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Missions, Teams, and Problems: Finding Meaning in Tech


Bryan Cantrill shares his perspective on the tech industry.


On Friday, December 4th, the Makers hosted our first virtual Tech Social featuring speaker Bryan Cantrill, CTO of Oxide Computer Company, BSA Scoutmaster, and Piedmont Dad. His talk was geared for secondary students interested in computer science and the tech industry. The middle school robotics team, The Piedmont Pioneers, led the social part of the evening by hosting small groups of Among Us video games, sharing something they do for team building and fun.

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Robotics Profile: Team #19293

Posted on Dec 13, 2020

The Amazingly, Awesome Team #19293

Team #19293 is participating for its second year within the FIRST Lego League Explore program. Team members include Beach Elementary students Sammy Sohn, Oliver Neumann, Finn Holder, Isaac Dolid, and Ben Callaway, and are coached by Anna Chambers and Brian Neumann.

2020 Aerial view of Team #19293

The team (clockwise from top left): Sammy Sohn, Oliver Neumann, Finn Holder, Ben Callaway. Not pictured Isaac Dolid.

2020’s challenge was for the team to design a space for play and exercise. The team designed a Minecraft-themed obstacle course, and with the help of coach Anna Chambers, shot a stop motion video of minifigures navigating the course to reach the treasure at the end.


picture of lego stop motion setup

Coach Anna Chambers directs the boys in filming a stop motion video of the obstacle course. Photo courtesy of Coach Pat Holder.


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Tech Social is Back (Virtually)

Posted on Nov 20, 2020

Missions, Teams, and Problems: Finding Meaning in Tech
Friday, Dec. 4, 7:00 pm

with Bryan Cantrill CTO Oxide Computer Company, Scoutmaster, and Piedmont dad. FIRST Robotics teams, scouts, and middle/high school tech enthusiasts are encouraged to attend. Come for the talk, stay for the gaming! Join us on Google Meet on Fri. 12/4 at 7pm.

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Highlanders at a local scrimmage

The Highlanders were founded in 2019. The team competes at the highest level of the 4 FIRST robotics programs. The Highlanders are led by Henry Lambert (Software/Electrical), Will Shields (Design/Fabrication), Charlie Lambert (Design/Fabrication), Jade Kessinger (Outreach) and Alyssa Angsupanich (Project Management).

The team designs their robots in Solidworks, a computer-aided design program, and fabricates most parts digitally. Defense is a big part of the competition, so robots need to be well designed and built. The team’s largest sponsors are Zenni, NASA, Google, Solidworks, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Rendering of competition robot

Solidworks rendering of the Highlanders’ 2020 Robot

In 2020, the team increased in size to 20 members. With covid, the team is meeting in person in small groups and virtually getting new team members trained in Solidworks, tools, electronics, wiring, and coding. The Highlanders are fortunate to have access to 2 mini machine shops in Piedmont. The team plans to move to the Engineering Lab in the new STEAM building when it opens and welcomes all students who are interested in building robots.

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2020-2021 Grant Application

Posted on Oct 17, 2020

Piedmont Makers will award S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) grants up to a total of $10,000 for the 2020-2021 academic year in support of teacher curriculum needs within the Piedmont Unified School District. Applications are due at 5pm on November 13, 2020.

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Election time is almost here. We sent questions to the five candidates for the Piedmont School Board and received very thoughtful replies. Here are their responses to issues that affect the Maker Community.

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Fall Scarecrows

Posted on Oct 3, 2020

Fall is here. Time to make Scarecrows!

In these strange times, we all miss the annual Piedmont events like the Harvest Festival. To make autumn a little more festive, The Piedmont Makers and the Piedmont Arts Fund are putting on a socially-distanced Scarecrow event.

Families and learning pods are invited to make scarecrows for their front lawns by October 24 for viewing. Our theme this year is CALIFORNIA DREAMING, because we could all use a healthy dose of optimism. At the end of October, there will be a chance for families to play Scarecrow Bingo with fun prizes.

Not sure where to start? The Piedmont Makers are building a limited number of scarecrow bases

The hardest part of making a scarecrow is usually the stand. Makers are doing what we do best and building a scarecrow stands to help get people started. Stands are approximately 5’ tall, made of wood, and can be easily customized at home to create your own scarecrow.

Scarecrow stands are $15 each. Quantities are limited and available on a first-ordered basis. Stands need to be ordered in advance by Thursday, Oct 8, 2020. They will be available for pickup on Saturday, October 17.
Click here to order your stand.

More details and scarecrow inspiration to come soon

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