This is 'Iolani School

This is 'Iolani School

Friday, December 15, 2017

Before The End Of The Year...Here's Some Other Stuff We've Made

This semester has flown by and as we look back, a lot has gone on in the Lab. Here are a few of the projects done over the last month or so. 

This second grader wanted to 3D print a trophy. After a quick into to Tinkercad (we use to use 123D Design but Autodesk stopped supporting it and phased it out while pushing Tinkercad and Fusion360...but that might be a post for next semester). After drawing out what he wanted to make, this young maker took to the computer. After a week or two of working at recess and at home (one of the nice things about Tinkercad is that it's web-based so kids can log into our Lab account and work from any computer) he was ready to print.

Afterschool circuit class continued to solder. Here was the final soldering LED strip, wires, circuit board and battery connector. The next step if for them to design something to put this into...some students want to make lamps while others want to put it on a sign.

The construction wall mural project got students from a variety of grades involved. As part of the science curriculum that deals with the local water shed, including native and endangered species, students were challenged to research and create animals for the mural. 1st graders, drew their creature, teachers traced them on Inkscape so the laser could cut them out. Our 4th graders drew theirs but they were charged with tracing their own drawing. After all the creatures were cut out of wood, the students painted them. We had so many animals, that we enlisted other grades to help paint. Students, parents and teachers gave up a Saturday to paint the mural and over a few weeks, the creatures were put up. We'll have more about this project after the first of the year.

We offer mini-lessons to different grade levels to introduce making topics or tools to the students. In first grade, one of the lessons is on attaching things. After we show students to make tabs, slots, flanges, L-Braces, and brass fasteners, they are given a variety of materials and are asked to start attaching things together.

 Since we are talking about 1st grade, here is the 1st grade Christmas ornament project. After talking about different shapes in class, the students head over to the Computer Lab and use KidPix to create a closed shape Christmas ornament. The picture is printed out and take back to class. Then we come in with an iPad that has the app Vectorize It (by Autodesk...however, they haven't offered this app in about 2 years...which is a shame because it's great). Using the app, students take a picture of their KidPix drawing, crop it, vectorize it, and email it (to our laser cutter). In the Lab, we arrange all the ornaments and laser cut them.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

After-School Circuit Class: Soldering and Circuit Boards

Over the past few weeks, our after-school circuit class has been learning how to solder wire and how to solder components on a circuit boards. After a few sessions of practicing (soldering just wires together and soldering old resistors to old circuit boards), it was time to take their skills to a real, circuit board.

This was not going to be just a standard, cookie cutter board...they were going to make their own. We started by creating a schematic drawing of a simple circuit comprised of a battery, LED, switch and resistor. Next they were given the real parts and asked to make a working circuit on a bread board.

Next we taught them to use Fritzing, an online circuit board designing program. After that, it was time to mill their boards.

Using the OtherMill and single sided PCB blanks, we created their personalized circuit board. Because of time, students watched as we set-up the program, imported their files, arranged them on the PCB and started milling.

Once the boards were finished (it took longer than our class period so it was the next session when...) the students sat down to solder.

Creating the circuit board with the OtherMill

Ready to solder

Parts tubs ready to go

It's "Solder Time"!

As the first group was working, we realized that, while more practice is always needed, the design of the circuit board could be adjusted to make the soldering a little more successful. As you can see, the distance between the soldering points and the rest of the board is very close...this caused our still novice solderers to have issues with their circuit working.

So with the next batch of boards, we are milling away a little more of the copper. This will allow the students a little more space to makes mistakes as they fine tune their soldering skills.

Friday, October 13, 2017

What's Else Has Been Going On In The Lab?

Lots of stuff goes on in the Lab everyday. Recently, we had a number of new projects/assignments created. Here are a few:

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.

They always sign in

Everyone smiles at the laser cutter

Fresh off the machine

Finished creations

In religion class, our 6th graders making props skits they have to put on. They made use of all the digital fabrication options including the 3D printers, laser cutter and the vinyl cutter.

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.