This is 'Iolani School

This is 'Iolani School

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

4th Grade Science & the FabLab

4th-6th grade Lower School Science teacher Jami Muranaka and the FabLab got together to help the students learn about data collection. At the beginning of the year, Ms. Muranaka teaches her 4th grade students about the scientific method and how to collect data. This year, the FabLab created the car chaise using "BoxMaker". We laser cut the car "body" with numerous axle holes and cut various size wheels.

In science class, the students set up their cars with the same axle placement and wheel size. Then they tested them by letting them roll down a ramp and then measured the distance they traveled. They did 3 trials each, with different amounts of weights...first, 0grams; second, 10grams; and third, 20grams. The students then found the average distance traveled for their car, next they found the average distance traveled for the class. The final step is to graph the results.

After all this is done (which was about a week), students are able to experiment with their cars by changing the axle placement, wheel size and weight of the car, to see which configuration will travel farthest.

1st Grade Optical Engineers-Part 1

During the beginning part of the first semester, all 1st graders will be coming to the FabLab to learn to be Optical Engineers. Using a unit from the "Engineering is Elementary" program from the Science Museum of Boston, they will be learning about the characteristics & properties of different materials and how those materials interact with light. This program covers all aspects of S.T.E.M (science, technology, engineering and math), is hands-on, project based and allows the children to work in cooperative groups.

The Lab was reconfigured for these lessons, so that each small group had a table/work space, as well as giving us a group meeting area, highlighted with our word wall.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Lab is up and running...

Last night (September 18th), was our Lower School Open House and the FabLab was up and running. The pictures below are of what things looked like before the parents come to visit. It's a big change from a month ago...August 18th was my 1st day on the job.

This semester I am teaching all the 1st graders using two units from Engineering is Elementary (a program the Science Museum of Boston) and I am assisting the 4th grade science teacher during their science time. I am also running the FabLab and working with the other classroom teachers and students on any projects that need use of the Lab. Next semester, I will be teaching the kindergarteners two EiE units and have the rest of the time to work with all the classroom teachers and students in the Lab.

Now, more about the 'Iolani Lower School FabLab...

We are still a work in progress...but we've come a long way in a month. Thanks to all those who have supported this program...from the faculty at the Sullivan Center (if you haven't checked out this place, go to, to the office staff in the Lower School. I want to especially thank our administrators, Dr. Timothy Cottrell, Head of School, Dr. Karen Neitzel, Assoc. Head of School/Dean of Studies, Larry Kahn, Chief Information Officer, Linda Look, Interim Dean of Lower School, and Zachary Linnert, assistant Dean of Lower School for all their support and encouragement. I am very honored to be working at 'Iolani and be part of this program.

Here's a look around the Lab:

Epilog Mini 60 Watt  24x12 inch Laser Cutter

MakerBot Digitizer, Sense Hand-held 3D scanner, &
Silhouette Cameo Vinyl cutter.

HP LaserJet 500 Color Printer/Scanner/Fax/Copier & 
4 Printrbot Assembled Simple Metal 3D printers

Besides the above machines, we have 10 MaKeyMaKeys, 8 Sparkfun RedBoards, 10 Mac Book Airs (which we use to run the machines...except for the Laser Cutter which is using a Dell Optiplex 9020). All the students at the school have iPads so we can run 123D Design and Scratch Jr. The 3D printers and the laser cutter have their own email account to make transferring of files easy...we also us Apple's AirDrop. 

The tables around the outside of the room are stationary (that's where the 3D printers, laser cutter and 3D scanners are). The other tables are on rollers and we can reconfigure the room  however we like. The rolling "Z" boards were made in the Sullivan Center lab...2 are double sided white boards and the other is a peg board. The walls around the room are painted with dry erase marker paint and we have a rug if we want to sit on the floor in a group.

All this wouldn't have been possible without the tireless effort of Blake Tsuzaki. Blake is an 'alumni who went from Kindergarten through 12th grade at 'Iolani and now is a sophomore at Santa Clara University. This young man was in the lab every day, setting up, programing, debugging, testing, etc. I am extremely grateful to him for his commitment to 'Iolani School and for all he has done this summer to get Lower School FabLab up and running.

Blake Tsuzaki
'Iolani Class of 2013