Category Archives: Vital Class Announcements

In-Class Peer Writing Review

In class today we’ll do a peer review writing exercise to improve your Instructables drafts. If you have not done so already, please start out by composing your Instructables draft and paste the link in this Google Spreadsheet we’ll use to organize the activity. I will then paste your draft into a google doc that folks can make suggestions on.

If you have written your draft, please review your classmates’ drafts. Do this by reading over the draft Instructable, then marking up your suggestions in the associated google doc using the “suggesting” feature (not directly editing the doc):


Feel free to raise questions, correct grammar/typos, suggest ideas to clarify the instructions, etc. Once you have reviewed a draft, put your name under one of the “reviewed by” columns in the spreadsheet, and move on to another draft.

If you run out of drafts to review, please write your shooting script for your project’s video, then check back for newly added drafts. After your shooting script is written, you may also use the rest of class to work on your project, and we’ll regroup for the last 20 minutes.

Week 12 Homework – Prototype & Write Instructable Draft

For homework over Thanksgiving, you should continue building a prototype circuit for your project, and developing its final form and code. Many of you have two parallel development tasks– don’t put off any unknown part of your project! The sooner you uncover the unknown parts of your project, the sooner the finish line will be in sight. Please feel free to schedule a 1-1 with me if you need one, or email with any type of questions.

For class next time, please bring a working prototype of your project and any pieces of the form you may have developed. Please also complete a first draft of your project Instructable (text and linked URLs is the bare minimum, please also include any images that are also ready). Do not publish your draft, but rather send a link to the preview to me by email by 8pm the night before class. I have composed a sample draft to help guide you.

Video Notes : from class


Here are the notes we took during last class on the video examples Becky orchestrated for us. In the comment section, please add anything I left out and I will amend this post.

AUDIENCE : (get to IT in the first 15 seconds)

  • potential customers
  • gadget freaks
  • tech industry folks
  • entertainment
  • other makers


  • write a script
  • story arc
  • implying thought through close-ups (intrigue)
  • manual focus
  • variety of shots
  • point of view
  • perspective
  • white balance
  • depth of field
  • call to action
  • concise editing
  • audio quality
  • tripod
  • free-hand camera (not a tripod)
  • split screen


  • intrigue
  • cool subject
  • provocation
  • humor
  • clarity through repetition
  • don’t leave the audience hanging
  • nuance
  • object as character
  • empowerment
  • emotion
  • empathy


Week 11 Homework – Begin your Final Projects!

You will create one more project in Making Studio this semester– let’s make it a great one! Your project objectives:

  • Create an interactive object or experience using electronics (Arduino preferred)
    • simple recipe = sensor + output + physical form
  • Film and edit a short video about your project (4 minutes maximum)
    • define your audience
    • make a storyboard or shot list
    • write a script
    • shoot lean
    • leave extra time (2.5-3x your first estimate) for editing
  • Document your project in a step-by-step tutorial on Instructables, using text, images, and video to enable the reader to recreate your project (including parts list, source code, and circuit diagram).

Half the class will present on December 8 (5-8p):

  1. Louis
  2. Will
  3. Jingting
  4. Andrew
  5. Kuan
  6. Bernice
  7. Lassor
  8. Teng

and the other half will present on December 13 (Tuesday 10a-1p):

  1. Sowmya
  2. Sebastian
  3. Alexia
  4. Juho
  5. Smruti
  6. Chris
  7. Manako
  8. Jiani
  9. Antriksh
  10. Kevin

Next week we’ll have class on Monday November 21 from 10am-1pm, when we’ll do some mini group project debugging/code workshops. I’ll pick projects of yours to discuss and develop during class time based on your project proposal blog posts, due on Sunday by 8pm. I anticipate spending 45 minutes on each of three projects, trying to cover as broad a range of sensors and outputs as possible. You can choose to watch each demo or work on your prototype during class time, whichever wills serve your project best. Your blog posts should include:

  • Sketch(es)
  • Proposed project title
  • Draft parts and tools list (with URLs)
  • Links to prior similar work and/or tutorials you plan to utilize in making your project

Build a rough prototype circuit (using stand-in components where necessary) to bring to class. Email me early if you need help with anything, whether it’s refining your ideas or picking the right components!

During our last week of working-class, December 1, we will have a peer-supported writing workshop and quick in-progress critique.

Homework for Next Week

  1. Play with the RGBWstrandtest code for your NeoPixels and make a video of your animation.
  2. From your Arduino kit booklet, complete Potentiometer exercise Circ-08, DC motor exercise Circ-03, and make videos of each.
  3. Create a blog post with all three of your videos embedded (hosted on instagram, youtube, vimeo, etc., NOT uploaded directly to blog)
  4. Parts research for innovative switch project and order parts, email Becky for help figuring out which parts could be used for your switch ideas.
  5. Make a blog post about your innovative switch ideas with sketches

*Don’t forget to post them by Wednesday 8pm and put them in a right category (“Arduino” and “Works in Progress”)

Week 4 Homework – Sewing & Soldering

1. For homework, please practice your soldering skills! Wires, LEDs, switches, circuit boards– try them all! a good resource is the Adafruit Guide To Excellent Soldering.

2. Make a circuit diagram for your plush toy! Phil B’s “Let’s Put LEDs in Things!” guide will come in handy and has additional soldering tips.

3. Acquire materials for your Plush Nightlight project. For your project you’re going to need some LEDs, a switch, and a battery pack (or a battery pack with a switch already on it). Check with ___ to get some of the LEDs I brought to class! Here are some recommended sources:

Order early if you are having anything shipped, so you have time to work and play with your materials!


4. Finish sewing your practice monster from today’s sewing workshop, follow along with the Free Range Monsters guide. Take a photo or two and make a blog post about your creation, including a name and short backstory.

More plush toy sewing resources:

5. Create the first prototype of your Plush Nightlight. The primary objective of this project (and most important evaluation criterion) is an exploration of light diffusion using LEDs and soft materials. All other elements are secondary, including interaction, so feel free to omit your Arduino unless you are 100% satisfied with your light diffusion. Take photos and video of your material experiments, pattern design, and prototype construction, and create a blog post about your prototype and be ready to present it at next week’s in progress critique.

Week 3 Homework

For homework this week (due on the blog 8pm Weds 9/28), please:

  • complete this online lesson about RGB LEDs, including the “other things to do” section (adding a diffuser and customizing the code) and record a short video of your circuit.
  • complete lesson “Circ 07 Button Pressing” from your booklet inclduing the “making it better” section and record a short video of your custom button creation
  • post these two exercises in the “Arduino” category on the blog (one post with both exercises).
  • brainstorm and sketch three ideas for your next project: a plush nightlight! Make a separate post with your sketches and ideas in the “Works in Progress” category.