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: