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.


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.

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
Makers gonna make!
The Piedmont Makers Board