Thanks so much to Seattle Met Magazine for granting The Big-Brained Superheroes Club their Light a Fire “Purely for the Love” award!
Saturday may have been the rainiest day of the year so far, but that didn’t stop Yesler Terrace from engaging in its bi-annual neighborhood clean-up. From there, ten Big-Brained Superheroes braved even more rain on our walk to our favorite maker space—Jigsaw Renaissance—in Seattle’s International District.
This trip was a reward for a brave young BBS who received the first ever Big-Brained Harry Potter leadership award for defending others against bullying.
Here’s our exceptional BBS Harry Potter Leader working on an electronics project at Jigsaw Renaissance:
Other young Big-Brained Superheroes were fortunate enough to share in the adventure. Happily, Jigsaw Renaissance is more fun than Disneyland.
Here are a few of us working on a robotic arm and a salt water conductivity experiment:
A few young BBSes then expressed their appreciation for BBS Volunteer Mr. Measurement Man via whiteboard:
And also learned a bit of guitar and keyboard:
Much Persistence was exercised in the process of analyzing and deconstructing a broken cell phone:
World Pizza also made a delicious appearance.
Big-Brained Superheroes definitely know how to make the best out of a torrential downpour!
* Thanks to BBS Volunteer, Launchpad McD, for compiling this post! *
Apparently, big-brained superheroes can be found pretty much anywhere as we discovered during United Way of King County’s most recent Day of Caring (which we turned into a day of hacking/making). This particular set of big-brained superheroes came from a company called Blucora, located in Bellevue, WA. And not only did a team of 10+ people travel all the way to BBS HQ at Yesler Community Center to spend the day with a few BBS Volunteers, but they brought a broad array of valuable skills and superpowers—not to mention materials—with them.
The mission: to build prototype electronics kits for our young Big-Brained Superheroes to tinker with.
The result: great stuff!
What you see here are three prototype electronic/multidimensional greeting cards, two prototype phone chargers, one prototype dexterity tester, and one pure exercise of Creativity. Mission definitely accomplished!
From The Narrator:
We had just spent the weekend representing The Big-Brained Superheroes Club and Jigsaw Renaissance at Emerald City Comicon, and our first-ever grant application was due that day. I was battling a wicked cold (probably from the combined lack of sleep and abundance of human contact) while sitting at a computer in our Big-Brained Superheroes Club meeting struggling to finish the application.
All throughout, young Big-Brained Superheroes kept calling my name to come look at the Scratch programs they were working on. Sitting next to me was a young BBS creating his own math-art project. After several instances of responding to those calling my name, I blew my nose and reminded them what I was working on. I then jokingly asked if they wanted the club to be “poor forever”. In an instant, the young BBS next to me (9 years old at the time) piped up, “LEAVE HER ALONE!”. We all kind of laughed and continued about our business.
See. Funny story. Or maybe not. But at least we won that one!
On Wednesday afternoon, several Big-Brained Superheroes exercised their Sense of Adventure superpower by invading Seattle City Hall to profusely thank Seattle for our Technology Matching Fund grant award. Or as our young Big-Brained Superheroes would see it:
Oh and there might have been some other stuff in there too…
Thanks so much, as always, to all the hardworking folks at The City of Seattle, Asfaha Lemlem of Rectech at Yesler Community Center, Brown Paper Tickets’ Maker-Doer Advocate Tamara, Big-Brained Superheroes and their caretakers, and the entire amazing community of nerds with a purpose! Extra thanks to BBS volunteer and photographer Mr. Measurement Man (aka Michael).
A couple of other projects in the C.D. about which we’re super excited are: The Young Geniuses at UmojaFest P.E.A.C.E. Center (we had serious nerd-envy over some of their work!) and Hollow Earth Radio. Check them out and see what serious nerds can do!
Yesterday, a few Big-Brained Superhero volunteers met over 70(!) unofficial big-brained superheroes at East African Community Services in New Holly. It was an amazing two hours in which we travelled to Mars…and Venus…and Mercury…and every other planet in our solar system via rocket ships of our imagination. In the process, not only did we exercise all of our superpowers, but we talked a bit about design and development, chemical reactions, forces and motion, and our solar system. (We even briefly discussed what “NASA” stands for and what its scientists and engineers learn from launch failures.)
So, how does all this happen? Well, if we were Carl Sagan, we would start by acknowledging the origins of the universe. But since we’re The Big-Brained Superheroes Club, we start by acknowledging our shared superpowers. And then, we recognize the hours and hours and hours of work done by BBS volunteers and EACS staff, volunteers, and community members. And then, we appreciate the wide variety of in-kind contributions from a whole host of big-brained superheroes present and past:
- We love Cappy’s Gym for rescuing over 40+ water bottles from their recycle bin to serve as our rocket ships!
