Our Co-Researchers from Reading College met at MERL for their 3rd workshop. MERL had just held its Apple Day celebration on Sat and we were given some apples to taste, they were very delicious. The picture below shows us tasting various types of English Apples. We were joined by John from the Rix Centre standing on the left, the brown bags contain the different varieties of apples.
We continued to work with the sound boxes. We gave each Co-Researcher a soundbox and asked them to choose one favourite sound that they would like to hear in MERL, we asked them to lead us to an object in the collection that was linked to the sound. Luke and Guillermo choose the horse and cart sound the picture below shows Luke standing by a cart that matched his sound. Luke really enjoyed turning a fly wheel near this exhibit.
The picture below shows Guillermo photographing both Rachels they have their soundboxes round their necks Rachel on the left choose the sound of chickens (and Rumena did too) this sound was quite hard to match but we found some roosters on a milk bottle and some bouncy eggs from the shop. Rachel on the right choose the sound of sheep and found this picture of sheep being sheared.
Sian choose the sound of the steam engine the picture below shows her playing her sound infront of the engine.
Sian also took lots of instant photos, Guillermo did too. After we listened to the sounds with the objects in the MERL collection the group rated the photos withe smilies which are documented below.
The image below shows Rachel discussing lunch using images of the food we ate and how it is produced on the farm.
After a delicious farmers lunch prepared by Robyn helped by Hannah, which included carrots, salad, bread, ham, cheese and home made apple cake with custard…YUM.. we started the second half of the workshop. Nic introduced the group to a special kind of playdough called Squishy Circuits. First we discussed how the dough was made from flour the same basic material as the bread and cake we had eaten for our lunch. We discussed that flour comes from wheat and is milled to make flour. Nic showed us the Squishy Circuit Dough there were two colours, the salt dough which acts as a conductor was green and the sugar dough which is an insulator was orange. Nic explained that if you kept the two lumps of the green dough separate then added a battery with wires going in to each lump of green dough you could create a circuit which would allow an LED to light up. He said the the LED lights have a long leg and a short leg which need to stretch into the separate lumps of green conductive dough. If the LED did not work try turning it the other way round. Everyone had a go and making the lights turn on and off and modelling with the dough.
The picture belwo show Rachel and Guilllermo with Cathy making Squishy Circuits.
After a quick break outside where we had a go at an Apple and Spoon race inspired by MERL apple day the group continued to explore ways to create circuits and learn about how they could trigger or switch something such as a sound, a light or a vibration on or off. Nic showed the group how to use littleBits and we added some content using our sound boxes. The group experimented with turning sounds on and off by various triggers, such as a pressure switch, slider, pulse switch, light sensor.
The picture below shows Guillermo following an illustration of how to connect the littlBits. Each bit joins by magnets and the kit is colour coded to make it easier to use. Our Co-Researchers soon got the hang of how to connect them. We hope it might give our Co-Researchers some ideas about triggering sensory information in different ways in the museum collection at MERL. We will be doing further experiments in future workshops.