skillets. At Maker Camp, each morning is about a new project, introduced by an expert camp counselor. Materials lists for projects are posted in advance so campers will have time to find supplies needed for the next day's DIY. The items needed (including, potentially, Coke and Mentos – you never know) are readily available at home or at their local grocery or hardware store so everyone can participate. The AM session is spent learning from the “makers” and tinkering away, as counselors give campers tips and advice on successfully building the project.
At noon the campers participate in a Google+ All-camp Hangout with Camp Directors and the Guest Camp Counselors. Campers can compare notes with each other or the counselors, get their questions answered, come up with new ideas, and show off, sharing photos and videos of camper projects virtually by searching hash tag #MakerCamp.
One of the first projects, titled “Rockets!” was led by Rock Schertle, a middle school science teacher. He conducted the session from the New York Hall of Science and demonstrated how kids could make rockets at home using vinegar, baking soda, and gravity. The virtual field trips have included the Ford Research and Innovation Lab in Dearborn, MI and National Geographic.
Maker Camp has partnered with educational institutions around the country to ensure the quality of the curriculum. The American Library Association, Discovery Channel’s MythBusters and museums are all on board, as well as organizations like National Geographic and NASA. In addition, Maker and Google have also enabled security features so the campers are monitored and safe online, and parents know what they are up to (no kissing boys behind the cabins at this camp!)
Fun, free, and no mosquitoes – what did you do last summer?
Full story at Google