From the first day I set foot in the Teen Learning Lab, I fell in love with the environment, but most of all the kind staff. My favorite day at the lab was when one of the staff members, Wade Berger, expressed the wish that the game Minecraft had more animals. I said, “You know, there’s a mod for that!” We then both made it our mission to get the new animals into Minecraft. Wade and I spent over an hour trying to find out how to get the “Mo’ Creatures” mod and we were able to in the end; all we needed to do was install some more software, and we were able to get the mod to work. When we finally got the mod working, we hopped on Minecraft, made our own server and made our own ecosystems with dolphins, turtles, frogs, dragons and more. I feel like the Teen Learning Lab is a great place for teens to explore their creative side and learn new skills that can help them get a job in the “real world,” without feeling forced to learn (in other words, to feel like you’re in school).

The image above is an Alaska sea otter that is made by the pixel art process. The reason that I made a pixel art of an Alaska sea otter is because I like otters and I like pixel art. For those who don’t know what pixel art is, pixel art is art made with 1x1 blocks or pixels. The program I use to make pixel art is called Pixen. Pixen is available free, and it is also available in the Mac App store. I feel that pixel art is not just a thing that you can only do on a computer, since pixel art has only one rule (that is that the process you use must be a 1x1 thin). At the Shedd Teen Learning Lab, I hosted my own workshop on pixel art (with the permission of the staff, of course) and we used Perler beads to make our own 3-D sprites in addition to 2-D art on the computer. If you are interested in any of this, come on down to the Teen Learning Lab!

-Adrian Favela