I’ve started a new project with Judy Dyer, in 4th grade. Her students have just finished reading their book A Long Way from Chicago, and she has them doing a radio-style production of it. They’ve had to pick scenes, decide on dialog to use, and write narrator parts. Then they have to read expressively, and keep up while others are reading in order to hit their cues. I bought a cheap USB mic that looks a bit old-fashioned (the Blue Snowball) to record them with, and added some good radio-sounding EQ and some scratches in the background. Our first run-through went very well, except that my office, with it’s equipment fans and the 3D printers, is very noisy. Today is the real production, and I think the final product is going to be something the kids are really proud of.
The kids have been going crazy with 3D printing! While we still have no formal program for 3D design, the kids are bringing in designs every day to be printed. In fact, I was getting so backlogged that I bought a second printer. I now have a FlashForge Creator Pro, and a knock-off (made by the same manufacturer, I think), that I got at Microcenter for a bit more than half the price of the first.
The kids early prints centered around making their names, but they’ve quickly moved on to more interesting designs. In order to help encourage them, I started posting challenges on my door, such as a box with a lid, or a chess piece. Take a look at the bishop a student made in the picture below. I had to check to make sure he wasn’t trying to pull one over on me! My plan is to eventually increase the difficulty of the challenges, but it is a difficult balance because I still them accessible to the new designers.
I also have some teachers starting to incorporate design in their lessons. Ric White, one of our outstanding 7th grade teachers, has his students learning proportions by making scale models of real objects. I have the first batch printing now. I think it will be very interesting to see how the models match up to the original objects!