Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 55: New Maker Project - Collaborative Coding Garden

I have been thinking about our next Girls Make IT Day and have been working on an idea that would have us CREATE a COLLABORATIVE CODING project.  At first I was thinking of a  3D map or a Village where we all make structures of buildings that have LED's inside the buildings.  This was inspired by +Leah Joly  Christmas village project and the 3DVermont project.

Then +Mara Siegel posted this  a link to  a Robot Garden from  MIT  aimed at making CODING more accessible.  That's exactly what I was thinking, but with a little less complexity. After all they are MIT!

So I combined all these ideas and in the next few days I'm going to blog about my journey into making my 'simpler'  version of creating an accessible Collaborative Coding Project.

Here we go..

I loved the garden idea and immediately started looking around for some fun ways to MAKE flowers that could have a programmable LED.

I was inspired by this video of creating Flowers from stockings and could easily see a way to work this into our idea for a Collaborative Garden.

I looked into two fabric stores, neither of which had fabric that was stretchable like Stockings, so Off to Walmart.  Finding colored stockings turned out to be harder than I thought,  but I eventually found some colorful somewhat sheer tights in the children's department.

I picked up different gauge craft wire and ended up using the 20 gauge wire.

With a little practice wrapping wire around an toilet paper roll, stretching fabric and securing the fabric by wrapping thread and tying knots, I soon had 10 petals ready to go.   

The next step was to assembling the petals around the flame of an LED powered tea candle that I found at Walmart (6 for $2.50)

So far so good... Now for the geeky part.  If you've ever done a toy hacking project, you know how much fun it can be to tear things apart.  When I took apart the tea candle votive, I discovered a 2032 battery,  and LED and a switch.   This was so perfect.  Not only did I have all the supplies I needed at less than 40 cents per flower,  I had a great opportunity to include 'hacking'  in my project and to also review the circuits and switch concepts we introduced in our last Girls Make IT DAy.

At this point the girls could change the LED to a different color and have a stand alone light.  
Or they could change the LED to one with longer leads to open up a whole array of options for using their new flowers in a project.  

Ah the possibilities... Come back tomorrow and see what I come up with. 


  1. This looks like so much fun! I can't wait to make one!

    1. The concept is to MAKE one than add it to a Collaborative Garden that will be a display and TOGETHER we make ART using technology. For example .. I can see you used with the color changing scarf to make a group of flowers that responded to color.. There is so much we can teach with this.