What We Teach

At the heart of Gadget Lab is a core set of workshops that teach electronics, graphics and coding. We also offer programming in mechanical structures, animation, engines and more. The following links lead to descriptions of each workshop series that we offer throughout the year. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at karen@gadgetlab.org.

While email is the best way to reach me, we can also talk by phone at 240-472-3068.

Core Workshops


The goal of GadgetHeads is to understand the foundations of gadgetry from the inside out and then use that knowledge to learn “Physical Computing” which uses code to make things happen in the real world. The GadgetHeads workshops for kids ages 8-10 eventually covers the same ground as the workshops for ages 11 and up. It just takes a bit longer to get there and the soldering can be left out.

Students can also learn coding fundamentals through the CodeHeads series.  The two intersect when students use code to make a robot or a robotic structure that responds to sensors and user inputs. 

Ages 8-10

GadgetHeads I: Robots the Inside Story Ages 8-10

GadgetHeads II: Robots the Inside Story Ages 8-10

GadgetHeads III: Robots the Inside Story Ages 8-10

Ages 11-14

GadgetHeads I: Robots the Inside Story Ages 11-14

GadgetHeads II: Robots the Inside Story – Ages 11 -14

Advanced Circuitry with Rustom Meyer Part I



The CodeHeads workshops offer  programming instruction using the MIT’s  SCRATCH  drag and drop interface to learn basic coding structures like recursive loops and if statements.  It’s a fun and very kid friendly way to learn the foundations of coding.

You’ll also learn to use GIMP (like PhotoShop but free) to manipulate images. You’ll cut part of one image and place it in the other. You’ll use filters and online tools to create fun images while you learn about RGB colors and the  hexadecimal numbering system we use to define them.


Complementary Workshops

Gadget Lab offers workshops the complement the Core series by offering instruction from local artists and engineers who are leaders in their fields.  These workshops depend on the availability of the instructor and they fill up fast.


20151102_112812We learn about four stroke vs two stroke and internal combustion vs externalSteamEngine combustion engines.  I’ve got beautiful model steam engines , Stirling engines, mufflers and more.  We take apart small lawn mower and weed wacker engines and compare them to a motorcycle engines.  We also make a really cool model cam/crankshaft model.  Now what could  be more fun than that?



Music Video Production

This workshop series in music and visual arts features instruction by award winning author Mary Amato and longtime videographer and musician Barrett Jones. We’re very proud of our first production, a shadow theater mockumentary called Octopoda Papyrus.  The girls wrote the script, created all the cut outs and filmed it themselves.  




Gadget Express

Gadget Express  is  a 3 hour sprint through most of the GadgetHeads Curriculum without project making.

You’ll learn what’s inside  a computer, how a battery produces electricity, why a motor spins and more  fun facts about the objects you use everyday. 

I’ll demo the projects we make as I explain their related topics.  You’ll do some circuit simple circuit building and can try your hand at soldering if you’re willing