Our 1st #3dprinting Project of 2014-15: Native American Hopes and Dreams stamps

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Fourth grade has launched into an incredible project for the 1st quarter of the year.  I’m so excited to be a small part of the project in the library.  In social studies, they are studying Native Americans.  Their standards include:

SS4H1 The student will describe how early Native American cultures developed in
North America.
a. Locate where Native Americans settled with emphasis on the Arctic (Inuit),
Northwest (Kwakiutl), Plateau (Nez Perce), Southwest (Hopi), Plains (Pawnee),
and Southeast (Seminole).
b. Describe how Native Americans used their environment to obtain food, clothing,
and shelter.

During this study, they are exploring the folklore of Native Americans through several folktales.  The brought them to the idea of a grade level dream catcher.  The beginning of the school year is a time full of hope.  It’s a time where students, teachers, and families set goals for what they hope to accomplish throughout the year, and many spend time writing about hopes and dreams.  The teachers in collaboration with the art teacher decided to design a project to capture the hopes of dreams of students in the form of meaningful symbols on a dream catcher.

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Working together, students will creative a massive dream catcher.  In art, they are designing symbols that represent their hopes for the year.  They are designing shapes that can be drawn in one continuous line.

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With me, students are using an iPad app called Cubify Draw which is designed by 3D Systems.  The app is very simple to use.  With your finger or a stylus, you draw one continuous line to create pretty much anything you can dream up.  You can adjust the thickness of the line and then touch “make 3d”.  The shape automatically turns 3D and you can adjust the height and thickness.  Once your design is ready, you can email the file to a central location to prep for 3D printing.

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For the lesson in the library, I gave a very brief intro to the app and shared some tips that I discovered through my own tinkering.  Big open swirls seem to print better than lines that are close together.  The shortest height and thickest line tends to print best.

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Mrs. Foretich, our art teacher, passed out the paper designs students made in art and gave students another opportunity to make adjustments to their designs and practice tracing the design with their finger.  I passed out iPads and the tinkering began.  Most students made several designs until they got the design just the way they wanted it.  Mrs. Foretich and I walked around and conferenced with students about adjustments they might need to make to their designs as well as helped troubleshoot problems.  Students emailed their designs to me with their teacher name and first name in the subject line.

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We are doing this lesson with the entire 4th grade, so that makes for roughly 60 designs.  Each design has to be imported into Makerware, reduced in size, and exported as a file for our Makerbot Replicator.  These files are being placed onto SD cards.  To speed up the file prep progress I used multiple computers and multiple SD cards.

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Then, the printing began.  Print after print is now running in the library.  It took about a day and half to print the first class batch.  Now I have 2 more to go.  Each student print is being placed in a ziploc bag with the student and teacher name on the bag for easy distribution.

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The next step will be for students to create a vessel out of clay in art.  They will use their 3d stamp to press designs into their vessel.  All of the vessels will hang from  the grade level dream catcher, including vessels designed by all of the teachers involved in the project.  This will serve as a symbol for the year to represent our connectedness and our common goal of working together to achieve many hopes and dreams this school year.  Our vessels and dream catcher will hold these safe throughout the year.

Thank you Mrs. Foretich and the 4th grade team for an incredible project for our students that allows them to dream, tinker, create, and share.

 

Letting Kindergarten Imagination Soar with Blokify and Makerbot

blokify (4)Mrs. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class just started a collaborative project with the art teacher and the media center.  Her class has been very inquisitive about structures and sculptures and what it’s like to be inside of those structures.  For example, they’ve looked closely at the Statue of Liberty and they are fascinated with the idea of going inside and looking out from the crown.  In art, Mrs. Foretich is introducing maquette sculpture which is a small scale model of a rough draft or unfinished work.  It allows them to test how different shapes are put together without making a full sculpture.

