In the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s, a number of furniture makers, craftsman and artisans reacted against the massive mechanization and industrialization of (their) modern world to create a type of furniture called Arts & Crafts, Craftsman or Mission style furniture. Gustav Stickley in New York, the Roycroft community and others created furniture, which to my eyes, can’t be beat by anything that’s ready-to-assemble.
While I find my heart and soul called by Mr. Morris’s chair, other artisans were getting in on the action. With so much intellectual rebellion running about, some energy had to flow into pottery, right? I’m not a big pot fan (yep, that reads differently than it did in my head) but I do appreciate the art tiles. I just had to find a way to make one without using actual clay. I don’t have the sculpting skills, tools, a kiln or materials for such work.
So how did I do it? I used some of the latest and most innovative prototyping methods known to man.
Continue reading “This Week in the Shop: Ceramic 3-D Printing via Shapeways.com”
In support of my Mathematics and Technology and Computer Applications: CAD courses, I’ve offered a number of Sketch Up projects for students to complete. In Mathematics and Technology, my students created eukaryotic animal cells while in Computer Applications the students created square, triangle and hexagon – based tessellations and designs. Two resources I used heavily in the design and implementation of these projects: Google Sketch Up 8 Hands – On: Student Coursework and the GeomeTrick series both by Bonnie Roskes of http://www.3dvinci.net. Ms. Roskes projects have a real wow factor in the classroom. My students would shout my name to show off their work, … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Sketch Up Projects at the Middle School Level
The textbook is now digital but students still encounter it as they always have: wisdom to be received, perhaps highlighted, annotated, and memorized, but not created, constructed, or made sense of. Teachers still interact with students as they always have. The platform doesn’t offer them any new insights into the ways their students think about mathematics. As far as I can tell, the iBook doesn’t establish any new link between the student and teacher, or strengthen any old ones. — Dan Meyer, On iBooks 2 and iBooks Author In my classroom, I have very few textbooks. They have their place … Continue reading On Kindles, iPads, SmartBoards, Prometheans and Apps in the Classroom
You’ve been to a science fair, right? Tri-fold boards, volcanoes and blue ribbons. This month, my colleagues and I shepherded the “STEM Fair” into existence. The STEM Fair is a showcase for any Science, Technology, Engineering or Math project our students produced over the course of a month. My school produced forty to fifty blog posts, hundreds of digital pictures, a dozen two minute videos, thirty presentations and about ten individual physical showcases. I have a room filled with Japanese art-chemistry, rocket cars, rockets of various propulsion methods, a small robot, a Lego-Branded robot, paper gliders, a seesaw and more. … Continue reading Technology in Education: The Digital STEM Fair
After my quick reflections on the Tea Box project and my computer science course, I’d like to take a spin over to my most successful, challenging and rewarding class(es) this semester. I had the opportunity to teach 2 CAD courses with a great, energetic group of young men (and one woman). As the year progressed my classes split into three distinct groups – a developmentally young (think elementary-school-age brains) group, a progressing (middle-school-age brains) and a developmentally-ready (high school or middle school) group.
My CAD course description:
In this course, students will create and build physical and digital representations of the world around them. Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development will frame the instruction to the appropriate cognitive developmental level for each student. Computer Assisted Design is the use of computers and specialized software to create digital objects; be they animations, skyscrapers or the interiors of engines. Students will use Google Sketch Up 8 to re-create and re-imagine the world around them, beginning with a floor-plan of their bedroom and ending with a self-directed project.
What made this course successful? My answer after the jump.
Continue reading “Course Curriculum: Computer Applications:CAD”
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.
Continue reading “This Week in the Classroom: Computer Science & Electronics”
This fall, I will be attending the 3D CAD, Plasma Cutter, Arduino & Welding I&II courses @ TX/RX Labs of Houston, TX. TX/RX is a non-profit hackerspace – a place for machine and electronic-centric project work -which recently opened on Commerce St. I’ve been by on their Friday night Open Houses and the crowd seems friendly, diverse and intensely interested in their “thing” – whatever project has lit up their world that day. It’s a crowd where a teacher like me gets to be a kid again. The group is relatively new, having just picked up their non-profit status. I’ve … Continue reading Community Watch: TX/RX Labs
This year, I’ve been working closely with another colleague to create, a project-based CAD course. When I was presented with the challenge, I dove in head first. This week I have been presenting various perspective/drawing challenges to my students in an effort to assess their current capabilities. I’ve been enjoying a curriculum challenge, and after two days, I am pleased by the success and interest posed by my students. The room has been split into three themed stations: a perspective/assessment area, a guided-step project area and a digital manipulative lab. The assessment area has produced some fascinating results. When confronted … Continue reading The Google Sketch Up Lab
This week, my colleague shanghaied one of my chalkboards for a weather station. While the chalkboard & wind unit may not seem like much,
The hand-held reader really catches a teacher’s eye.
This type of scientific information begs to be utilized in the classroom. Daily, nay, hourly temperatures can be recorded and used to find the mean temp, daily temp, range…mode, slope, points on a graph, equations for the daily rise in the temperature, regression lines, etc. Science classes can study weather patterns, climate change or stasis, the water cycle. A physics classroom can turn wind speed readings into kilowatt-hours. Those figures can be amended into proposals for the installation of a wind turbine.
Wait…that’s my collegue put that device up there.
An English teacher can illuminate the difference between lab reports, short stories and literary analysis. The data gathered in science class, analyzed in Math, interpreted and presented in English, can finally be acted upon in Social Studies. In fact, this little weather station can become the technological center-point of a curriculum which could, theoretically be scaled between schools all over right? A revolution? Continue reading “Weather Stations, Web 2.0 Tools and John Merrow”
Took over our conference room to work through some design challenges today. My students used Google SketchUp to start creating jewelry boxes, art car vehicles and bookshelves. During the Art Car class, I led the group building a 3D model on the big (like 50-60″ screen) TV. Computers+big screen TV+3d modeling software+we are building a car = interested, motivated students. Or so I thought. I turn around, two students are asleep. I have only three kids on the dang project. Terrible numbers. Mendoza line terrible. I quickly got out the sketchbooks and pencils. More success, more interaction. So, what I … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Computers Ain’t Everything