Tag Archives: Chris Sweeney

Gathering my notes and tweets from yesterday’s mycelium workshop at @GenspaceNYC (organized by @STEMteachersNYC)… #STEMintheCITY #scichat #STEMed

Yesterday, I met up with Tracy Rudzitis and Don Buckley for a workshop at Genspace in South Brooklyn. Here’s some info about Genspace copied from their website:

Genspace is the world’s first community biology lab — a place where people of all backgrounds can learn, create, and grow with the life sciences.

Since 2009, we have served the greater New York area by providing hands-on STEAM education programs for youth and adults, cultural and outreach events for the public, and a membership program to support New York’s community of creatives, researchers, and entrepreneurs. Our programs demystify scientific processes, provide a platform for innovation, and cultivate the next generation of life sciences leaders in emerging global technologies, such as biotechnology, neuroscience, epidemiology, genomics, and many more.

The mycelium workshop yesterday was organized by STEMteachersNYC as part of their annual STEM in the City initiative. Here’s some info copied from STEMteacherNYC’s website’s About section:

STEMteachersNYC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting a community of STEM teachers across the NYC region. Our mission is to cultivate excellence in STEM teaching and to promote deep understanding and success for students through innovative, teacher-led professional development. Our weekend workshops are offered during the school year and multi-week workshop intensives occur in the summer, led by master teachers. We welcome and encourage teachers from across the globe, the US, and the local New York City area!

** Here is more info about the STEM in the City initiative and some upcoming opportunities: https://stemteachersnyc.org/category/stem-in-the-city/

I am totally grateful that STEMteachersNYC organized yesterday’s site visit! Tracy and I are self-proclaimed PD addicts, and while we have participated in many online offerings over the past two years, we much prefer being in-person, exploring together, and continuing the conversation at a local watering hole. When we entered Genspace’s lab, we were able to examine a bunch of materials and projects laid out for us. Don and I particularly loved the examples of leaves imprinted with artwork to highlight the process of photosynthesis(!!). I always appreciate an opportunity to explore a lab/makerspace to see how supplies and works in progress are organized — and I’m now considering ways to hack my tables to include storage below. Also on display at Genspace was the OpenTrons Project robot liquid dropper that began as an independent exploration in the lab but is now commercially available!

Mycelium is a biodegradable fungal material, and during a brief presentation before the hands-on portion of the workshop, we talked about how mycelium is used to create shipping packaging (in lieu of plastic or styrofoam), faux leather, building material, art objects, and more. I know many maker friends who have been integrating mycelium into STEM and STEAM projects (Corinne Takara, Erik Nauman, Chris Sweeney, Tracy Rudzitis…), but I have never experimented with the mushroom spores, and I’m excited to start! Tracy brought some 3D-printed plastic molds designed by her students in Tinkercad to fill with the mycelium mixture; She was inspired by Corinne Takara who has experimented with biomaterials for years and espouses growing materials rather than simply purchasing or consuming non-biodegradable materials. You can read more about some of Corrine’s work in this post: https://grow.bio/blogs/grow-bio-blog/giy-maker-spotlght-corinne-takara

Here is a tutorial for getting started (thanks for the link, Tracy!): https://grow.bio

Here are some tweets posted during yesterday’s workshop:

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Notes from Day 3 of #Construct3D — can’t wait for the next event! #MakerEd #STEMed #STEAM

Keynote, Sallye Coyle of Shopbot shared the story of the company – primarily her husband wanted/needed a tool to help him build a boat, and initially they intended to sell to garage hobbyists. As it turned out, they now help Boeing, NASA, communities, machine shops, schools, and self-employed folks design and manufacture parts.

Darlene Farris-LaBar‘s session, Empowering Creative Minds with 3D Printing for Art & Designincluding gorgeous examples of her art and inspirations. She is a co-founder of East Stroudsburg University’s G3D Super Lab. She shared many lovely examples of pieces printed with a Stratasys full color, multi-material 3D printer – they are just awe-inspiring.

Next, Jennifer Grayburn and Veronica Ikeshoji-Orlati led a session, Remaking the Past: Teaching Art History and Material Culture Through 3D Printing. They talked about having students locate, analyze, and print monuments and other works of art and how the process is most important (similar to what Corinne shared yesterday).

My friend, Ian Klapper of City and Country School, led a session on Visualizing the Past Into the Present and Future. He talked about the constraints of space in a NYC independent school located in Greenwich Village causing him to integrate and bring things into the classroom rather than have the luxury of a designated “Makerspace” — I too am very familiar with this workaround. At C&C, 3D printing is primarily done in Grades 5 and 6, but Ian has been working with teachers to 3D print with younger students too. He shared projects including Viking chess pieces, Medieval wax seals, Mesopotamia cylinder seals, Islamic clay tiles, Renaissance architecture, game pieces, Lenape legends, and moveable type for C&C’s printing press. Three more resources shared at Ian’s session: Thingiverse’s Universal Connectors KitReflow recycled filament, and Mcor ARKe 3D printer which uses paper rather than plastic to form models.

And finally, the last session I attended was an energetic and remarkable share by Chris Sweeney entitled, 3D Printing and Digital Fabrication in the Design Classroom. Chris shared tons of tips, ideas, and photos of student projects including TurtleArt, MakeMakey cardboard instruments, Community Chess pieces, prosthetic tools for a student with cerebral palsy, and more. He also mentioned algae filament, Trnio (a phone scanning app), and using rock tumblers to smooth and polish 3D prints. Chris’s slides from the session are here: https://schd.ws/hosted_files/construct3d2017/db/3D%20Printing%20and%20Digital%20Fabrication%20in%20the%20Design%20Classroom.pdf

After Chris’s session, I caught the last two minutes of Exploring 3D Design Software and Best Practices consisting of panelists Matthew Borgatti, Sean Charlesworth, Michael Curry, Darlene Farris-LaBar, Eric Schimelpfenig, and Laura Taalman and moderated by Matt Griffin of Ultimaker.

Because I can’t remember things like I used to, here are some links from Sarah O’Rourke King, Consumer Youth Marketing Manager at Autodesk, of sites and people I want to follow up on:

Finally, the ever-inspiring Corinne Takara suggested getting ideas and motivation from these sources:

Corinne also honored me with one of her mycelium lights – she even gave it to me in a plastic corsage box! I told her I would absolutely go to prom with her — luckily she laughed. 🙂

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