Hello, my name is Aashi Shah, I am a student at West Island School in Hong Kong, currently, I am doing a 3-week internship at MakerBay. My second day as an intern at MakerBay was jam-packed with activity. We held a string art workshop for 25 kids. The children were 6 years old and filled with excitement. We started off by splitting them into smaller groups so that they would (hopefully) be easier to organize and manage.
Before they arrived, we had to prepare examples and organize everything. This involved a lot of trial and error and required us to test between screws, nails, and different drills. We ended up realizing that screws were easier to use because they required drills instead of hammers which would be easier for the children. We also had to test out what shapes would work for string art because some shapes didn’t end up being clear or look that nice. For example, the turtle shown below turned out really well however, the starfish ended up looking more like a flower so, we knew not to use that image with the kids.
To create the string art, they would need to drill screws into the wood in the shape of their animal and then wrap the yarn around the screws. We chose sea animals due to MakerBay’s love for the ocean and decided to provide them with the images since the kids were still young.
Initially, we taped the image of the animal to their wood to make sure the screw placement was easier. They were fascinated by the drill and by being able to use a machine. While one person drilled their screws, others used screwdrivers to play around and sanded their wood pieces. Being 6-year-olds their attention span wasn’t that long and they all wanted to use the drill so taking turns was very important.
After getting most of the screws in (with help from us) they went for lunch and a break which was definitely needed.
We showed them the 3D printers which engaged them and they found it very interesting.
Soon after, we introduced the yarn for them to finish their string art. This was both fun and difficult for them as the yarn kept getting caught but, in the end, they managed to complete their sea animals and were extremely happy with their end result.
From today I learned that 6-year-olds have more energy than I thought but that they are willing to learn and love to create. Most importantly, we wanted them to have a good maker experience and I think that they did especially because of the use of drills which was new for them and the viewing of 3D printing which captivated them. The hands-on experience was very different from a classroom setting and enabled them to be more involved. Initially, I thought it would be a challenge for them to finish their pieces in 3 hours however, they managed to get it done and were very successful.