Making things is the most fantastic thing in the world to say "I made this". This is one of the reasons why the TEDx team in Sofia, Bulgaria liked Hackidemia so much. We met in early December last year and we were all sure that we have to create something together. TEDx is the best place to find new ideas and inspiration and HacKIDemia happened to be one of the best workshops during and after the event, where kids and adults had to take action and actually make things work with their hands. It was very exciting and energizing to be part of the event. The event happened in the National Opera with hundreds of people eager to learn something new.
It was a great possibility for Hackidemia to get more exposure and grow the local community. I had the chance to tell the story of Hackidemia, how it was founded and how it have grown almost exponentially in the last few months. We also had a few tables in the hallway where we demonstrated in front of the guests some of the workshops we do with kids. Finally with the support of the local TEDx team on the following day we had a very successful Hackidemia event with 9 workshops and almost 100 kids. It was a very dynamic weekend but we found a lot of support for what we're doing.
During the event we challenged the TEDx guests to light up LEDs with lemons, to use conductive ink in some unpredictable ways, to explore how circuits can be made out different kinds of dough and to learn how to extract DNA out of strawberries. Well, the kids on the very next day learned a lot faster. We almost ran out of materials and played different games. During the we had 9 different workshops:
- The structure of DNA - what is the DNA and why do we have it inside our cells?
- Extracting DNA from strawberries
- Sketching with electronics using conductive ink - while using a new formulation of conductive silver ink we explored electronics, circuits, sensing, while drawing on paper
- Energy - Powering LEDs with lemons. The task was to learn the very basics of electronics and what we need to light an LED. How the batteries work and why and how we can use a lemon to light an LED. Through plenty experiments we realized that we can’t really power up a motor with lemons.
- Squishy circuits - using different types of dough to create conductive shapes.
- Electronics - After going through the basics in the previous workshop the kids were now ready to create circuits including more elements - buttons, resistors, 7-segment displays and others. They loved playing and exploring on their own while showing to other kids what’s the right way to connect elements to turn on a simple LED.
- Creating a DIY Microphone - we played with a piezo speacker. Piezo disks are impressively sensitive to vibration and can easily be adapted to work as a contact microphones.
- Robotics with LEGO - was using the Mindstorms Robotics kits to let kids explore and learn how easy it is to program a robot.
- The Japanese game Go
It was amazing and the whole team is absolutely looking forward to collaborating more with TEDx!