I had a great time participating in Portfolio School‘s annual community Halloween event for both neighborhood families and children who attend the school! Here are links and descriptions of the two activities we offered for participants:
- Lever art inspired by @RobIves — Jeannette of Portfolio School kindly used their laser cutter to pre-cut cardboard into rectangles per Rob Ives’s template. We offered children the option to make a simple lever or lever with linkage and used construction paper, markers, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and glue sticks to create their design. I made an example with a flying pumpkin over a pumpkin patch, but then a lot of children wanted to copy it, so I made another example with of plain cardboard lever ready to be decorated.
- Lava Lamps by SteamPoweredFamily.com — Jeannette and Katarina of Portfolio School went to town facilitating this activity! We had a popsicle stick with a line drawn across it to estimate how much water to first add to the jar. Then kids added oil, food coloring, glow in the dark powder, and a teaspoon of white powder (which was a mixture of 2 parts baking soda to 1 part citric acid — alternatively, Alka Seltzer tabs would work as well to jumpstart the fizzy reaction). I appreciated that Katarina and Jeannette encouraged the children to try different combinations of colors and different amounts of oil or mixture or UV powder. Prototyping!
Photos of the Lava Lamp activity:
Photos of the Levers activity:
Movie of Amanda Grutza’s flame thrower!
Photos of Portfolio’s awesome learning spaces, Makerspace, and classrooms:
I’m leading a Teach21 professional development workshop this afternoon, Cardboard, MakeyMakey, and Scratch Instruments. Here’s the description:
By adding the Arts to traditional STEM goals, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), we can embrace design, creativity, and integration and discuss interdisciplinary possibilities. Let us embrace STEAM by crafting cardboard instruments with conductive elements, programming notes and sounds in Scratch, and using the MakeyMakey to provide interactivity while discussing other project ideas and opportunities.
Click here to go directly to the webpage of shared notes or see the embedded document below:
I have enjoyed spending the last ten years collaborating with intelligent, creative, and willing colleagues at The School at Columbia University. Though I mainly worked with middle school teachers and students, I was often asked for help, guidance, or partnership from teachers in the other grades. I always assisted anyone (parents, teachers, students) which helped me build community, connect people and ideas to each other as a de facto curriculum coordinator, hone my craft, and simply share all the stuff I’ve gathered and learned from my amazing network and the ideas being shared via Twitter, meet ups, conferences, workshops, and casual conversations.
Yoshiko Maruiwa is one of my favorite colleagues. After hearing I was leaving The School next year to join The Brearley School as their inaugural K-12 Technology Coordinator, Yoshiko asked if we could do one final project together in her 5th grade Art classes. I knew the students had recently completed an electronics and circuitry unit in science with Monique Rothman, and they’d studied Ancient Greece in Social Studies (including participating in a grade-wide Olympics). So, it wasn’t a big stretch to imagine having the 5th graders use the existing stars of Greek constellations to re-conceptualize their designs. I had originally intended for LED lights to be connected via wires that students would cut to size and connect into parallel circuits, but there wasn’t enough time. Instead, we used a lot of expensive copper tape.