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These 2 ideas started coming together in a project.  Mrs. Hocking started exploring Minecraft at home and thinking about how worlds and structures were created in the virtual world.  Then she started wondering how this might flow into the discussions her class was already having about imagining and going inside of structures.  This is when we started talking about Blokify as a tool for putting together blocks to create a larger structure.

Mrs. Kelly, the art teacher, and I all met to brainstorm.  Students will eventually build a larger sculpture out of shapes in art.  Their art standard is:

GPS: Demonstrates that shapes can be put together to make new shapes or forms.

Their essential question is:

How do artists build Sculptures?

We decided that we would start our journey with Blokify.  Blokify is a free iPad app that allows students to put a variety of blocks together to build pretty much anything and then 3D print that shape.  The files can be emailed for download into your own software for 3D printing conversion.

We decided that Blokify would be the kickoff to this larger project.  In the library, Mrs. Foretich, our art teacher, showed students some examples of maquettes and talked about how artists might make a rough draft of a larger sculpture to test some things out before making a larger sculpture.  Then, we showed students some images from Blokify’s facebook page to give students the idea that you don’t just have to make a box in Blokify.

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After that, students went straight to iPads and jumped in.  We didn’t spend a lot of time “teaching” them how to use the app.  Instead, we let them explore.  We also didn’t tell them what to build because we wanted them to have permission to imagine and dream as they built.  Mrs. Foretch and I walked around to tables and showed students some tips as they worked.  For example, if you hold your finger on a block it will disappear.  If you pinch the screen, you can zoom in and out.

Two of my enrichment cluster students came to support students as they worked, too.  Monica, 5th grader, and Grant, 3rd grader, were naturals at nudging Kindergarten students along without doing the work for them.  We were almost able to have a helper at every table because of them.  I was so glad that their teachers allowed them to come and share their expertise with Kindergarten.

Some students started really being strategic about where their blocks went in their structures while others liked tapping all over the screen and seeing how it turned out.  We did question a bit if we didn’t give student enough guidance, but we ultimately decided that they really needed this time to explore.  If our prints don’t quite turn out like they hoped, then it will be a learning experience about how they might rethink their own approach to designing.

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As always, there were some wonderful moments that happened.  One moment was when  a student who we’ve all been trying to find the right learning method was thoroughly engaged.  He was so proud of the work he did, and he showed us a way to connect with him as a learner.  I  hope that this new discovery will lead to other projects and learning experiences for him in his classroom.

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After students left, I had a group of 5th grade helpers email me all of the files from the iPads.  I put each file into Makerware, resized it, and saved it onto an SD card for printing.  We will print our designs after spring break.

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Once designs are printed, Mrs. Hocking wants students to put their structures on a piece of paper and draw the rest of the setting around the structure.  From there, students will think about the inside of their structure as well as the surroundings and begin to tell a story about their creations.  We aren’t sure yet how that piece will be captured, but I’m excited about the possibility.

In art, Mrs. Foretich will continue to explore this standard by expanding what students are building.

 

 

Kinetic Art Sculptures Using Our Makerbot Replicator 2

kinetic sculpturesOur art teacher, art student teacher, and I have been having a blast with 3rd graders designing kinetic sculptures.  About 2 weeks ago, students came to the library during art to learn about Tinkercad and how artists use technology to create.  Before this lesson, they watched a Tinkercad tutorial.  In small groups, they designed an object for 3D printing.  Whatever they designed would become one piece of a larger kinetic sculpture in art.  You can read more about that experience here.  

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Once students finished their design, I went into each account and tried to double check that the designs were all pushed together into one piece art.  Then, I downloaded the .stl file into Makerware.  In Makerware, I resized the object to a smaller size to speed up the printing process.  I also added a raft (removeable base) and supports to each print.  I’ve found that in Tinkercad these 2 steps are needed because what you see on the computer screen might actually be misleading.  The raft and supports help the 3D print be more stable.  All files were loaded onto the SD card prior to students arriving.

