We recently got half a roof put on the bike barn. The students fixed up fifteen bikes and laid out a roof in three long hours. Excellent work ethic, if not visuals. I’ll be getting out and fixing up the barn throughout the spring semester. I hope to add a waterproof holding bin & tool rack to it in the next service day.
The Fall 2011 semester came to an end last week. I’m taking stock of what-used-to-be (my previous semesters classes) and re-tooling, re-gearing and re-searching my way into new course-load.
I’d like to start with my Computer Science & Electronics course. I described this course as:
This course introduces computer programming to students with little or no prior programming or technology experience. Students will use Alice, 3D graphical computer language, to introduce basic computer science theory. Topics to be covered include program design and problem solving, Boolean operators, logic statements, loops and flowcharts. Unlike other languages, Alice lends itself to an exploration of thought, rather than an exercise in coding or mathematical ability. If time allows, the Python language will also be explored. In the electronics portion, students will explore basic electronic concepts of resistance, current and voltage. Students will learn to build, manipulate and understand basic circuits & operate the tools necessary to create these circuits. Students will identify basic parts, such as resistors, switches, wires and capacitors.
So, let’s go over the class and see how I did and what I will do better in the future.
This fall, I made an effort to produce a “high-quality” product – and by this I mean hardwoods, nice finishes, proper construction techniques and professional quality work. This effort resulted in the “Tea Box” project. I also tried to maximize the amount and quantity of hand tools used versus the necessity of power tools.
My son has very strong feelings about woodworking show hosts. “Herm” (Norm) is his favorite – he’s in love with power tools. Me? I prefer St. Roy.
In this episode, St. Roy discussed and built several toys from 18th century America. I was especially fascinated by the jig he uses to create small parts. I saw an opportunity to move the jig into the classroom, especially as I wanted to build small wooden sculptures made from patterns created in Google Sketch Up. I can’t say much about the project yet – somethings work, somethings don’t. It’s quickly running away from what I originally envisioned. Not in a bad way either – just different. The students start by making geometric patterns with blocks and polygons. Kind of like this:
Then the students turn these geometric patterns into a CAD rendition. I’ve set up the pattern blocks in a CAD file.
Either way, the jig is up – or rather, the jig works beautifully well.
You can see the entirety of the jig here. I use the jig upside-down on tables. The crossbar usually sits in a vise as in St. Roy’s show. The students are able to cut safely and securely with a coping saw. I’m going to get a lot of mileage out of these jigs.
I hope to post more as the project develops over the next two weeks. I’m also working on a semester review of the technology classes.
Make it safe & keep the rubber side down this weekend.