We are open at recess everyday for our 2nd through 6th grade students to come in and "make" stuff. Since the beginning of school, this new group of 2nd graders have had a big interest in making things. One group consists of about 8 girls who want to draw pictures, put them on wood with the laser cutter and then color them. So over the course of a couple of recess sessions, we walk them step by step through process.
The first grade teachers asked if we could do a lesson on light and reflection to put some STEM into their language arts unit. First we talked about different properties of light and how it interacts with other materials. Then they were off with flashlights, to look at reflection, refraction, absorption, as well as if the material was opaque, translucent or transparent. Next they were given mirrors and attribute blocks and asked to "play" around. It was amazing the concepts that were reinforced and discovered.
First grade also has made use of the Lab space to work with half a class at a time on a classroom making extension activity. Part of their curriculum deals with balances. Students experiment in there classroom for a few days. The teachers then bring them to the Lab and have them create a balanced mobile out of various materials.
Our two after-school classes, Circuits and Making have continued to be very creative. The making kids have been learning how to use both the laser cutter and the 3D printer. We use Inkscape to design in 2D and Tinkercad for 3D design. With the circuit class, we have continued to look at different types of kinds of circuits and how you can use them. Making MakeyMakey game controllers was a big hit as was creating with Little Bits.
At 'Iolani, students can enter the lower school at either kindergarten or 6th grade. Another thing we have done this year is offer mini-lessons to all our new 6th grade students. The classroom teachers sign up for a Lab session and these students for a "crash course" in laser cutting because this is the technology that most of these kids haven't used but will be using for various projects this year. So in a 90min period, we take these small groups (10-11 students) through the basics of Inkscape and get them to make a name tag.