Sunday, March 26, 2017

March is for Making #26 - Making a Statement about Human Rights with Paper Circuits

Today’s March is for Making inspiration brings us to The Crossett Brook Makerspace-- an amazing space that was thoughtfully designed around the following tenets!

I recently had the opportunity to work Crossett Brook  Maker/ Educator/ Librarian  Jennifer Hill, Tech Coordinator Lynn Pollock and Tarrant Coordinator Life LeGeros to design a maker centered activity that would introduce the teachers and students at Crossett Brook school to ways that their makerspace could be integrated into curricular and project based learning.

Our challenge was to create an experience that would help teachers consider the makerspace as an option for instructional design around the curricular topics they are responsible for.

After some preliminary planning with teachers by Life and Jennifer,  we came up with the idea of using Paper Circuits to introduce new materials and skills to students in connection with their current topic of study - Human Rights!  

The students arrived in the makerspace prepared to make a statement about one of the human rights they studies in the form of an illuminated card/poster.

Due to some thoughtful planning pre-teaching by teachers,  and preparation of materials,  we were successful in introducing paper circuits to over 100 students  who used their new skill to express their understanding of human rights!

Check out some of the creative ways students found to MAKE a statement around Human  Rights!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March is for Making #25 Taking Apart and Remixing in the TBES Makerspace

During today’s March is for Making blog post we get to check out Makers in Action at Thatcher Brook Elementary School - in Waterbury, Vermont.

Thatcher Brook provides many opportunities for students to interact with STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics) including a fantastic art program,  Project Lead the Way, and now makerspace in the computer lab with  a mobile maker cart that contains coding and circuit bins.

The kids  who come to the computer lab section of the makerspace  have had a great time with hacking different electronics and toys and creating new things with them.

They have been taking apart all types of things including Keurigs, sewing machines, phones, remotes, laptops, video cameras, VCRs, toys, and creating something new with them.  The kids have been learning about circuits through using motors and batteries and LED light

The Thatcher Brook School Makerspace concept design started at the Create Make Learn Summer Institute.  Teachers attending the Institute participate in hands on workshops that help them build their own maker skills, explore possibilities for making, and create a custom kit for a center for creating and making back in their school.

After attending Create Make Learn Institute in 2015,  art teacher MK Monley came back   with a team of educators to experience makings first hands in hopes of adding a makerspace to the rich options that the school was providing for students to engage with h STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics).  Not only were students creating with technology in MK’s art program, they also had opportunities to to code and learn about engineering in Project Lead the Way.

During the Create Make Learn Summer Institute,  educators  MK Monley, Lynn Pollock, Brenda Ververis, and Heather Morehouse started to plan and envision additional opportunities for students to become makers.

Their  plan was to transform one section of the school’s computer lab into an area for making and to add a mobile cart that contained tools and resources for making.  They carefully considered how various resources would best meet their needs as they selected which tools to include in the  custom maker kit from Create Make Learn.   After some initial planning at the institute, they knew they wanted to engage their staff and students in the design of the space and purpose.

By early October, the Makerspace had its own space as part of the computer lab and a mobile cart was equipped with coding robots and circuits bins.

Students and educators drop into use the makerspace before and after school, during recess, and during choice time.  The mobile maker bins are signed out by teachers to use in their classroom.  The Coding bin with robots is one of the favorites.  It allows students to extend the coding unit they have completed from Project Lead the Way. Teachers have also started to create centers for making in their own classrooms.

Their  next goal  is to add more tools that would allow students to drill holes, hammer nails, and further extend their maker projects.

Friday, March 24, 2017

March is for Making #24 - 3D printed models and research of Vermont historical buildings

March was a busy month of making across Vermont schools as students from around the state were researching historic buildings in their community and creating 3D print models of those building.

This morning… a  large floor map of Vermont was laid out on the floor of Judd Hall at Vermont Technical College in Randolph.  By 8:00 AM  students and teachers  from Vermont schools started to arrive to share the 3D printed  models of historic buildings that they had created as part of their historical research.  

This Architectural Olympiad  known known as 3D Vermont is a competition that was designed as a collaborative effort across state agencies where school teams identify a historic building, take measurements, and research the origins and history of the building.  They create a multimedia presentation to share their research to a group of judges.   

Students then use their 3D modeling skills to create a replica of the building to scale.

The project originated in Mike Hathorns classroom at Hartford High School where he and his students created online 3D models and placed them on Google Earth. The advent of 3D printing lead Mike to re-envision the project in a way that would engage more schools and students.  

The annual event (3D Vermont) is an amazing celebration of student work and a chance for students to present what they know to an authentic audience.

Kudo’s to all the teams who participated!
Congratulations to the following teams who won this year's competition.

High School Division

#1 Rutland HS
#2 Windsor HS

Middle School Division

#1 Rutland MS
#2 Williston MS

People’s Choice.. Mater Christi School
After a few challenges navigating today's snowy road conditions #EMMAneedsBetterTires I turned around and attended virtually via everyone's photos and tweets!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March is for Making #23 - Teaching for Artistic Behavior

Making when Teaching for Artistic Behavior at Waits River Valley School

I love seeing how making happens in schools all over Vermont and beyond.   At Waits River Valley School,  MAKING is a perfect fit for April Hallock's art studio where she teaches for artistic behavior (TAB). Her young artists experience not only have choice for their own project, but they also support each others' learning and making.

As today's guest blogger, April Hallock shows and tells us what this looks like.

Guest blog post by April Hallock, Art Studio Facilitator & Visual Arts Tea


Greetings from the makers at the Waits River Valley School Art Studio! From building structures with wood in the wood center to figuring out how a Makey Makey works, makers from kindergarten through eighth grade are busy generating ideas, experimenting with a variety of media, prototyping, and completing marvelous works of art based on their own personal investigations and curiosities.

I teach for artistic behavior (TAB) and most of the time, our young artists experience having full choice to create their own projects. When students arrive for their class, I give a brief demo of a process, introduce a concept, or feature an artist from art history. Our makers may then choose to try the demonstrated process, express their reaction to the concept, or replicate art created by a famous artist or art movement. Many children enter the art studio with plans they have developed outside of the art studio or they bring art to work on that they have started in their own studios at home. Students may choose from centers which include (but are not limited to): Drawing, Painting, Collage, Sculpture, Printmaking, Mask-making, and Clay. Today, during the second grade class, one student lead half of the class in a pop-up puppet-making extravaganza! Luckily, I had plenty of socks that had been donated for just this purpose. When teaching for artistic behavior, I feel as though I have to be ready for practically anything!

When I attended the Create Make Learn Institute last summer, I met Jill Dawson, a remarkable lady who changed my understanding and appreciation for all things that light up and blink. Check out her blog: here.  So, last trimester, I facilitated an elective designed for the middle school which focused primarily on circuitry, coding, and integrating these areas within the realm of art. Makers in sixth through eighth grade learned how to make simple and parallel circuits using Chibitronics tutorials. Projects included lighting up the mouths and eyes of student-designed characters in both 2d and 3d works of art. Wearable electronics included several bracelets and even a pair of LED earrings. We played with Makey Makeys, explored snap circuits, and completed an Hour of Code.

During this third trimester, the music teacher, librarian, and I have prepared electives for the scholars in middle school based on Shakespeare’s comedy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students will be able to choose whether they would like to focus the trimester on acting, set-costume-and-lighting design, and the musical aspects of the show. Our performance will be presented in the woods (we have 40 acres to choose from!) so students who choose to work in the art studio may be carpenters building outdoor seating (with money from the CLiF grant), sewing lots and lots of fairy wings with twinkly lights, making props, constructing Bottom’s head, preparing the set, running the lights, etc.

So, this is how making in my school works. It’s crazy-busy for me but I love it and the kids love it, too. When I changed from a discipline-based art teacher (where I developed all of the projects for the kids) to a TAB teacher, it was scary because I felt like I was giving up a lot of my control. I did (and still do) soooooo much research on how to facilitate an art studio with children as the center, children as the makers, and I’m still learning. For the most part, students know what the expectations are in the art studio and for the most part, wonderfully amazing magic occurs every day in the art studio!

I have known in my heart that TAB and a makerspace environment is what is good for children; it is empowering for them because they can fail and it’s ok because they have time to learn from their mistakes and can begin to learn to perseverance. With persistence, a willingness to take risks, and a desire to learn, one can do anything. But one needs to practice these behaviors in order to gain confidence in this design thinking process. I am SO VERY LUCKY to be able to offer kids an opportunity to create and make and learn.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March is for Making #22- Learning about the Brain through Gamification and Making

The students at Center for Technology, Essex are gearing up for their Game Design Unit.   “A good game designer understand how the brain works to engage the players in ways that makes the game fun - and sometimes addicting!” explains their teacher, Caty Wolfe, as they began studying the brain.

But Caty  ran into a problem -- her students were still struggling to understand how the brain actually works.

"So, what is a teacher to do when her students have been reviewing the parts of the brain at multiple intervals, had many opportunities to apply their learning, and still can’t remember?  Gamify it! " 

And what better way to do this  than create their own “Operations”  type game about the brain using a Makey Makey.   Now that’s what I call problem-solving by both the teacher and the students.

Today’s guest blogger,  Caty Wolfe,  shares how she and her students using making to better understand how the brain work. Caty Wolfe is also a creative maker educator who will be bringing her talents to the teachers at the Create Make Learn Summer Institute. Perhaps some of you will be learning with her this summer!

Guest blog post
by Caty Wolfe, Pre Tech Teacher at Center for Technology, Essex

In the PreTech program at the Center for Technology, Essex, we have developed a backwards unit about gamifying learning all the while gamifying the learning we are gamifying.  You’ll see what we mean.

Students in PreTech2:IDEA (IT, Digital Media, Engineering, & Art) have elected to spend their sophomore year learning in a technical career focused integrated program.  One of the career paths we study is Game Design.  With that as our focus, students earn English credit by writing directions and gamifying a concept, science credit through the study of brain function while having fun, math credit from probability, and art through 3D modeling and board and package design.  The end product is a playable game that teaches content to high school age students so they learn something.

“Gamification is about making something potentially tedious into a game,” says Merriam-Webster.  

So, what is a teacher to do when her students have been reviewing the parts of the brain at multiple intervals, had many opportunities to apply their learning, and still can’t remember?

Gamify it!  

The PreTech students at Center for Technology in Essex are no strangers to Design Thinking Challenges and Engineering Challenges, so they jumped in when given the task of gamifying the parts of the brain.

In small groups they created Operation-style games using a graphic of the brain, MaKey MaKey boards and tin foil, and Scratch to add sound bytes with the name of each part.  

They then created cards that had brain functions on them so the players would have to figure out which part to grab!  

What a hoot!  

And, the best part?  

They have now all aced the anatomy quiz!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March is for Making #21 - Learning to Laser Cut Jewelry

Today's inspiration for the  March is for Making  Series is (NOT) a piece of jewelry.  It's an amazing teacher who is never afraid to explore something new;  its a teacher who is not afraid to be vulnerable; its a teacher who not afraid to make mistakes;  and mostly it's a teacher who is not afraid to model that learning is a process.

I met Melissa Haberman in the late 1990's during a  a class I was teaching on HTML for The Web Project.   She was willing to  jump in to see how technology might be used in art way before most folks!  And today she is still willing to jump in to see how technology might be used to teach art.  It's no surprise that Melissa has been to all 5 Create Make Learn Summer Institutes.  Thank you Melissa  for sharing your recent project with us, but mostly thank you for sharing it in a way where we can see your process of learning.

Guest author:  Melissa Habermann (St. Albans City School)

The Project: Jewelry Making with a Laser Cutter

How Might I create a design challenge to create jewelry using the laser cutter and a vector based design program
My goal for my final project for Create Make Learn is to create jewelry using the laser cutter. I will use my creations as a prototype for future student projects. I will be offering a Wearable Arts choice class as one of my 7/8 grade rotations this year. I have been slowly exploring the laser cutter at City School this past year. Under the guidance of Craig Lyndes and Erica Bertucci  both of St. Albans School I am learning to the program Inkscape as the main design source has been a challenge for myself. Having no instruction with this program until this past summer at CML with Sarah Sutter and Caty Wolff was helpful. There is a huge learning curve with this program. I have some experience with Adobe Photoshop but no experience with Adobe Illustrator. After I created this work Roland Wilhelm showed mean online program called Gravit. If seems to be something that is more user and kid friendly. I am anxious to try this program.  I am certainly challenging myself. I came into CML to want to feel more comfortable using the laser cutter. My goal is to create jewelry using the laser cutter. I created 3 different pieces in acrylic. I will also try to use other materials including wood, metals, and materials I am just learning about like bike tires, leather. Here is a photo of the jewelry:

The Process

Creating and Making Vector-cut Earrings

Earrings designed using the vector based program called Inkscape. I designed in Inkscape. I used the Draw Benzier Curves and Straight Line Tool to create both of them.
Vector cutting testing the laser cutter
My first cut I used 100% speed and 100% power. The earrings did not cut all the way though.
Second cut was at 80% speed and 100% power. Almost successful. Some of the smaller holes had to be pushed out with a small tool. 
The third cut was the most successful. At 70% speed and 100% power I did not have to struggle to push the holes out! 
The Earrings were printed on a laser cutter cut on 1/8 inch acrylic.

I printed both of my earrings on the laser cutter at St. Albans CIty School. 

Designing Making Raster and Vector-cut Earrings

First, I searched for grayscale vector flower drawings that was labled for reuse with modifications. I downloaded the image.

I opened the image in Inkscape and and used the circle tool to draw a circle around the image and also inside the flower in the top petal.  
When I attempted to first print the earring I could not understand how the circle around the flower got cut off. I watched it happen during the vector cut.  I deleted that version and a made a second one. This one worked. The laser cutter first did the raster cut of the flower the did the vector cut of the two circles. I had a hard time pealing off the paper from the acrylic so for the second printing I pulled off some of the paper. As you can see from the second set of earring the one on the left had a white haze around the raster cut flower. I took them home and thought to wash them and it took the white haze away!. I also discovered that if I washed the others with the paper on it comes right off. I realize I still need to keep practicing with Inkscape as you can see my circle and flower are not centered.

Monday, March 20, 2017

March is for Making #20 - Design Mindset

After spending so much time at the CUE conference discussing the Innovators Mindset, the Growth Mindset, the Mathematical Mindset in the context of learning and seeing the similarities between these along with the ways they are different, I started to think about all the different ways that Create Make Learn participants expressed themselves when trying to communicate what the Design Mindset looks like to them.  

I remember feeling so  inspired by the creatives ways each of them expressed themselves after just a week of being immersed with other like-minded educators, creating and making and learning at our summer institutes. 

And since March is for Making is all about inspiring each other,  why not inspire each other with the many different ways to communicate what's in your head when you say  DESIGN MINDSET! 

Note:  Please don't use these images without checking in with the authors.  If one of them resonates with you, contact me, and I'll put you in touch with the creator of that image. 

Click on each image to see it full size.