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Ms. Foretich, art teacher, created a printing schedule with about 60-90 minutes between prints.  During each time frame, students came to the library and chose their filament color.  Then, I shared some information about the 3D printer since it was the 1st 3D print for most students.  Finally, we pulled up the file on the SD card and a student pressed the M.  Students sat in chairs or huddled around the printer to watch.  After watching the print for a few minutes, students went back to their regular day while the print finished.  I kept an eye on each print during and between my lessons.

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Each printing experience was different and you really never know what is going to happen when you press that red M.  Many times the print is a big success, but sometimes it’s not.  We’ve had some failures, which are very important.  We save every failed print we have and put it in a box.  It reminds us that we aren’t perfect, but it also serves as an instructional tool to talk to students about what didn’t work.  We learn from our failures and a box full of failure speaks volumes to all of the students who are starting their 3D printing process.

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When a print fails, we go back into the design and look at what needs to happen.  Sometimes it’s as simple as pushing some pieces together more than they were.  However, sometimes it’s a big flaw that cause students to just start over.  It certainly slows the process down, but it is important for them to revisit their work, revise, and try again.

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It’s always fun to see which students are motivated by the concept of 3D printing.  Sometimes the students make surprising choices like giving up their recess time to spend that time watching the 3D printer create.  Hearing their “wows” and “cools” is inspiring.

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Students are continuing to print their pieces this week and next.  In the meantime, they are continuing to work on their kinetic sculptures in art knowing that their 3D printed object will also be a part of their design.

 

3rd Grade Folktales Visual Interpretation Project

folktales (1)Back in October, our 3rd graders spent time studying the illustrations of Jerry Pinkney.  They paid close attention to how Pinkney told the story through his illustrations in preparation for a field trip to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to see the exhibit Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney.  You can read more about that here and here.

Over the past few weeks in art, students have been working with the text of a folktale to create their own visual interpretations of the text.  Mrs. Foretich, the art teacher, spent a lot of time exploring and researching the vocabulary within the stories with the students so that they would be able to paint an accurate interpretation.  Each class chose and different folktale and each student in the class was assigned a piece of text from the story.

folktales (4)Once the paintings were ready, Mrs. Foretich organized them in the order of the story and gave them to me.  Students came in small groups to record the text for each illustration on the iPad.  We used iMovie to put all of the clips together.

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This past week, third grade held a parent breakfast where families were able to come to a viewing of the final products.  They were also uploaded to Youtube for families who were unable to attend.

You can enjoy their visual interpretations below.  It was fun to watch the students take on an artists eye and think like a published illustrator thinks.  Often, illustrators receive the text to a story with no other feedback.  It is up to them to take these words and translate them into illustration.  This project gave students a better understanding of the fun and the challenges of this process.

 

3rd Grade Kinetic Sculptures with Tinkercad, Makerbot, Collaboration, and Imagination

Tinker Ramsey (12)As soon as we received our new Makerbot Replicator, Rita Foretich, our art teacher, began brainstorming ideas with me about how this tool could support the standards that she teaches our students in art.  Rita is a great collaborator.  She weaves in standards from students’ classroom curriculum into her art standards.  Often, these projects involve the media center as well.

Currently, Rita and her student teacher are exploring kinetic sculptures with students.  In art, they have spent time tinkering with a variety of materials that they might use to make a larger, movable sculpture.

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Tinkering in art

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A piece of these sculptures that students will create will be designed using Tinkercad and printed on our Makerbot Replicator 3D printer.  We scheduled a session in the library to work on the Tinkercad design.  Working in the media center allowed us to have plenty of room to spread out as well as maximize adult support.  During each lesson, there were 3-4 adults (media specialist, art teacher, student teacher, and tech integration) to support students as they had questions.  Of course, we encourage students to support one another, but it is nice to have adults supporting students as well with problem solving and collaborating.  Also, to maximize our time in the media center, students did some flipped learning by watching this Tinkercad tutorial in advance at the closing of their last time in art.

