What if teens were given the freedom to solve the problems they face with the creativity and tools of a makerspace? Lou Lahana, educator extraordinaire of Techbrarian, does just that. Not only is his searchable website set-up to get anybody fired up about an issue, but it also gives the facts and inspiration needed to work on a solution. Lou gets kids quickly excited about real world mitigation at The Island School in Manhattan using whatever means necessary, from crafting leather wristbands or creating raps to making blinky products. A particular invention caught my eye by his 7th grade student Petter—a Cigarette Smoke Detecting Shirt. Using a Lilypad Arduino, a smoke sensor and some LED sequins, the shirt lights up various messages which serve to embarrass the wearer. I love when Petter explains the choices of stinky breath, yellow teeth, or lung cancer. Another great moment is when he mentions his hope to sell shirts on Etsy to help other smokers. Of course, that is after first helping his father with his smoking problem. Petter rocks! This is such a fine example of a project that works on an issue and gets students excited about #STEM. If you like this one, you should see what his teens are doing with homelessness, LGBTQ and world hunger. Please do follow Lou @TheTechbrarian to see what his students are up to, and if you are mentally blocked for ideas, definitely visit his site to get motivated. Don’t forget we’ve got some great resources here if you want to teach youth about electronics. Our new Circuit Playground microcontroller allows students to quickly experiment with its built-in LEDs, speaker, a gaggle of sensors and buttons and switches. Plus, it has nice fat pads that make attaching alligator clips so easy. Get ready to teach with the best all-in-one unit out there.
Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!