Profiles in STEM: Katherine Johnson

This week, we're celebrating the life and work of one of the most important women in modern science. Before she helped send the first astronauts to the moon, won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and became the subject of an award-winning film, Katherine Johnson was...

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5 Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

Pi Day is Thursday, March 14! Check out our History of Pi article, and celebrate the day with these great activities: Make a Pi bracelet! Buy small beads in 10 colors, and some string.  Let each color represent the digits from 0 to 9. String your beads in the order of...

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A Brief History of Pi

While there's a "food holiday" for just about everything you love to eat, it turns out there are actually two separate days every year when people come together to celebrate pie: National Pie Day on January 23 and Pi Day on March 14. As you can imagine, it's easy to...

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Get Kids Coding for Free

Learning to code teaches kids valuable skills. Kids who learn to code will be prepared with the tools they need for the jobs of the future, while they hone their creative thinking skills and learn persistence, systematic reasoning, and collaboration. While most...

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Free coding and engineering course

Free Coding and Engineering Course!Engineering and coding skills are invaluable for kids today, and our free course is a great way to get them started learning. Looking to learn how to build electronics and write code? Already know how but hoping to...

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Why Kids Should Learn to Code

Most Americans love their laptops, tablets, and smart phones, but according to a recent study by the  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)  few Americans know much about how their favorite technologies work. When it comes to using...

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What is a microcontroller?

All of our MakeCrate electronics subscription kits use an Arduino microcontroller as well as a variety of digital and analog sensors and displays to create nightlights, calculators, room alarms, and more. Because the microcontroller is a fundamental part of every...

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Circuit Basics: Electricity Flow

Transcript: Let's take a look at the steps required to build a circuit that allows electricity to flow correctly. In each of the projects that we build at MakeCrate, we start by connecting a wire to the 5V connection on our Arduino to our breadboard, and then...

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While loops

A common coding structure is the while loop. This is used when you need an action or event to occur for the entire time a condition is met or another action is occurring, but not at other times.  To understand this in more depth, watch this video and learn about while...

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If-Then Statements

If you are writing some code and need an event to occur only when some other event has occurred or a specific condition has been met, an if-then statement might come in handy.  Explore how these work in the Arduino IDE:  

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For Loops

There are a few programming structures that are common across languages.  For-loops are one of those.  For  loops are commonly used when an action needs to be performed a specific number of times. Take a look at this video to begin to learn to build a working for-loop...

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How does an ultrasonic sensor work?

Learn the science and math behind an ultrasonic sensor. Transcript:  An ultrasonic sensor can be used to calculate how far away an object is. These sensors can be used to determine things like how far your car is from a wall, or whether or not your water bottle is in...

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How does a photoresistor work?

Learn about the properties of semiconductors that allow photoresistors to work. Transcript: Let’s take a look at how a photoresistor works. A resistor is an electronic component that reduces the amount of current flowing through a circuit.  A variable resistor is one...

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How does a buzzer work?

  Curious what is happening inside a buzzer? Check out this video. Transcript: Buzzers can be both fun and useful in electric circuits.We’ll use them a lot in MakeCrate projects, so let’s take a look at what is going on inside a buzzer to produce sound. The buzzer...

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How does a breadboard work?

How does a breadboard work? The breadboard is a key part of every MakeCrate project. Let’s take a look at why we use them, why they are called breadboards, and how they work. Why use a breadboard? The type of breadboards we use are called solderless breadboards....

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How do I know what level of resistance my resistor has?

How do I know what level resistance my resistor has? Through hole resistors like the ones in your projects have a series of bands on them that indicate how much resistance they provide. A resistor chart like the one below helps to decode the bands: For example, let’s...

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How does a resistor work?

How does a resistor work? Many of your MakeCrate projects call for resistors of various strengths in the circuits, so you may be wondering what a resistor does, how they work, and what happens if you leave them out. Our article “How does an LED Work?”  introduced the...

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How does an LED work?

Light-emitting diodes – commonly called LEDs– are found in several your MakeCrate projects. They come in a range of colors, sizes, and intensities. Our directions and videos emphasize that the LEDs must always be connected in the correct direction, and if you reverse...

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Adding a Library to Arduino

Many of the programs you'll write to run your projects require library files. These are files containing functions that someone else has already written that simplify program writing. Watch this tutorial to see how to install a library for Arduino....

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Uploading Code to Your Arduino

Once you've got all the software you need on your computer, you'll need to learn how to upload code to your Arduino board.  This tutorial walks you through that process.  

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