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Designing and lasercutting Chanukah menorahs with the MS Jewish Affinity Group at @BrearleyNYC! #STEAM #MakerEd

I am the Faculty Advisor to the Middle School’s Jewish Affinity Group at my school. The group is called Bonim Kitanim. Bonim is Hebrew for “builders” and Bonim is also the name of the upper school Jewish Affinity group. (Our school mascot is a beaver — a builder — so Bonim is such a great name!) Kitanim means “little” so the middle school group’s name means “little builders”. 😻

Bonim Kitanim gathers about once a week for lunch and to chat about family traditions, holidays, or other topics decided upon by the Class VIII co-heads. At a recent session, we talked about the upcoming holiday of Chanukah, and I mentioned we could design our own Chanukah menorahs — also called a hanukkiah — that could pack flat and wouldn’t require actual fire (so they’d be great for traveling or for keeping in their room safely.

Students made sketches with a marker on white paper, and I used the Trace feature on the Glowforge lasercutter to scan and cut their drawings. I also mocked up a stand (see prototypes in the last photo of the Gallery above) to hold their hanukkiahs upright. We used hot glue to affix velcro onto their candles and their hanukkiahs. Maybe next year, we could use magnets… I love the variety of their designs and how they decorated them!

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Notes from the Class XI Mandarin shadow puppet project at @BrearleyNYC. #STEAM #MakerEd

Yue Tang is one of my amazing colleagues at The Brearley School. After we installed a Glowforge lasercutter in the CoLaboratory, I approached her about doing a shadow puppet project with her Mandarin class. I’d watched puppet performances during some of my travels, and it seemed like it would be such a fun and creative project to put on a show at school. This year, we collaborated on shadow puppet shows in two different grade levels, Class VIII and Class IX!

Before embarking on the project, I showed Yue’s students examples of shadow play using the following two links:

  1. Wikipedia Shadow play  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_play
  2. Three little pigs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCmFWJjc4RA

Separately, I had seen an ad to attend a Crankie Theater show in Coney Island. I wasn’t able to make the show, but I followed links to learn more about crankie theaters and located building plans to construct my own crankie theater. I loosely followed the plans shared on this site: http://www.thecrankiefactory.com/348971243. I also gleaned information from this blog post: http://williamtherebel.blogspot.com/2015/01/thoughts-on-making-crankie-box.html (Note the image in the gallery above showing a quick semicircular 3D piece that I designed and printed on one of our Ultimaker printers to hold the two main dowels upright in the puppet frame.)

Here is a snippet of the Class IX play: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fVEMs-ZR4UQwzQ2xwRcw0srMk6W80dUW/view?usp=share_link

Here is a snipped from the Class VIII project: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jGsC9-tolFgJgyko23VlKmaBZRz4uj02/view?usp=sharing

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Prototyping a wall mount for alligator clips to hang in the @BrearleyNYC #CoLab. #MakerEd @ultimaker @thingiverse @tinkercad

In the CoLaboratory, we have a large bin marked ALLIGATOR CLIPS that was becoming a bit of an organizational nightmare with 5th graders struggling to free a wire from a tangle of metal-tipped tumbleweeds. I figured a wall-mounted solution might be helpful, and I asked my 5th graders for their opinions and suggestions.

My first physical prototype was a scrap of cardboard affixed to the side of a shelving unit with a large binder clip. Then, I mocked up a simple comb-inspired design with Tinkercad and later added perpendicular bits to the edges of the tines (like a rake) to keep the wires from slipping out. I belatedly noticed we have alligator clips of different thicknesses, so I also made another version with wider spaces between the tines.

I posted the STL files to the Thingiverse here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5547674

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I couldn’t find a satisfactory wall mount for a mini glue gun, so I made one with @Tinkercad and an @Ultimaker. You can find it on the @thingiverse… @BrearleyNYC #MakerEd #STEAM

Problem Finding begat Problem Solving!

It troubled me that students would plop the glue gun on the counter top in between squirts, leaking glue and causing a burn/fire hazard. After searching for a wall-mounted solution, I ended up making my own design in @Tinkercad and printing on one of our @Ultimaker printers.

After several incarnations (and a small pile of plastic), I settled on a relatively simple model that will hold a mini glue gun against the wall during use or while cooling. I posted my design to @Thingiverse here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5377878

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