Piedmont Makers

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2021 Piedmont Maker Faire


Posted on Apr 24, 2021

The Piedmont Maker Faire is back! Join us on Saturday, May 8


Please join the Piedmont Makers and celebrate how Piedmont is Making a Better World! This year’s Maker Faire will be a collection of small events held across Piedmont. There will be a pop-up Nerdy Derby Car event held at Beach, Havens and Wildwood, community art projects, and DIY maker experiments you can do at home. We hope you will join us for any or all of them! Click here to see more!

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March 2021 News


Posted on Mar 28, 2021

Hello Makers!
We’re excited about back to school mode in Piedmont, with lots of STEAM activities coming up. Lots to report, so we’ll jump right in.
 

Congratulations All! Major Donation for the New Engineering Lab



In early March, The Makers presented a $420k donation to PUSD for the new engineering lab. Thank you to all who made this happen through your dedication and contributions. Pictured: Piedmont Makers Board Members Sally Aldridge, David Ragones, John Lambert, PHS Principal Adam Littlefield, Helen Potter, School Board President Cory Smegal, Jon Schleuning, and Superintendent Booker.
 

Perspectives

Megan Pillbury reflects on judging at the First Lego League Challenge


Megan Pillsbury. PUSD School Board and Maker liason


I spent the first Saturday in February participating in the First Lego League Challenge as a judge. (One of the benefits of being the school board liaison to The Makers!) Having judged at an FTC tournament a few years ago, I was somewhat skeptical about how this type of event could be carried out remotely. However, after eight hours on my screen, I left the competition energized and blown away by the ability for all involved to participate so well virtually. For those of you who are unfamiliar with FIRST, the actual robotics competition is only one part of the challenge. Teams are also required to follow the six core values while working together–discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork, and fun–to create a unique project, share and document their design process for building their robot, and perform some type of community service. For this challenge, the required theme for their innovative projects was Exercise and all came up with a variety of solutions, from exercise apps, video games, and virtual experiences to revisit trips we are unable to take during the pandemic. As an educator, it was wonderful to see many elements participants put into play that are valuable to the education and development of children: critical thinking, creativity, familiarity and experience with the design process, collaboration with and support of team members, responsibility to contribute to their communities, persistence, resilience, and enthusiasm.
Megan Pillsbury, PUSD School Board
 

Robotics Registration NOW OPEN & Open House

Registration is now open for the 2021/2022 Robotics Leagues.


This includes FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams for rising K through 3rd graders, FIRST Lego League teams for rising 4th through 8th graders, FIRST Tech Challenge teams for 7th through 12th graders, and a FIRST Robotics Competition team for 9th through 12th graders. All-Girls, Co-Ed, All-Boys teams available. To register click here.
 

See the Piedmont Pioneers in Action! – Saturday 3/19 1-4pm


For those new to robotics or looking to advance to the next level, the middle school FTC team Piedmont Pioneers will be recording their robots runs for their remote qualifying tournament at their outdoor arena in the driveway of 1720 Oakland Ave. Please stop by! FLL players especially welcome to check out the next level of FIRST Robotics
 

K-8 Robotics Open House – Tuesday, March 30 7:30pm


Interested in learning more about our robotics programs and 2021-22 season? Elementary and PMS students and parents, please join us for a presentation covering FLL Jr (grades K-3), FLL (grades 4-8), and FTC (grades 7+). You can also see past presentations here. Join us at: Google Meet. +1 413-497-2409. PIN: 678 508 755#
 

Spring Events

School Maker Faire


Now that school’s are opening, we’re starting to plan this spring’s Maker Faire. More to come in the following weeks.
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Museum Openings


Many museums are slowly starting to reopen. If you plan ahead and reserve tickets, there are great opportunities to visit some of the outstanding resources we have in the Bay Area like SFMOMA and The Bay Area Discovery Museum.
 

Team Profile: The Brick Factory



The Brick Factory began its first year in First Lego League—and what a year it was. With COVID restrictions, the team met online to design their innovation, “Track-X’, a technology to link a reward-delivery system to meeting fitness goals on an activity tracker. They also had fun “table time” in Coach Tim Lohnes’ garage in pairs to practice FLL missions. The Brick Factory included 5 Oakland and Piedmont 4th graders: William Bridges, Bodie Lohnes, Jack Shim, Simon Stemwedel, and Dylan Wallway. Click here to read more about the Brick Factory’s amazing season.
 

Join Us on Social Media


We have a variety of social accounts to keep makers of all ages inspired and engaged. Join our Facebook Group for a private and secure place to share Maker projects. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram at @piedmontmakers and on YouTube. Our Instagram and YouTube channels are fairly new, and we’re always looking for engaging content. If you have images or videos to share either tag us @piedmontmakers or send them to us at jonschleuning@gmail.com.
 
Makers gonna make!
The Piedmont Makers Board

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Robotics Profile: The Brick Factory


Posted on Mar 19, 2021

The Brick Factory

The Brick Factory

The Brick Factory began its first year in First Lego League—and what a year it was. With COVID restrictions, the team met online to design their innovation, “Track-X’, a technology to link a reward-delivery system to meeting fitness goals on an activity tracker. They also had fun “table time” in Coach Tim Lohnes’ garage in pairs to practice FLL missions. The Brick Factory included 5 Oakland and Piedmont 4th graders: William Bridges, Bodie Lohnes, Jack Shim, Simon Stemwedel, and Dylan Wallway.