Here’s what our time in the media center looked like:

1.  Students met on the carpet for a quick reminder of our plan for the day.  Mrs. Foretich gave them the standards we would work on:  Creating sculpture using a variety of forms and working in teams.  She also showed them how artists use technology to create their art as well as some images from the 3Dprintshow site.

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A quick intro to how artists use technology to create

2.  Students were organized into 5 collaborative groups.  Each group had a Lenovo Thinkpad computer with a mouse.  Tinkercad was already pulled up on the computer and each group had a username and password to use.

Tinker Ramsey (9)3.  Students brainstormed their concept for a piece to add to their kinetic sculpture and took turns controlling the mouse.  Adults guided students through problem solving and working together.  As students had ideas for their designs, adults helped them think through their ideas and take risks to try to get their idea onto the drawing board.

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Students quickly learned how to work together to problem solve

4.  Students named their file before leaving.

5.  I took student files and saved them as an STL file, imported those files into Makerware, and saved the file for 3D printing on the Makerbot.

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We will repeat this process with all three 3rd grade classes.  Students will continue to work on the rest of their kinetic sculptures in art.  Mrs. Fortetich will create a schedule with me in the media center for students to come and 3D print their designs.  We want each student to have the experience of pressing the red M on the 3D printer and watching their design magically appear on the build platform.  Although all students probably won’t be able to stay from start to finish during the printing process, they will at least activate the print and see the beginnings.

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As always, I was amazed by what students figured out in such a short time.  One group really wanted to put holes in the top of the smoke stacks on a boat they were making.  They tried several different things and never once got frustrated.  I was fortunate enough to be with them at that moment of exploration and encouraged them to keep trying.  After several attempts, they figured out how to put one cylinder inside another and make the inside cylinder a hole.  It looks great in Tinkercad, so we’ll see how it translates to 3D printing.  These same types of conversations were happening in every group.

Deep in thought

Deep in thought

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Ship with holes in the smoke stack

I also loved that we did not tell students what they had to create.  The only guideline was that students work together to create something for their larger kinetic sculpture.  Every group created something totally different from a block filled with words to a barn to a ship.

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As usual, we are always crunched for time in school.  This was a great first pass at using Tinkercad with an entire grade level.  I’m hopeful that in the future we will figure out ways to increase the amount of time that students get to spend on their designs.

2nd Grade Monster Stories

Brink Every year our 2nd graders write monster stories leading up to the end of October and a PACT time called Monster Mash where families come into the classrooms to engage in what students are learning.

The project has many hands involved.  In art, Ms. Foretich works with the students to create their own monsters.  She then takes digital photographs or scans of those monsters and prints out mini versions of each student’s monster.

In class, students create scenes where their monster might live, where they might terrorize, or where they might go on an adventure.  They use their monster and scene to write a story.  Through several writing workshops, students develop their pieces, revise/edit, and publish.

IMG_1251In the media center, students come to me to film their monster story with our iPads.  Some students come with one scene and one monster, while others come with multiple scenes, multiple monsters, and pages and pages of story.  This year, we created a huge recording schedule that was quite ambitious.  Over almost 2 weeks, I would have 3 students every 15 minutes during a 90 minute time frame.  During this 15 minute window, we had to film the movie, upload it to an iMac, check the volume, add a title slide, and export the movie to a flash drive for Youtube uploading at a later time.  It took quite a while to get a flow going, but by the final few days, we were getting really efficient in our 15 minute window.  With a few students at the beginning, we made an opening slide with footsteps and a creaking door.  This same slide was used for every student, so we just had to change the title and author each time.  I set this up on 2 iMacs so that we could double up on uploads.  Some students filmed by themselves by using the iPad on a tripod.  Other students were filmed by Ms. Maher, a gifted teacher, or Mrs. McGee, a grad assistant.  If enough students were available and ready, students filmed for each other.  My role was to walk students through the steps of creating the video.  With every student, I talked through what we were doing on the screen.  Students approved the volume on their videos, added their title, and stayed with me through the export process.  I uploaded the video to Youtube after they left.

