This is 'Iolani School

This is 'Iolani School

Monday, May 22, 2017

Looking forward to participating in this webshow...check it out if you have time 
(and the time is Australian Eastern Standard Time)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

More of Third Grade SEVs

The SEV project is coming to the next step which is painting. Students pick either silver, gold or copper colored spray paint and a few minutes of shaking, their SEVs are covered with a new "skin" and are set out to dry. 

While they are drying, students go to the bins on the "take-apart club" table (take-apart club meets twice a week during recess and students can take apart computers, printers, radios...whatever is on hand. All the parts, circuit boards, buttons, etc. are stored for future the SEVs). There they can pick between 3 and 6 different pieces that will be glued onto their SEV...of course these parts must be included on their design and meet a specific need.

When they are done, it's time to display them around the library and and science classroom.

But they are not done...time to add LEDs or MakeyMakeys/Scratch...check back soon for a new post.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Third Grade SEVs...More Pictures

The third grade SEV project continues in our Science classroom. As you can see, lots of great making is going on.

Here are some very clever ways our students came up with to attach wheels and axles to their vehicles so they can have a moving part.

The hot glue guns help make this build possible.

All stages of building are still going on as we come down to the last two making sessions.

Here are some almost finished SEVs and their blueprints.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Third Grade Space Exploration Vehicles Take Shape

In the 4th semester, our 3rd grade science class takes to the sky as they students learn all about space. One of the favorite projects is the creation of SEVs (Space Exploration Vehicles). Students research planets and have to design and create a SEV that will either land and explore the planet or circle above it and collect data. 

Each student must create a project sheet and a blueprint of their SEV, which has to be approved by "NASA" (our 3rd grade science teacher), before they can build. Building materials are recycled objects including plastic containers, laser cut wood remnants, and various other things collected from home. 

This is the first installment of the SEV project this year. It's always great to see where they start... We'll add pictures of their creations as the weeks go on. You'll be amazed at the final project.

First Grade Fairy Tale STEM Project

Every year, our first grade classes study fairy tales and finish the unit with a fairy tail festival. Parents are invited and they are able to share all that they have learned. This year, the teachers wanted to try to incorporate some STEM into the unit and they found this project. 

They read a play about Rumpelstiltskin and the Queen that shows the difference between having a growth mindset ("I can do it") vs a fixed mindset ("I can't do it"). Following the design process, the students work to create a musical instrument for Rumpelstiltskin. They collect ideas, create an action plan, test & modify the creation, and reflect. 

First version: rubber bands around a cup but the cup collapsed.

Redesigned version: made a box, reinforced it with paper towel rolls.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Upper School Design and Fabrication Class Builds for Lower School Classroom

'Iolani's Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership offers numerous classes for our Upper School students. A number of them are run out of the makerspace. One of these classes, Design and Fabrication, looks for real-world problems for the students to take on. This project came from the need in the Lower School to have standing desks. Check out this video to see the whole story.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Third Grade Mini-Society

Check out what our third graders have been up to this spring. A whole unit of study that includes social studies, math, entrepreneurship, making and more.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sixth Grade Studies the Medieval Times

Every year around this time, sixth grade student at 'Iolani School can be seen sword fighting, shooting arrows, dancing around the May Pole, launching catapults and engaging in activity that normally isn't done in this day and age. That's because it's time for the Medieval Faire. Over the past 6 weeks or so, the sixth grade curriculum is immersed in medieval culture, where teachers have created a themed unit that totally engages their students.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of making going on. For example, in religion class, students learn about psalms and are challenged to write their own, which will be posted up during the faire. In science, students are taught about variables and collecting data. Using a lot of math, groups of two students research, design and create prototype catapults out of cardboard. After testing their prototypes, they create a blueprint, complete with measurements. These blueprints are taken to the Lab where they are scanned and opened in Inkscape. From there students turn their drawings into a graphic file that is sent to the laser cutter and pieces are cut out of wood. These pieces are put together and the catapults are used to launch small projectiles at various angles, with different numbers of rubber bands. The data is collected and analyzed to see which designs and what angles work the best.

But it doesn't stop there. For the faire, each student takes on a specific role. They must research, design and make their own costume and booth, as well as the items they will need. The lab seems to have a revolving door as jesters 3D print heads for their staffs, archers laser cut doves and deer to shot at, and all types of artisans create signs to advertise their wares.

On the day of the faire the making continues as sixth grade students, teachers and parents turn the lawn into a medieval city. They have designed the layout for the tables, booths, May Pole, sword fighting arena, etc. By noon, you would think your were back in merry old England.

When noon rolled around, the faire came to life. Each student had to perform their role; royals, peasants, alchemists, blacksmiths, fortune tellers, knights, etc. You could ask each student about their job, life in medieval times or how society was organized and they could tell you.


Target holders

Deer and doves


 Jester staffs


Blacksmith tools



The amount of learning that happens during this unit is amazing. Students learn to use calipers in the Lab and have to use their knowledge of mathematics to change decimals to fractions and fractions to decimals. Others use CAD software for the first time and create objects that no longer exist. Students work together to problem solve and find solutions to a myriad of problems. By the end of the day, everyone is ready to get back to future, but not without becoming smarter from living a day in the past.