During a recent vacation, we spent a small mint for our children to run through a fake “Mission Impossible” type laser maze. My husband & I watched as the girls ran back over & over again, trying to beat their time without “breaking” the laser beams. My husband has a couple of the green lasers at home, so inevitably, I’m doing the programming in my head. About ten minutes into it, I exclaimed:
“I’m going to make my info tech kids build one this year.”
My husband just nodded absentmindedly, as he always does when I get a hair-brained teacher scheme. I whipped out my iPhone and Googled “homemade laser game,” and was transported to the wonderful site mentioned above.
I’ve been a “maker” all my life, but the game has changed as I’ve grown older. The tools are more dangerous, and much more expensive. I’ve scoured the Internet for cheap but effective ways to replicate things I can’t afford, like a life-sized, real-time laser maze. Instructables.com gave me two awesome versions that I could recreate on a shoestring budget with Radio Shack parts.
Can you IMAGINE the excitement on the day we get to test this thing? I’ll definitely be posting pics over on the classroom Tumblr page. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Instructables.com isn’t geared for teachers or students; it’s aimed at the DIY Maker crowd who like to tinker. But if you’re a creative-teacher-type (ME, ME, ME!!!) this site can be absolute heaven for projects. You can look up projects by categories, where you will find detailed instructions, inventory lists, and pictures to help you along your build. Now keep in mind, this is a grown-up site, so I wouldn’t recommend sending the kids out to it, but it’s a great place to get your creative gears turning when you’re stuck on some way to engage your kiddos.
The only con to the site is to download full PDFs, you have to subscribe to the site. But it’s EXTREMELY reasonable for everything you get, and at a price that even teachers can afford. A two-year subscription is $40, while a month-to-month option will cost you $2 per month.
Seriously, how could you NOT subscribe to a site that gives you the instructions to create your own Ironman Arc Reactor.
It’s a freaking arc reactor. SERIOUSLY.