The Beam Center is an awesome makerspace and learning center in Red Hook, Brooklyn. They have tons of equipment and tools and offer free and inexpensive programming for students, families, and educators. Last night I attended a free workshop led by the incredible Nancy Otero (@LeSheepo), Laser Cutter: 2D to 3D.
Here are some of the great things I learned:
- Jennifer Jacobs (@jsquare) build a Codeable Objects library in Processing that is an amazing design tool for creating laser-cut lamps. http://highlowtech.org/?p=2675 (Check out her other awesome MIT research projects here.)
- Eric Rosenblum (@ericrosenbizzle), co-designer of the MakeyMakey, has shared many awesome #MakerEd gifts with the world including Beetle Blocks visual code for designing in 3D (which is like Scratch for 3D printing)! http://beetleblocks.com
- Maureen Reilly (@MaureenrReilly), an incredible teacher and maker and STEAM coordinator, told me about the @OZOBOT which is a tiny line-sensing robot. http://www.ozobot.com
- We used Autodesk’s 123D Make to import an .STL file of a 3D model. 123D Make creates 2D build plans with animated assembly instructions and quickly (and easily!) lets you choose a construction technique (stacked slices, interlocking slices, etc.) Here’s a tutorial via @Instructables: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Slice-Up-a-T-Rex-in-123D-Make/?ALLSTEPS
- Nancy helped me with all the nutty settings required to laser cut .25″ cardboard on the Epilog Mini 24 Laser which has a large work area (24″ x 12″) that holds most standard engraving stock material.
After the class, I stopped by Brooklyn Famacy & Soda Fountain for a mint chocolate chip hot fudge sundae. I needed both hands free to gorge, so I had to leave my laser-cut cardboard cat bust behind. True.
Here’s a wonderful blog post from Diana Rendina (@DianaLRendina) about the Epic LEGO Wall she built at Stewart Middle Magnet School in Tampa, FL: http://renovatedlearning.com/2014/09/12/the-epic-library-lego-wall-how-to-build-one/
And here’s a stop-motion video of Diana building the Epic LEGO Wall…
Closer than Tampa, Maureen Reilly (the STEAM Coordinator at The Blue School) had a LEGO wall built for their new Makerspace a few miles away from me in downtown New York City! Maureen says that students love using it to build collaboratively. She also suggested an amazing idea about attaching baseplates at 90-degree angles in order to form a LEGO box. Thus, you can affix LEGOS to the outside of the box and use the box itself (with an open top or with a removable lid) for storage! Thank you, Maureen!
Maureen Reilly is the STEAM coordinator of The Blue School. I shared Maureen’s contact info with Karlyn Adler and Amy Liebov (two of the amazing kindergarten teachers at The School at Columbia University), especially so they could check out the LEGO wall in the MakerSpace that Maureen launched in September. (Maureen shared lots of information about her research of Makerspaces, visits to other spaces, and thoughts for The Blue School’s space at a recent NYCISTk6 meeting, and I wanted to see it soon.) Within a week, Karlyn and Amy set up a visit with Maureen, and I was thrilled at the opportunity to tag along.
Here are some images of the MakerSpace, the LEGO wall, the woodshop designed by Construction Kids in Brooklyn, some pre-school classrooms, the Science annex with a beehive on the patio outside, the inside and outside shoe tubes, reading nooks, the beautiful light in the hallways, the Wonder Room, and so many thoughtfully designed learning spaces and curated exhibits throughout the school.