- Creative (Learn what’s been done before, but don’t assume that’s all that can be. It’s better to do lots of failed experiments and figure out something new, then just color in the lines.)
- Smart (learn why things do what they do and be smart enough to be creative safely.)
- Challenge (Push yourself to find your limits, and then go a little further. This is a place where you can go as far as you want.)
- Respect ( Messing around is ok, distracting is not. We’ve all been in classes where we were frustrated because the instructor had to spend so much time wrangling kids who were messing around that there wasn’t time to really explore what was going on. Also, as always, we’re a smack talk free zone. Have fun with people, not at their expense. The higher level classes are open only to those who demonstrate that they understand what they need to to be safe, and that have shown that they won’t ruin the chance for others to test their limits too.)
- Good Alignments only (Whatever we may play in role playing games, as people, we really work to be good. If we see a way to help, we do, if we don’t we try and find them. Our word is good, and we know that being honorable isn’t goofy, its a real thing and it’s worth fighting for.)
- Mad Science lab (a workshop of space to work on electronics and more)
- The Secret Study (the best space for playing tabletop games we can build)
- The “It’s OK to get messy” Room (A space for painting, Dyeing, gluing, Cutting, Molding, smooshing, making, creating.)
- The Studio (A soundproof space with equipment for Recording/podcasting)
- Lego Engineering/robotics,
- Arduino robotics,
- Electronics exploration/construction,
- Chess classes/club,
- More unconventional twist-ups like using traditional paper marbling techniques on weird objects like sneakers.
The philosophy of the workshops:
- Understand the basics (really grock what we’re working with)
- Learn the techniques (know what it is and how to work with it safely)
- Take it seriously (Having fun–Big thumbs up. Slowing everybody else down by disrupting…not cool. This is the place where you can see what you really can do, and people messing around with the instructors and the other participants isn’t ok)
- Get a challenge–Go nuts (there will be basic ways to deal with any challenge, but figuring out other ways to get it done is always awesome)
- Show you know what your doing and be respectful of others gets access to the more advanced stuff.
- Working on something cool=having fun
- Show you know what you are doing AND be a good teammate/mentor to others and you may get tapped to join the Igors (the Mad Science/art jr. assistants/sidekicks.) Being and Igor is a great honor/responsibility. You will get to become class assistants, and get special hours access to the labs as well as special Igor only events.)
Examples of Workshops:
Electronics deconstruction:Tear apart old electronics in this treasure hunt challenge to find the parts you need to complete your secret goal. Each class will have a quick-solder challenge to complete a mini machine. Teams that complete their class challenge early will have access to the higher level challenges. Requires basic soldering qualification class or equivalent.
Things learned (in a much more fun/hidden way)in the class would include:
- How to solder well (de-soldering is much harder then soldering)
- Different types of common electronic parts, (including what is safe and what to be careful of)
- How to not be afraid/intimidated by the electronics around you
- Fix/re-purpose instead of throwing stuff away
Cardboard Architecture:In this three week class, participants will build a functional piece of furniture, a habitat where they will spend the night outside in a park, and a human portable entry into the Alameda 4th of July parade. Oh, yeah…and all of these things will be built out of donated used cardboard box material. The goals of the class will be to learn and understand the architectural and mechanical principals behind designing something that can be built and can take the forces applied. (Understanding the nature of the materials.) Along the way will be math challenges (can you predict when our test bridge will collapse under the weight), design challenges, artistic challenges and creative challenges. As with many of our classes, beat the first challenges early to get access to the advanced stuff.
- Alameda Mystery Theater: a student produced series of radio/podcast audio Theater… script writing, performance, sound effects, music, editing the final release.
- Seven Wonders of the Lego World: a workshop teaching the fundamental building blocks of (Lego) engineering from ramps to sophisticated pulley systems, we will re-create some of the mechanical wonders of the world in Legos
- “Doesn’t matter if your black or white” Chess Explorers Club. Chess builds the parts of the brain that do math and fudimental problem solving. It’s also a chance to learn to win with grace, lose with style, and play for the fun of it. Beginning players learn the fundamentals of both moves and stratagy, more advanced players play, learn advanced stratagy and puzzles, and how to become a great teacher of others (building knowledge and confidence without coming across as impatient or know it all, or an overwhelming firehose of knowledge).
- D&D Camps
- DM Boot Camp – how to build, manage and run a D&D campaign. Each day will be split up between learning, designing, and either running for participating in D&D adventures
- D&D adventures. A five day, mega campaign. Breaks each day to head out to the park, put on gear and whomp on each other with foam swords.
- MTG Judge Bootcamp– one week camp for advanced MTG players who want to learn the rules to the level that they could take the Judge test. The Boot Camp will include problems, puzzles, tests, challenges, Game shows, tournaments. (Parents, the camp will also good morning in and practice on how to be a judge: how to be confident, to control the situation, How to de-escalate when people get angry, and how authority i’m coming across as arrogant or bullying are very different things) ages 12 and up.
- Mystery Room Challenge: two teams will both design and build the props for their own mystery room (A room that contains a puzzle that must be solved with four players are allowed to leave.) today before the end of the camp, they will try the mystery room out on the other team, and then have the last day to improve it based on what they learn. They will then put on two performances for the public (including parents and others) that Friday, and Saturday.
- The Secret Study – the library like room with an amazing configurable gaming table.
- The Mad Science lab – plasma lightning covered walls full of workbenches boxes of tools to be checked out depending on the level of skill. Robotics, and other electronic and fine design skills done here.
- The Constructoporiam- place of rube Goldberg machine madness. Masterbuilder quantities of Legos, and other reusable or upcycled building materials.
- The “It’s OK to get messy” Room: A space for painting, Dyeing, gluing, Cutting, Molding, smooshing, making, creating.
- The Studio – soundproof space with equipment for Recording/podcasting