In the Ulmer Family Light Lab, teachers continued to develop interdisciplinary connections to classroom content through innovative projects. Now in its second full year, the Light Lab Studios were busy, productive, and beautifully messy each day. Individual homerooms utilized the spaces for projects specific to their classroom curriculum. Grade partners, book buddies, and Middle and Upper School helpers also joined our Lower School students to work on multi-age collaborations.
Just a few of the many projects from this amazing year:
- Fourth Grade State Festival projects ranged from digital broadcasts to interactive circuit-controlled maps. 4A scaled the United States map in Adobe Illustrator to laser cut each state for the base of a hand puppet in their Scrambled States of America performance. 4B applied geometry concepts to the design of laser cut personal records during fall project.
- Fifth graders used Scratch programming to create interactive math games and built unique green energy systems to light model houses, power fountains, and build sustainable model cars. They dabbled in TinkerCad to explore 3D modelling and printing. Fifth grade art classes used Adobe Illustrator to design and laser cut templates to fold into their scarves for Shibori dyeing.
Our tools, materials, and physical spaces all evolved this year as we began to observe patterns of use and identified needs. The Recording Room, a sound-proof space in the Media and Computing Studio, was updated to add a counter and stools for a comfortable place to record custom sounds for coding projects and sound effects during film editing. This summer, built-in workspaces with storage will be added to the Fabrication Studio showcasing hand tools and making them much more accessible. The electrical system in the Solarium was upgraded in order to prepare for a new aquaponic system that will enhance our existing programming around food growth. (We currently have aeroponic towers and hydroponic buckets. This new aquaponic system allows us to add fish which provide nutrients to the plants. So exciting!)
While our Maker Studios provide collaborative community spaces for our students during the school day, they also serve our faculty and staff. Throughout the year, teachers had the opportunity to explore new techniques and technology through a series of workshops in the Light Lab. We were also thrilled to share our unique space with visitors from other independent schools, public schools, and local organizations.
In the fall, the Ulmer Family Light Lab served as the host site for the Digital Promise and Ed Camp's collaborative launch. Teachers from the tri-state area joined us for a day celebrating Maker Ed with informative and exploratory workshops.
For the second year in a row, we welcomed a summer cohort of Chinese teachers building a new school based in the Constructivist Learning Model. They joined me in the Light Lab to explore our robotics library and experiment with creative ways to connect math content like percentage, place value, and patterns to programming.
Mighty Maker Camp will soon begin on August 13 when we welcome young makers coming into Grades 1-5. They will have full access to all materials and tools in the Light Lab and the opportunity to construct their own projects. Blog post and pictures coming in late August!