Teachers showed the videos during the Monster Mash PACT time.  To make sharing and viewing the videos easy, the teachers took all of the links to student videos and put them on a Thinglink.  To make these, we put all of the student monsters on a table, took a picture of them, uploaded the picture to thinglink, and attached each student video to his/her monster.  Now, when parents ask how to get to the videos, it is very easy to just share the thinglink with them.

RamseyerNext year, I want to think about how to give students even more ownership in the process.  Because of the tight time frame, it was hard to let students do all of the work of filming and uploading, but I know there has to be another way.  I’m going to reflect on that and suggest some improvement for next year.  For now, we can enjoy the amazing creations of these students in art, the classroom, and the media center.

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Wright

Yawn 

Studying Illustrations with Jerry Pinkey

Pinkey art (8)Third grade is beginning a folktale project that is a collaboration between classroom teachers, the art teacher, and the media center.  This week, we kicked the project off with a lesson in the media center to explore the artwork of Jerry Pinkney, who writes and illustrates many folktales.

Students came to the library during art.  The purpose of this time was to get familiar with Pinkney’s illustrations before students take a field trip to the High Museum of Art  in Atlanta to see an exhibit of Jerry Pinkney’s art.  We wanted students to think about 2 questions.

  • What clues does the illustrator give us about the setting of the story?
  • What clues does the illustrator give us about what the characters are doing in the story?

We started with this video of Jerry Pinkney discussing The Lion and the Mouse.

After the video, I asked the students how Jerry Pinkney started working on the book and what he realized once he made those first steps.  This took our conversation to focus on the importance of illustrations and how they can tell the whole story or how they can work with the text to tell the story.

Next, we looked at this slideshare that showed Caldecott honor and medal winners along with the criteria used to decide the winners.

The purpose of this part was to highlight the many ways you can look at an illustration and how it interacts with the text or tells the story.  Jerry Pinkney has received several Caldecott Honor Awards along with the Caldecott Medal.

Pinkey art (10)Finally, we modeled how someone might study one illustration in a book very carefully and consider our 2 focusing questions.  I used We Give Books to display the book Big Red Lollipop.  Students in each class noticed things such as the red cross as a symbol for a hospital, an envelope on the side of a building to show a post office, the number of buildings close together to show a town, etc.  They also noticed how the character’s hair was blowing in the wind and how her leg was lifted high to show that she was running.  They noticed how she was carrying a letter and smiling to indicate that she was probably going home to show her family something she was excited about.

For the last part of the lesson, students split into groups of 4-5 students.  Each group received 4-5 books by Jerry Pinkney to examine.  Their job was to study the illustrations using the 2 questions just like we did in our model illustration.  As groups talked, the art teacher, art student teacher, and I walked around and chatted with students about what they saw in the illustrations.  We then asked groups to choose one illustration that they wanted to show to another group and discuss.  They used iPads to take a photograph of the illustration.  When they shared with another group, they could zoom in and out of the illustration on the iPads to show the fine details.

In art, students will now have a lesson on museum etiquette  where they will practice the skills it will take to visit a fine art museum.

On the trip to the High on October 23, we will tweet our observations using the hashtag #barrowbuddies.

Next steps will include:

  • Learning elements of folktales.
  • Reading multiple folktales and using a Google form to track the most common elements.
  • Choosing a folktale to read in class without seeing the illustrations.
  • In Art, developing illustrations for that folktale.
  • In the media center, put the illustrations and folktale version together with technology.
  • Share the new creation with the world

We can’t wait to see how this project develops and how Jerry Pinkney’s art inspires what the students create.