Tag Archives: STEAM

Fun with sewable circuits, Class 5, and @PietroEnnis at @BrearleyNYC #STEAM #MakerEd #elemaker


@PietroEnnis and I are wrapping up a Class 5 project on sewable circuits. These Brearley girls are so fun to work with! They are creative, funny, inquisitive, and passionate about whatever they set their mind to. For this project (which correlated with a study of electricity in Science class), students were tasked with creating a circuit using conductive thread, as many as 5 LEDs, a coin cell battery, and some sort of means of powering their circuit (a battery pocket or a LilyPad battery holder with switch). Projects included dog collars, wrist cuffs, neck ties, donuts, animals, ice cream cones, and a skateboarding taco.

Before anyone began threading needles or cutting felt, everyone was asked to draw a template of their project (to scale) on paper. This sketch included the location of the battery pack, location of any lights, and distinct paths for the conductive thread in order to connect the negative “legs” of the lights and the positive “legs” of the lights.

While I’ve used YouTube videos and various resources in the past to help students review how to sew a parallel circuit, this time I brought Jaymes Dec and Ji Sun Lee’s book to class. Make: Tech DIY has great project ideas, lovely photos, and clear instructions. I love supporting my friends!

Make: Tech DIY

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Pics from @BrynMawrSchool’s innovation lab. Thanks for the tour, @KennedyKristen! #edcampIS #MakerEd

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A highlight of today’s @edcampIS at @BrynMawrSchool today was my awesome tour of the Innovation Lab from their Director of Innovation, Kristen Kennedy. Like many maker-educators I meet, Kristen taught herself most of what she knows, and she continues to learn constantly. The Upper School lab spaces were previously occupied by other departments (Art, languages, technology), and were revamped two years ago to be agile, flexible, and collaborative learning spaces for fabricating, making, and tinkering. Architects designed the spaces and Kristen’s colleagues (including Director of Technology, Justin Curtis) made choices for location, mobility, permanence, storage, and use of equipment.

Writeable surfaces abound:

Long flat storage areas and counters for work space (with tools mounted on the walls above) were important features to consider:

There is a HUGE Shopbot (under a fascinating ventilation system) and lots of other fun machines including a vacuum sealer, drill press, lathe, table saw, multiple 3D printers, laser printer, etching machine, and more. Larger items are often on wheels to make them mobile and allow for them to be easily moved out of the way and under counters when not in use:

The space also allows for many areas to showcase past and current projects:

As for classroom learning strategies, I learned a few from Kristen including why there was a container of mini ducks. I sometimes encourage students to “ask three then me” in order to get them to ask each other before continually seeking answers from just me. The duck takes it a step further; rather than ask the teacher or a classmate a question, they are encouraged to “ask the duck” — this made me laugh out loud.

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I also learned that Kristen is a fan of Rocketbook Wave and the Rocketbook app. I’d only ever seen the Kickstarter campaign for the notebook that can be reused by heating it up in a microwave, whereupon the ink disappears and the papers are again free to be written upon. Kristen makes photocopies of Rocketbook pages, hands them out to students to write on, and then uses the free Rocketbook app to snap a pic of each page. Thus, she gathers and organizes PDFs of student notes into their class’s section (using the symbols at the bottom of the page and the QR code). From the Roketbook app’s download page:

The Rocketbook app works in conjunction with the Rocketbook Notebook. Rocketbook allows people to enjoy the pleasure of writing in a traditional paper and pen notebook, while digitizing all notes and sending them to the cloud, using your smartphone.

Kristen told me she’ll be offering a PD workshop for teachers this summer. Stay tuned!

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Photos from a magical #MakerDay at @mouse_org! #STEAM #STEM #MakerEd #KidsCanCode

Mouse is an which organization strives to “empower all students to create with technology to solve real problems and make meaningful change in our world. Additionally, they are “committed to creating more diversity in STEM and opening opportunities for students from underserved communities across the country.” (via their website)

I was lucky enough to attend Maker Day on November 19th — these Maker Days happen twice a year and are a family-friendly celebration of creativity, problem solving, problem finding, prototyping, and making open to middle and high school students.

Maker Day gives you twice the time as our regular Maker Night to spend creating alongside professionals. More time so you can dig deep into coding, 3D design, or crafting something to take home. It’s a great experience to get your hands dirty with technology for an afternoon and get creative. A perfect day trip for a tech club, Maker Day will feature activities from content on create.mouse.org and more.

At the event, there were many different stations of activities peppered around their space. Upon entering, one could assemble and decorate a Google Cardboard VR headset.img_0635

Another station encouraged attendees to construct a DIY Operation game out of cardboard, tin foil, LED light, wire, and a coin cell battery.

I spend a lot of time at an activity chatting with Deren Gruler of Teknikio. She and some volunteers helped attendees create a light-up superhero cuff that could test for conductivity — if you close the circuit with an object and the LED lights up, then the objective is conductive!

There were additional stations set up to explore wind power, coding, MakeyMakey video games, Arduino circuits, breadboarding, and more.

I also spent some time reading the inspiring words and Mouse mission statements printed on the walls…

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