Tag Archives: The Brearley School

Love this Lenape toy project at @BrearleyNYC launched by @LuigiTeaching and the Class II Teaching Team. #MakerEd #elemaker #elemedchat #STEAM #PBLchat

Last week, Class II completed their Lenape “buzzer” toy project. Luigi Cicala (@LuigiTeaching) is an amazing artist, teacher, and Director of the CoLab, The Brearley School’s soon to be launched makerspace. In anticipation of having an actual physical space dedicated to making, fabricating, and project based learning, Luigi has been developing creative, integrated, and thoughtful STEAM-rich projects with faculty across multiple grades and disciplines. With this in mind, Luigi ideated a variety of projects to correlate with Class II’s study of The Lenape. This year’s chosen project was to create a “buzzer” toy — I totally remember making these as a kid with yarn threaded through plastic buttons (or drilling holes in a wooden disk). Now that we’re well into the 21st Century, these students used an iPad to design the button shape that were 3D-printed for them.


Students talked about shapes and symmetry while creating paper designs with Luigi and their classroom teachers, Rebecca Chynsky (@rchynsky) and Betsy Warren. Additionally, girls could use paper divided into quadrants to sketch a design to gain a sense of symmetry and test for it by folding along the lines (or axes). While the concept of symmetry might not be readily understandable, folding a shape and seeing if it overlaps fully (either up/down or side/side) is a fun exercise. See examples of Marina Jackson’s folded sketches in the photo below.img_0012.jpg

In computer class with Virginia Avetisian (@vavetisedu) and Marina Jackson, students used Doodle3D on the iPads to sketch a shape with their fingers, give it some height, and include two cylindrical holes (like a button). These were exported as STL files and printed using our Ultimaker Original+ printers which were built from kits a few years ago by upper school students. I helped with the actual printing and spent many hours over the next few weeks ensuring each student’s digital sketch was transformed into a plastic “buzzer” for their enjoyment.


Here’s a video of one of our “buzzer” toy prototypes in action!

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Making cardboard, #FunkeyFunkey, and @Scratch slot machines starring @brearleynyc’s class mascots for our upcoming Casino Night. #MakerEd #STEAM

Before Thursday’s Upper School performance of Guys and Dolls at The Brearley School, there will be a Supper Club Casino Night for the community with games led by faculty. I offered to help, though I was worried about being responsible for learning and facilitating Poker or Blackjack, so I offered to make some slot machines.

I figured there must be a bunch of programs shared by the awesome Scratch-user community, and they didn’t disappoint. I remixed this project generously offered by Jcg127: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/23156262/#player

I removed the Yay! and Jackpot! procedures and swapped in nine new costumes representing Brearley’s class mascots (camel, penguin, tiger, owl, duck, buffalo, elephant, bear) and the official school mascot (beaver).  I then found some cardboard in the recycle bin and built some quick yet sturdy casings for three separate laptops.

I knew I’d use some of our FunkeyFunkey boards for the project and was originally considering a physical lever with a tilt sensor. I imagined having a hinge or printing 3D pieces (similar to Makedo parts) to hold a long cardboard tube in place (I have a stockpile of cardboard tubes from wrapping paper rolls). A rubber-band stretched somewhere would allow the lever to pull forward yet return upright for its home position, and the tilt sensor inside the tube would recognize when the arm was lowered and “spin” the rollers in my slot machine.

However, I had four hours today to generate the Scratch program and mock up the cardboard cases, so I used our FunkeyFunkey arcade buttons instead. They are build like a nut and bolt, and they sandwich cardboard beautifully. Easy peasy! Also, Stephen Lewis (creator of the FunkeyFunkey) designed his sensors (tilt, touch, button, infrared, etc.) to work even without being grounded, so they are so much easier to incorporate into projects.

If I had more time, I’d definitely make my slot machines more attractive. These definitely look homemade. 🙂 Here’s a tutorial for a DIY slot machine I belatedly found: http://www.instructables.com/id/HOW-TO-MAKE-SLOT-MACHINE-DIY/

 

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Zen and the art of 3D printer maintenance redux. @BrearleyNYC #MakerEd #STEAM

Over the years, I’ve learned a fair amount about maintaining (or coddling) a few different models of 3D printers: Makerbot (Cupcake, 2, 2x, 5th Gen), Printrbot (Simple Metal), Bits from Bytes (3D Touch and Cube), and Ultimaker (2+, Go, and Original+). Like the book about maintaining motorcycles, you can either buy a top of the line printer with awesome customer support and expect it to work amazingly, or you can get to know one intimately because you built it from a kit or from scratch and/or you found yourself elbow deep in a machine trying to troubleshoot with the help of Google, user forums, willpower, and luck. Desktop 3D printers are not “plug and play” — I have almost never been able to simply turn on and use a 3D printer without any frustrations.

I’ve spent the past two weeks in close proximity with two Ultimaker Original+ kit printers (built by Brearley students a few years ago). For better or worse, I removed and rebuilt the feeder assembly on both printers, and I’m still not satisfied with the feeder on the one sitting on my desk right now. I feel like I need to either remodel the students’ designs, change the Ultimaker’s settings, buy newer filament, and/or only print one thing at a time, as having the extruder “retract” during the print is causing problems with an already problematic feeder. I think I’ve narrowed it down to possibly needing a new ball bearing on the feeder clamp. When I notice filament isn’t advancing properly, I manually apply force to guide it from the spool to the opening of the feeder. It’s beyond tedious, and I’m sure the fumes (even from PLA) are making me stoopider.

I’ve taken to making tick marks on the filament with a permanent marker and anxiously staring to see if the filament advances properly. Essentially, I’ve learnt that the trick is to continually glare at it. As soon as I convince myself it’s working and walk away to attend to something else (or gloat), it fails. Every. Single. Time. I’m officially naming this one Christine.

But, oh, the satisfaction when it works…

(​I wrote a similarly titled post about 3D printer nerd-ery in 2013 here: https://karenblumberg.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/zen3dtouch/)

 

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