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Fun with sewable circuits, Class 5, and @PietroEnnis at @BrearleyNYC #STEAM #MakerEd #elemaker


@PietroEnnis and I are wrapping up a Class 5 project on sewable circuits. These Brearley girls are so fun to work with! They are creative, funny, inquisitive, and passionate about whatever they set their mind to. For this project (which correlated with a study of electricity in Science class), students were tasked with creating a circuit using conductive thread, as many as 5 LEDs, a coin cell battery, and some sort of means of powering their circuit (a battery pocket or a LilyPad battery holder with switch). Projects included dog collars, wrist cuffs, neck ties, donuts, animals, ice cream cones, and a skateboarding taco.

Before anyone began threading needles or cutting felt, everyone was asked to draw a template of their project (to scale) on paper. This sketch included the location of the battery pack, location of any lights, and distinct paths for the conductive thread in order to connect the negative “legs” of the lights and the positive “legs” of the lights.

While I’ve used YouTube videos and various resources in the past to help students review how to sew a parallel circuit, this time I brought Jaymes Dec and Ji Sun Lee’s book to class. Make: Tech DIY has great project ideas, lovely photos, and clear instructions. I love supporting my friends!

Make: Tech DIY

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Repurposing a flatbed scanner to take photos. #MakerEd #STEAM #artsed

Tish Webster is one of my new colleagues at Brearley. She’s a fabulous photographer and artist, and we are looking for way to collaborate on fun STEAM projects. First we built a Bigshot Camera together and considered having an afterschool activity where students assembled their own cameras as well. Then I mentioned that I saw a post from Josh Burker about making a camera out of a flatbed scanner. A quick search on Google yielded these instructions via Make Magazinehttp://makezine.com/projects/simple-scanner-camera/

I acquired a scanner, and we gathered some girls from Tish’s afterschool photography elective to begin assembling the foam parts. The directions from the website were a bit sparse, but I suggested we forge ahead and improvise as needed. These days, I often ask aloud, “What’s the worst that can happen?” And if the worst that can happen is we fail, I know that the next step is to try something else in order to find another solution. I also often say, “We’re prototyping!” which lessens the sting of failure and hopefully helps to foster a culture of innovation, creativity, perseverance, agency, and entrepreneurship.

Yesterday, Tish and I took our first images. They pretty much stunk. Though I was disappointed that we weren’t able to immediately capture quality pics, I knew that the next step would be to figure out what we need to do differently — how to focus, how far from the camera to stand, how to stabilize our lens boxes… Tish and I are excited to further prototype after Spring Break!

 

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