Imagine and design solutions to challenges at the Maker Space. Make your creation from a range of materials provided and test out your design. Share your thinking with others and build on each other’s ideas.

Current Maker Space Activity

Switched on

13 September - 6 December 2021

SparkLab’s Maker Space is lighting up! From bedroom lights to traffic lights, we rely on lights that can be switched on and off every single day. 

Use your design skills to build a switch using wires, batteries and a collection of unusual items.  Control the flow of electrical energy as you create different types of switches for different purposes. How will your switch work? Who are you designing it for? 

This activity invites you to follow a design process. Below are some of the questions that will help you at each stage of the process.

 

Think of some solutions

  • What real world examples of switches do you use every day? How do they work? How do you operate them? 
  • Who might need to turn on your light switch? What are their needs? How do they use their light? 
  • How does a switch help to control the flow of electrical energy? 
  • How will your switch move and operate? What different parts will it need?
  • What ideas do you have for a design? 

Make a prototype

  • What types of materials will you need and use to make your design ideas happen?
  • What properties will you need to consider in your materials? Will they conduct the electrical energy or block/insulate it?
  • What parts of your design need to move freely and which parts need to be secured in place?  
  • What part of the design are you finding tricky to build? 

Test it out

  • Test out by connecting your switch design into a circuit.  What did you observe when you turned on the switch? 
  • How does your switch operate? Is it operating how you want it to?  
  • Did anything unexpected happen?
  • What part of your design worked really well? 

Improve your design

  • What changes can you make and how will this improve on your design?  
  • What would happen if you used different materials or added a new part? 
  • What ideas could you incorporate from someone else’s design? 
  • If you started again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same? 
  • What advice would you give other people who want to make a design like yours?

This activity supports the key learning areas of Science and Design & Technology, in the Australian Curriculum.

Changes have been made to our Maker Space programs. This includes increased cleaning of furniture and shared equipment, disposal of single use materials after use and changes in the way we disperse material to reduce handling.



Previous program ideas and resources

  • Hanging in harmony

    21 June 2021 – 13 September 2021

    A twirling mobile is a thing of beauty as it spins in the breeze, casts a shadow or creates sound. Draw on your science and engineering skills as you create a hanging mobile.  

    Reflect on real world examples of hanging sculptures, homewares or furniture as you consider how you will make your mobile balance. Who is your mobile for and how might they use it?

    Identify the forces that are acting on the system and consider how the different mass, shape and location of each component will change how the mobile balances. Create a balanced hanging mobile in your Maker Space.   

  • Spin cycle

    31 March 2021 – 20 June 2021

    Up, down and turn around! Construct a machine that uses spinning parts to make something move. What might your simple machine do and who might need to use it?  

    With gears, wheels and everyday materials, test out your machine and see if every part moves smoothly and in the way that you want it to. How do the different sized gears or wheels change how your machine moves?

    What changes can you make to improve on your design, move something over a greater distance or function in a different way?

    Design a solution to the Spin cycle challenge at your space.    

  • Sound makers

    16 December 2020 – 30 March 2021

    Strum, rattle, tap, strike and pluck! Design a Sound maker which can produce a range of different sounds. Consider who might use this device and what their needs might be.  

    Test out your Sound maker and see if you can control or change the pitch of your sounds?

    Consider what you would need to change to control the loudness or amplitude of your sounds.  

    Create a Sound Maker challenge at your space

  • Move it!

    14 September 2020 – 15 December 2020

    Grab, scoop, hook, flip and grip as you design and build a device to pick something up – without touching it with your hands! How can you build parts that can move, bend or rotate?  

    Test out your device by transporting an object from one place to another. Will your device be able to securely contain your object over a distance? Measure how far or how high you can move your object.

    Make improvements to your device and consider what you would need to change if you were transporting a different object.  

    Take the Move it challenge by setting up your own Maker Space activity at your space.

  • Slow it down

    22 June 2020 – 13 September 2020

    How slow can you go? Design a way to slow down a speeding cart before it reaches the end of the track.  

    Make a vehicle and add customised parts to your cart. Test out your cart by rolling it down a ramp and measuring how far your cart goes. Make improvements to your design, so that your cart travels an increasingly shorter distance. 

    Think about the forces involved as your cart moves along the track. Change the angle of the ramp and see what happens. 

    Set up a Slow it down Maker Space challenge at your space.

  • Take a seat

    16 December 2019 – 29 March 2020

    Fold, cut, roll and join! How will you change cardboard to make a mini chair? Be a designer and create a simple prototype using a range of different repurposed materials. 

    Consider who your chair is for and what they need this chair to do. Use a toy or small manikin as a character for testing. As you design your chair, think about strong shapes, structure, movable parts and stability. 

    Take a seat. Set up this Maker Space prototype challenge at your space.

  • Air machines

    17 September – 15 December 2019

    Push, pull, lift and tilt! Add parts to an air powered machine. What will you make the machine do? Use two 10 ml syringes and plastic tubing to create a pneumatic system. When you push on one syringe plunger, the air pressure inside the system will cause the plunger in the other syringe to move. Add parts to your movable plungers. What will you make your air powered machine do? Add more their one pneumatic system into your machine. 

    Create an Air Machine Maker Space activity at your space.

  • Land sailing rovers

    24 June 2019 - 16 September 2019

    How far will your wind-powered vehicle travel down a test track? Make a vehicle and create a customised mast and sail. Use a fan to propel your rover through some all-terrain challenges, such as different surfaces, ramps and bridges.

    Consider the properties of different materials and whether you need your mast and sail to be light or heavy, strong, rigid or flexible. Think about the forces involved as your rover moves forward.

    Set up a Land sailing rovers Maker Space activity at your space.

  • Shake it up

    Maker Space Shake it Up

    4 April 2019 - 23 June 2019

    Can your structure survive the power of an earthquake? Make and test your custom-built design to see if they survive the destructive force of the quake. Consider the different properties of the materials you are using and whether it is better for your structure to be light or heavy, strong, rigid or flexible? What happens if the quake is quite strong or you add multi-levels or weights to your design?

    Set up your own Shake it up Maker Space activity at your space.

  • Can you cross it?

    17 December 2018 – 3 April 2019

    Moving something across town, over the river, up the mountain or across the valley takes some thought. Build a structure to help move something light or heavy between two parts of the landscape. Consider materials, strong shapes and the size and weight of your object. Your landscape can be made using boxes or furniture and have parts that are of different heights and different width spans.

    Can you cross it? Set up this Maker Space challenge at your space.

  • Zip to it

    17 September 2018 – 16 December 2018

    This tricky terrain is a breeze if you slide or roll down a zip line. Make a device that transports a person or object safely along a zip line. Zip lines can be made from different types of thread, cord or line, set up at different angles and have different lengths. 

    Set up your Zip to it Maker Space activity at your space. Watch our design challenge video and download the resource