William missed being “up close, in-person—not this year!” Yet still, the best part was “working with my friends.” Jack agreed that the highlight was “working together as a team, cobbling it together–and not having to do it alone.” Building the robot was Simon’s highpoint, and Dylan found it most satisfying to see all of their hard work coding transform into the robot actually carrying out their missions. Amazing!

Brick Factory Robot

It was a productive season; the team was unanimous that they learned a lot—particularly coding the Spike Prime robot. Coach Tim guided them with tweaking their coding and iterating maneuvers for the missions. Jack recalled working particularly hard on the bench mission, getting the robot to “go the distance and then turn—the positioning was complicated.”

Brick Factory robot in action

In the off-season, the boys are looking forward to new projects. Simon hopes to learn more about how sensors can be used in programming to make the robot movements more precise. Dylan wants to build some larger robots—perhaps an excavator that can pick stuff up at a job site and coordinates with cranes and forklifts. William is eager to build MOCs (“my own creations”) boats—aircraft carriers, destroyers, and gunboats for pool-based battles. Jack got a Mindstorms robot named “Blast” that he can drive around from his computer. As he pointed out, “It has cannons and it can shoot—what’s not to like?”

The Brick Factory looks forward to another rewarding season in 2021. Dylan’s parting words capture the team’s approach: “Take it seriously AND have as much fun as possible!”

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February 2021 News


Posted on Feb 1, 2021

Hello Makers!
We passed Groundhog day on February 2, and while the decidedly non-scientific method predicts six more weeks of winter, we’re hoping for an early spring. We’re excited about the schools slowly reopening, robotic competitions, the new STEAM building, Mars landings, and more.
 

Highlights from Last Weekend’s FIRST LEGO League Qualifier Tournament


Piedmont Makers hosted a virtual Qualifier Tournament on Saturday, February 6 with 18 FIRST LEGO League teams from across the Bay Area. Check out the highlights video with the competition robots in action!
 

$420k donation for New Engineering Lab



This month the Makers will be presenting a $420k donation for the new engineering lap. Updates to come on as the space starts to take shape.
 

EXPO Program to launch at PHS and MHS


Piedmont High School and Millennium High School will be launching a cross-curricular project based learning event open to all students who opt to participate. The goal is to demonstrably address our identified needs of improving student joy, relevance and complexity in their learning experience. This introductory video will give you a general sense of EXPO. For more information contact Flint Christensen, Computer Science Faculty, Piedmont High School.
 

Countdown to Mars Landing on Feb 18



On February 18, NASA’s Perseverance rover will finally land on Mars after completing a complex maneuver called entry, descent, and landing, or EDL.
 

Join Us on Social Media


We have a variety of social accounts to keep makers of all ages inspired and engaged. Join our Facebook Group for a private and secure place to share Maker projects. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram at @piedmontmakers and on YouTube. Our Instagram and YouTube channels are fairly new, and we’re always looking for engaging content. If you have images or videos to share either tag us @piedmontmakers or send them to us at jonschleuning@gmail.com.

Makers gonna make!
The Piedmont Makers Board

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January 2021 News


Posted on Jan 1, 2021

Hello Makers!
New Year. New Semester. New Vaccines. We’re excited and hopeful about the months ahead. We’re in planning mode for Spring events with much to share. Onward!
 

$7k in STEAM Grants awarded to Teachers


We are very pleased to announce our 2021 Teacher Grant Recipients:
John Savage (PHS) – $4.3k for 2 Vernier Probeware kits for digital measurement to bring laboratory activities into the 21st century. Currently all data collection, beyond measuring the mass of materials, is done analog. We have no means of measuring the concentration of gases, pressure, voltage potential, pH, conductivity, etc in our science classes. These kits could be used in every core science class and most of the elective classes.
Andrew Willats (PHS) – $1.2k for Particulate Matter Particle Sensor for 2 classes of AP Environmental Science. Remote and automated sensing have become increasingly important in environmental science, and researchers frequently design and construct their own equipment. Giving students this opportunity will enhance their understanding of the field, strengthen their own skillset, and make engineering relevant to the patterns we study.
Noor Ashour (PMS) – $1k for Makers classroom supplies & organization for FabLab middle school electives.
Milisa Kelly (PHS) – $500 for additional culinary arts appliances to allow social distancing and safety of my students when we come back to campus.
Congratulations to the teachers!
 

$420k donation for New Engineering Lab approved by PUSD School Board!


 

Robotics Team Highlight: The Programming Panthers



Aliya Vora and Elsa Wallway, members of the Programming Panthers, recently competed in a virtual First Lego League Qualifying Tournament hosted by Pleasant Grove High School. The team won an award for their robot design and will advance to the First Lego League Northern California Regional Championship in the Spring. Aliya and Elsa are 6th graders at PMS and this is their 3rd year participating in the First Lego League competition.
 

Robotics Team Highlight: Awesome Active Athletes


The Awesome Active Athletes won the Robot Performance Award at their Qualifying Tournament on January 9. Check out their winning run with 475 points scored!


 

Join Us on Social Media


We have a variety of social accounts to keep makers of all ages inspired and engaged. Join our Facebook Group for a private and secure place to share Maker projects. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram at @piedmontmakers and on YouTube. Our Instagram and YouTube channels are fairly new, and we’re always looking for engaging content. If you have images or videos to share either tag us @piedmontmakers or send them to us at jonschleuning@gmail.com.

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Missions, Teams, and Problems: Finding Meaning in Tech

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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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