Let’s make the most of staying at home.

Welcome to Make it!

This week, our Make it! Live educators bring you a new selection of at-home maker workshops, including stop-motion animation, coding choose-your-own-adventure stories, and toy hacking. And with building floating structures, musical instruments, kinetic sculptures, or mini-golf courses, there’s something for everyone!

On Make it! DIY we invite you to join an exclusive club: Spy KIDS. Develop a secret code, master a laser maze, send messages in homemade invisible ink… make your spy gadgets and then go on a secret mission.

As always, be sure to post your creations (#makeit) and tag us so we can share them with our KID Museum community.

Ready. Set. Make it!

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Spy KIDs

1. Cipher Wheel

Send secret messages to your fellow spies and others with a homemade cipher wheel. A cipher is a secret or disguised way of writing — in other words, a code! Ciphers have been used through the ages to send out messages that only certain people can read. Create your own decoder wheel out of cardstock, paper, or a paper towel tube and see if anyone can crack the code!

Suggested Materials
– Scissors
– Cardstock
– Pencil or paper clip
Cipher Template
– Optional: Cardboard, paper towel tube, markers

Tips and Thoughts:
– Make sure you give the person receiving the message the code to one letter so they know how to figure it out.
– Want to make your own code? Use a blank Cipher Wheel Template
– Remember to change your code every time you send a message! You can do this by rotating the wheel.

Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Click here to take this challenge to the next level.

2. Invisible Ink

Here’s another way to send secret messages — invisible ink! Using different household items and a little bit of science, it is easy to make an ink that is invisible unless exposed to UV light, heat, or other reactions. Compare different recipes and pick your favorite.

Suggested Materials
– Paper
– Q-tip, paint brush, or toothpick to use as an invisible ink pen
– Lemon juice
– Baking soda
– Water
– White crayons
– Markers
– Lamp

Tips and thoughts:
– Want a double layer of protection for your secret message? Write your invisible message using a cipher wheel!
– Why do some inks become visible only when reacting to heat or UV light or acid? Read about the science behind invisible ink here.
– If you were a spy today, would you trust invisible inks to send secret messages? Why or why not?

Resources
Invisible Ink with Crayons
Invisible Ink with Lemon Juice
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Click here to take this challenge to the next level.

Try making your own black light!

3. Laser Maze

Challenge your spy skills by creating a “laser maze” in your bedroom or hallway. Using string or streamers and masking tape, you can design and build the ultimate spy game in your home. Put your agility and stealth to the test!

Suggested Materials
– String or streamers
– Tape
– Hallway or space you can walk through.

Tips and thoughts:
– Remember to create a start and end point for your maze.
– How can you make your laser maze more realistic? Create a story for your spy game. What is the maze protecting? Why do you need to reach the end?
– Try adding to your game by creating more obstacles or “prizes” to collect along the way.

Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Click here to take this challenge to the next level.

4. Secret Compartments

A pendulum is a simple mechanism made by hanging a weight off the end of a string. When you let the weight go, it swings freely back and forth, while keeping time. By following the path of the pendulum with paint, sand, or even a marker, you can make unique works of art that demonstrate how gravity pulls on the pendulum. Warning: this may get messy!

Suggested Materials
– Small containers such as a glue stick, pen or empty chapstick tube
– Old hardback book
– Scissors or box cutters (adult supervision required!)
– Hot glue or elmers glue

Tips and thoughts:
– What kind of containers make good hiding spots?
– What kind of things would a real life spy need to hide? How will that affect the shape of your secret compartment?
– How can you make sure that your secret compartments go undetected?

Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Click here to take this challenge to the next level.

5. Spy Kit

Keep all of your spy essentials handy and within reach by creating a Spy Kit. Using a pre-made container, like a lunchbox or backpack (or by building your own briefcase using cardboard), build in your own customized compartments for your cipher wheel and invisible ink, sunglasses, secret agent notebook, and other equipment. Now you’ll be prepared for your next mission.

Suggested Materials
– A container for your kit! This can be two pizza boxes, a lunch box, or backpack. Get creative!
– Cardboard and tape to create different compartments in your spy kit
– Post its or notebook for observations
– Pencils or pens
– A good pair of sunglasses or a hat for your disguise
– A magnifying glass
– All of your self created spy gadgets!

Tips and thoughts:
– What qualities make a good spy?
– What tools and other items will you need for your spy kit? Why are those things useful?
– Think about the shape of the items in your spy kit. How can you create a special compartment in your kit to fit (or hide!) those items?
– Want to know more about the life of a real life agent? Check out the CIA Spy kids website

Resources
Video for Younger Students
Video for Older Students
Written Instructions

Click here to take this challenge to the next level.

We'd love to see what you make!

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