Jorge Bernal is part of our inaugural group of Global Chapter leaders. He is the Technology and Education Research Fellow at the Museum of Science, Boston and puts on monster workshops!
I am based in…
Tell us more about your organization/space.
The Museum of Science, Boston introduces 1.2 million visitors to STEM fields each year. While the Museum started in 1830 as a natural history museum, it has evolved to incorporate many aspects of technology and engineering as well. In our Tech Studio department, we introduce visitors and families to the engineering design process and ask them to design, build and test creative solutions to problems. We offer drop-in programming in the exhibit halls serving school groups, families, and often adults without kids.
We were inspired to start a Global Chapter because…
We were inspired to start a Global Chapter because we already used littleBits in our programming and saw it as an opportunity to revamp our littleBits activity as well as a way to further our mission of supporting our visitors’ creativity and exploration of computational thinking.
Tell us more about your event this past Saturday.
We ran a drop-in open make from 10:30am – 3:30pm on Saturday, March 28. We had three main areas. First was an area where visitors were introduced into littleBits and got a crash course on how to connect them to make something happen. In the second area, visitors tested whether different foods were conductive using the Makey Makey bit; they tested everything from starfuit and tangerines, to Twinkies and Jell-O. The third area had visitors exploring the various input and output choices to begin their creations, with different building materials to attach their bits to, from cardboard tubes and construction paper to plastic gears and k’nex. We had a total of 575 visitors participate, from those who stayed for ten minutes to those who stayed for two hours.
What were some of the projects that came out of your Global #InventAnything Day?
Some of our projects included an egg beater made using a motor and a slide dimmer to control speed. We also had a food truck (complete with pipe cleaner customers) and an LED powered oven with rotisserie chicken and a cooling fan.
What did you learn from hosting this event?
Hosting this event helped us learn that in our drop-in format, although many of our visitors do not stay long enough to finish a project they are clearly excited and enthusiastic to participate. Even the shorter interactions ended with visitors who had fun and thought creatively about their creations.
Who else in your community inspires you?
We are inspired by every member of our community! We’re located in an area full of innovators in all fields of science and our visitors challenge us to keep up with their innovations. Between their creativity and tenacity we continue to grow and push ourselves to step up to their challenge.
What’s next for your chapter?
Our next step is to continue to host events and become more visible as a local hub for littleBits. We hope to watch our community grow as we expand our littleBits programming!