- We love EACS and BBS volunteers for providing over 4 1/2 gallons of vinegar for rocket fuel and 16 ounces of baking soda for rocket engines. Not to mention Julianna of SPACE for, so long ago, providing the paper towels we used for engine casings.
- We love Starbucks on Capitol Hill for handing over a handful of corks to BBS volunteer Mr. Measurement Man, who went door-to-door in search of serviceable containment methods for our rocket engines and fuel.
- We love EACS, BBS volunteers, and our old Gasworks Kite Shop for providing tape, markers, and streamers used to accessorize our rocket ships. Plus the sidewalk chalk and tin cans for the launchpads.
And finally, we love EACS staff, volunteers, and community members (Elizia, Connie, and everyone else) for giving us the privilege of meeting so many new big-brained superheroes! (And for letting us accidentally use the roof as a landing pad for so many unmanned recyclable vehicles…sorry about that, EACS.) You all really know how to party!
So the grittiness went out of life…At the last minute, when the social machine was clogged hopelessly, one member or other of the family poured in a drop of oil.
It may not make for a spectacular story, but more than anything, the value of our superpowers lies in their humble ability to take a bit of the grittiness out of life. To unclog the social machine. And so it was on Wednesday, when—thanks, in part, to the Kindness and Teamwork of our friends at Jigsaw Renaissance and Seattle Radio Control—we were able to take a step back from our more grueling superpower exercise and just play…
And we built things out of squishy shapes:
And every once in a while, when we’d have a minor dispute…maybe over a particular building block or an electronics part…we’d exchange that thing for the chance to exercise one of our superpowers. Who would willingly trade a LEGO for an Adaptability superpower? A Big-Brained Superhero that’s who.
You’re reading the world’s second Big-Brained Superheroes Club guest blog post! What a pleasure blogging is for me since I started volunteering for this wonderful program over a year ago. Enough about me, and on with the blog posting!
Hey hey hey. Sorry for the delay. A lot’s been happening with the BBSC of late, so we’re a little slow in posting about our crazy fun party celebrating our recent Seattle Tech Matching Fund grant award.
Before we go any further, let’s give a big (brained) shout-out to the owners of World Pizza in the International District. World Pizza Adam Cone (left, in green) and Aaron Crosleycone:
Small business owners Adam and Aaron donated pizza to our event and exercised their Kindness and Teamwork superpowers to great effect! Their pizza was a big hit with our big brains!
Celebratory festivities included…
Roaring like a lion:
And electrifying paper plates with Maker Advocate, Tamara:
A great time was had by all. Thank you, Big-Brained Superheroes, World Pizza, and once again, Tamara from Brown Paper Tickets!
Yesterday, Engineer Zero kindly brought his Grisbot back to the club for another Big-Brained Superhero challenge. The new feature he added—a light-chasing function—engaged our big brains on a whole new level. Watching our young BBSes get excited about their ability to direct Grisbot’s movements with light served to remind us that our brains don’t want to just sit and observe. They crave interaction and inquiry. Not to mention control, which is really what The Big-Brained Superheroes Club’s particular combination of superpowers and STEAM is all about. Helping us acquire and deploy the tools we need to control ourselves and as much of our world as we can manage. Even if the source of that control is little more than a simple flashlight in a dark place.
Sometimes, it takes a lot more than Willpower to accomplish a mission. In the case of our first ever robot-making field trip, it took the combined superpowers of at least five different organizations and 10 big-brained superheroes to turn our plans into reality.
Thanks to the sponsorship of Brown Paper Tickets and the incredible Kindness of amazing Maker Advocate Tamara Clammer, four of our finest Big-Brained Superheroes got to create their very own mouseybots at today’s Xbot Robotics workshop. On our walk down from Yesler Community Center (which opened early just for us!), we picked up trash in coordination with Nature Consortium for Earth Day. Once we reached the Inscape building, we bided our pre-workshop time by hanging out with the folks at Jigsaw Renaissance, checking out their Arduino library and other fun stuff. Whew! And we did it all before lunch.
When it comes to building robots, Big-Brained Superheroes jump right in…
Goodbye wire insulation…
Hello circuit creation…
It’s time to heat things up…
Or maybe fog things up?…
A flurry of activity…
And mission accomplished…
Thank you again, Tamara et al! We have to agree with one of our young big-brained superheroes…this was, indeed, the “funnest day ever!”