Tag Archives: Brearley

Pics and notes from Heidi Brant’s @LegoSeriousPlay workshop with Class 1 teachers at @BrearleyNYC this morning. #elemaker #MakerEd #storytelling #ArtsEd @LEGO_Group @LEGO_Education

I was thrilled to get an email from Ariel Sanabria (Class 1 Teacher at The Brearley School) inviting me to join a LEGO Serious Play workshop facilitated and designed by Heidi Brant. Heidi is a Serious Play Pro, and this morning, the Class 1 teaching team explored independently and collaboratively for 90-minutes under Heidi’s guidance. Each exercise consisted of the following 4 steps: Challenge, Build, Share, Reflect.

We were presented with a variety of LEGO pieces in individual ziploc bags. Our first Challenge was to create a tower that started with a black flat as the base, consisted only of green and yellow pieces, and had a flag at the top. Being me, I misheard Heidi and thought she said we should top our tower with a flat, and as I was absorbed in the task and didn’t look up, I carefully reserved my yellow flat pieces to top my structure (unlike everyone else who had a flag topper). This Build time was paired with Heidi’s curated musical choices playing in the background, and then we were asked to hold our structures in our hands and Share our designs. After everyone had a chance to speak, we had additional time to Reflect on the experience. These days, I’m finding it a more comfortable challenge to be creative with constraints rather than without constraints. Total freedom can feel almost paralyzing…

The second challenge was to build a structure which represented our frame of mind. Many of us had thoughts of summer vacation on the brain (coincidence?), and my neighbor and I both built beds. Using LEGOs to explain something intangible seems very accessible and similar to asking someone to tell a story, draw a picture, write a poem, etc. to illustrate inside thoughts/feelings.

As Class 1 studies structures and NYC landmarks, the third challenge was to choose a landmark and represent its personality as a LEGO design. I chose The High Line Park and tried to convey how it’s flexible, ever-evolving, generous with its offerings, and constantly on display and watched by all the visitors. Among other insightful and creative designs and explanations, my neighbor had a really interesting take on the Flat Iron Building.

The fourth challenge was to work in groups to construct and name a new landmark which incorporated a component from each of our individual designs. There were 8 of us, so we formed two groups of 4. My group included moving/flexible parts from my High Line interpretation, secret nooks from the teacher who created Grand Central Station, symmetry from the Chrysler Building, and happy colors from the teacher who constructed the personality of her parents’ backyard. We decided on a maze-like design for our group-building exercise which included these four elements.

Here are additional images from the workshop:

 

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Love this Lenape toy project at @BrearleyNYC launched by @LuigiTeaching and the Class II Teaching Team. #MakerEd #elemaker #elemedchat #STEAM #PBLchat

Last week, Class II completed their Lenape “buzzer” toy project. Luigi Cicala (@LuigiTeaching) is an amazing artist, teacher, and Director of the CoLab, The Brearley School’s soon to be launched makerspace. In anticipation of having an actual physical space dedicated to making, fabricating, and project based learning, Luigi has been developing creative, integrated, and thoughtful STEAM-rich projects with faculty across multiple grades and disciplines. With this in mind, Luigi ideated a variety of projects to correlate with Class II’s study of The Lenape. This year’s chosen project was to create a “buzzer” toy — I totally remember making these as a kid with yarn threaded through plastic buttons (or drilling holes in a wooden disk). Now that we’re well into the 21st Century, these students used an iPad to design the button shape that were 3D-printed for them.


Students talked about shapes and symmetry while creating paper designs with Luigi and their classroom teachers, Rebecca Chynsky (@rchynsky) and Betsy Warren. Additionally, girls could use paper divided into quadrants to sketch a design to gain a sense of symmetry and test for it by folding along the lines (or axes). While the concept of symmetry might not be readily understandable, folding a shape and seeing if it overlaps fully (either up/down or side/side) is a fun exercise. See examples of Marina Jackson’s folded sketches in the photo below.img_0012.jpg

In computer class with Virginia Avetisian (@vavetisedu) and Marina Jackson, students used Doodle3D on the iPads to sketch a shape with their fingers, give it some height, and include two cylindrical holes (like a button). These were exported as STL files and printed using our Ultimaker Original+ printers which were built from kits a few years ago by upper school students. I helped with the actual printing and spent many hours over the next few weeks ensuring each student’s digital sketch was transformed into a plastic “buzzer” for their enjoyment.


Here’s a video of one of our “buzzer” toy prototypes in action!

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Making cardboard, #FunkeyFunkey, and @Scratch slot machines starring @brearleynyc’s class mascots for our upcoming Casino Night. #MakerEd #STEAM

Before Thursday’s Upper School performance of Guys and Dolls at The Brearley School, there will be a Supper Club Casino Night for the community with games led by faculty. I offered to help, though I was worried about being responsible for learning and facilitating Poker or Blackjack, so I offered to make some slot machines.

I figured there must be a bunch of programs shared by the awesome Scratch-user community, and they didn’t disappoint. I remixed this project generously offered by Jcg127: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/23156262/#player

I removed the Yay! and Jackpot! procedures and swapped in nine new costumes representing Brearley’s class mascots (camel, penguin, tiger, owl, duck, buffalo, elephant, bear) and the official school mascot (beaver).  I then found some cardboard in the recycle bin and built some quick yet sturdy casings for three separate laptops.

I knew I’d use some of our FunkeyFunkey boards for the project and was originally considering a physical lever with a tilt sensor. I imagined having a hinge or printing 3D pieces (similar to Makedo parts) to hold a long cardboard tube in place (I have a stockpile of cardboard tubes from wrapping paper rolls). A rubber-band stretched somewhere would allow the lever to pull forward yet return upright for its home position, and the tilt sensor inside the tube would recognize when the arm was lowered and “spin” the rollers in my slot machine.

However, I had four hours today to generate the Scratch program and mock up the cardboard cases, so I used our FunkeyFunkey arcade buttons instead. They are build like a nut and bolt, and they sandwich cardboard beautifully. Easy peasy! Also, Stephen Lewis (creator of the FunkeyFunkey) designed his sensors (tilt, touch, button, infrared, etc.) to work even without being grounded, so they are so much easier to incorporate into projects.

If I had more time, I’d definitely make my slot machines more attractive. These definitely look homemade. 🙂 Here’s a tutorial for a DIY slot machine I belatedly found: http://www.instructables.com/id/HOW-TO-MAKE-SLOT-MACHINE-DIY/

 

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