Maker, Citizen Scientist, and DIY

Last week a friend on Facebook posted this NPR article about Hacker Scouting. Hacker Scouts build forts and campfires but they also learn to solder, build prototypes, and film stop-motion animation movies. They also take a photo or film of themselves doing it, share it to the internet, and earn a badges. is a hacker scouting organization for kids 8 -14. They have hundreds of online tutorials for their young hacker scouts to get hands-on with biology, cartography, industrial design, special effects and many more skills, with new ones being uploaded everyday.

Today Z searched through the site, ooohing and ahhhing over the many exciting tutorials. She ended up choosing to work toward her Salvager badge. I think she was imagining that there was a secret (clean) junkyard that I could drive her to, and where she would find awesome (clean) metal and wood bits that she would paint and re-purpose, perhaps as our new dining set.

Instead she ended up randomly finding some plastic plants on the sidewalk,


and plans to use them in some sort of art project or maybe to decorate her Dollhouse, which is also a salvaged project that we made from an old bookcase. Once she uploads at least 3 Salvager projects she will earn a badge in that skill. I wonder what she will sew the badge onto…

I love using projects that combine online activities with activities you can do IRL. Z has recently started bird watching. We got her her first binoculars, a birding book, and two bird feeders. Today she worked on a cool Citizen Science project today through Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology. They have several projects to do, but we started with Yard Map. Yard Map uses google maps and some other mapping and drawing software to gather information about the birds right in your backyard (or at your office or school, etc), as well as teach you things you can do to make your area more sustainable and bird friendly. While Z was mapping our yard she also learned the number and names of the trees in our yard. She also recorded birds she saw in our yard this morning at, another citizen science tool for bird watchers.

Then working from a tutorial we found online she made this awesome stenciled shirt (with a little help from me doing the ironing.)

photo photo

Doesn’t it look pretty professional? This was our first time trying it.

Z wrote another poem today too:

I see no stars

I see no stars
The only light comes from the glowing orbs encased in hanging lanterns
Tonight, there is no Mars
But sweet music floats through the satiny darkness to me
Celestial scars
Are all but vanished in the rich enthralling night
There are no cars
Honking and whirring, no penetration of this thick absence
The night’s guitars
Still strum a hypnotic lullaby, even though
I see no stars

Today she also read, played the piano, went for a walk, and built with her LEGOs.

Categories: Art, Birding, child-led learning, homeschooling, learner-led education, Poetry, Science, Tech, Uncategorized, unschooling | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: