This is 'Iolani School

This is 'Iolani School

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2nd Grade Scratch Jr Stories

A few weeks ago, our 2nd grade classes came to the Lab for a 60 minute mini-lesson on using Scratch Jr. We went over the basics and then had the students create a few screens with interaction, communication, movement and sound.

After the initial lesson, their teachers incorporated Scratch Jr into their language arts program. After learning about parts of a story and different story elements, the students were challenged to take one of their writing pieces and put it on Scratch Jr as a 4 part (beginning, middle, middle, end) project.

Once their story was "programmed" they were shared with fellow students who peer critiqued them on certain elements like; did the story make sense; did the graphics go along with the story; did the project flow (both as a story and a visual/interactive project)?

Following the feedback, students went back into the program and began to make changes to "fix" the story. This process will go on a couple of times until the students feel their story is the best it can be.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

First Grade Christmas Ornaments

It's that time of year again for Christmas Ornaments. Our first graders used the computer program Kidpix to make their design. Then, to the printer they went to make a "hardcopy" of their drawing. Next came the iPad and a program to vectorize their creation. A quick email to the laser cutter computer and after a little formatting, another batch of ornaments ready.

This project also lead to an introduction to symmetry as well as talking about shapes.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Hour of Code 2016 - Wayfinding

For Hawaii, the idea of "wayfinding" is very's how these islands were discovered and settled many, many years ago. This years Hour of Code is highlighting the new Disney movie Moana, the story of a young Polynesian girl named Moana and the demi-god Maui finding their way in the Pacific.

This year we again did a physical computing activity for our lower school students to help them learn about coding. They were also given the chance to do the Moana-themed Hour of Code activity.

We made a 12 x 12 grid (each square 3x3 feet) on the lawn outside our computer lab. We put cones in some of the grids...some with pictures of honu (turtles) others with the dreaded Kakamora (coconut pirates from the movie). Students could not go into these squares. We also made instructional signs and placed them face-down in a few of the squares. These signs said things like, "Move forward one space.", "Start Over.", "Do 2 jumping jacks."

Students were paired up, one taking the role of the robot and the other, the programmer. The robot stood on a spot at the side of the grid and it was their goal to reach an "island" on the other side...the programers job was to give the robot directions to get across the grid without going into a square with a cone or a square with another robot (if they did, they had to start over). If they stepped in a square with a sign, the programer had to read it and tell the robot what to do. Robots can't talk and programers can't touch robots...they have to walk along side the robots, give them the "code". To know which island to direct their robot to, programmers picked a card, numbered between 1-6.

Once the pair completed the maze, the robot picked a coin our of the island bucket. Then the students returned to their starting side, where they switched job...the new programer had to direct the new robot to a different island for that robot to win his coin. For the older students (grade 4-6) we blindfolded the robots.

After everyone had gone and gotten a coin, we sat down and talked about the experience, about coding terminology, and how/why coding is important. This was done either during the classes computer class, recess or another time of the classroom teachers choice.

This years coins (made on our laser cutter)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

First Grade Creates Creatures

The first grade has been studying habitats and the creatures that live there. As part of this unit, the students got into groups, and following a design process, came up with a creature. Each creature needed to meet certain requirements like having one moving part, having a way to eat, move, and protect itself in it's habitat. 

So following our lesson on ways to attach things, it was time to create the creatures. Students "shopped" at home for recyclable materials that they wanted to use for their creature.

Students with their design plan notes

Time to start making

Students are encouraged to reviewing their plans and their creations during the making time

Some of the "almost" finished creatures

This year's unit was a little different then last years. Last year, the first graders only studied the rainforest habitat and had to make "new" creatures that would live in the rainforest. This year, they looked at a variety of habitats (deserts, oceans, streams, forests, etc.) and had to decide on a creature that would live in the habitat of their choosing. 

When all the creatures are finished, we'll post the pictures. The students are also using the digital portfolio app "Seesaw" to document their journey through this project.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

First Graders Practice 3D Attachment Techniques

Our first grade classes are getting ready to create creatures as part of their habitat unit. But before they begin, we wanted to introduce them to different attachment techniques they could use when they start to build. To help them out, one of our first grade teachers created this poster:

Because she keeps it in her class, I created this one (making use of the laser cutter) to keep in the Lab.

After a quick introduction to each technique, the students got into pairs, grabbed their materials and started to attach.

One of the groups got the idea to make their own poster. After others saw it, they wanted to do the same thing.

Next week they start to imagine and plan their creatures. After that, they collect recyclables and we'll start creating. Check back after Thanksgiving break to see how they are doing.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

FabLearn 2016 - Three Weeks Later My Mind Is Clear

I spent October 14-15-16 at Stanford University attending FabLearn 2016. This was my second year and I plan on going back for number three. What is FabLearn...

"FabLearn is a network, research collaborative, and vision of learning for the 21st century. FabLearn disseminates ideas, best practices and resources to support an international community of educators, researchers and policy makers committed to integrating the principles of constructionist learning, popularly know as "making" into formal and informal K-12 education." FabLearn

FabLearn 2016 is their flagship conference which began in 2011 and has grown to include international FabLearn conferences in places like Brazil, Hong Kong and Finland.

This year the Keynote speakers were Leah Buechley (developer of LilyPad arduino, among other things), Edith Ackermann (who has done so many things I'm not sure where to start or what to leave out, but she's brilliant), Erica Rosenfeld Haverson and Richard Halverson (both UW-Madison and leaders in education). There were also a number of speakers and presenters covering a variety of topics as well as hands-on sessions.

Here are just a few thoughts I want to share, now that I have had time to go over my notes:

*Leah Buechley spoke on Inclusive Maker Education (STEM is everywhere). She talked about some side research she is doing on diversity in making. Looking at the cover of Make magazine over 10 years here are a few things she found:
       Out of 53 covers, there have been 45 people, 84% male, 16% female, not black person.
       Topics included electronics 73%, vehicles 44%, robots 37%, drones 15%, 3D printers 10% and            rockets 7%..."I found it interesting what's NOT on it," she said.
*She also quoted a study Make did of there demographic and found the median income was $106,000.

*There is a lack of inclusion and diversity in MAKE and STEM.

*Ackermann quotes Piaget, "Play is the answer to how anything new comes about."

*Ackermann asks, "How might we create a culture where being quiet, observant, thoughtful and contemplative strikes a balance with being a doer, entrepreneur, mover and shaker?"

*Erica and Richard Halverson spoke about how we need making everywhere for everyone. We need to answer the questions: What do we want our kids to learn? How do we want them to learn it? How do we spark learning? What do we currently have to do this?

*With so much technology in education; kids now having access to personal devices in and teachers are using technology to customize their teaching and learning.

If you want to see and hear a lot of went on at FabLearn, go to FabLearn 2016 and look at the recorded sessions from each day. They not only include the Keynotes, but other presentations by educators, researchers and students.

So how do we make "making" more inclusive? How do we get kids to take a personal interest in their education and their learning? How do we use technology to teach todays students to become the creators and leaders of the future?

We must continue to look for the answers...

Ignite Innovation - Call for Proposals

Are you doing something innovative with your students? Share it at Ignite Innovation on the campus of 'Iolani School, in Honolulu, Hawaii this February. We are now accepting proposals to share in a variety of conference strands. The deadline to submit is December 5th. Click the link below to get started.

If you just want to attend and be inspired, registration opens December 13th. Space is limited.

Ignite Innovation

Hope to see you at 'Iolani. Aloha!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Laser Etching A Pumpkin

I had seen posts other places about laser cutting and etching a pumpkin so I figured I'd give it a try on my lunch break. I was hoping to use our rotary attachment but the pumpkin I had was too big. So this first try is with a stationary one. All I did was raster this time...need to get a few more smaller ones and I'll try to vector cut them.

First I made a basic design on Inkscape. Then I found the flattest section I could and propped the pumpkin up. After setting "home" for the laser, I set the properties and we gave it a try.

We have an Epilog Mini 60Watt machine. I set it to raster with the following settings:
Speed 50, Power 100, DPI 600, Engrave direction - bottom up, Image dithering - Jarvis.
I had the laser raster the design 4 times to get the between 1-2mm deep.

Not bad for a first try.

A few days later, we tried 2 more pumpkins. For the smaller one we used the rotary tool (that spins the object while lasering...great for etching glass jars or "hydroflasks") a wavy effect but it's cool. Then tried a green "pumpkin". Not bad results: