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The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is a dynamic space that brings together the Windward community to exchange ideas, learn together, and grow. Through the collective talents of faculty and administrators who are teachers, librarians, curriculum specialists, and instructional technology professionals, the CTL enriches teaching, learning, and thinking at Windward.

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Making at Windward: Joan and Rich's Blog

New Tools

Last year we talked a lot about 3D printing  and wearable electronics. Activities in those areas continue.  For example, the middle school musical will have some pretty cool costume and prop enhancements that we will report on in a future post.

However, around here we are always changing it up, and maker technologies are no exception. Windward now has a laser cutter and three Othermills. We have been helping faculty leads Dorothy Lee and Cindy Beals figure out how to integrate these new resources into teaching. If you want to get trained on one of the new tools, let them know.

There is now an Epilog Helix laser cutter installed in room 810. A laser cutter works by using a laser beam to cut through material. It’s often said to be useful for making things that are “two and a half dimensional.” In other words, you can cut out sheets of material that you can then put together in various interesting ways. The laser is computer-controlled; you need to make a file in Illustrator or similar software, which is then cut out. Here is the laser cutter set up to cut fabric and some fabric results:












If you want to go a little more into the third dimension, the software package 123D Make allows you to take the same kind of file you start with for 3D printing and create objects several ways. This octopus below was downloaded from the Thingiverse site  (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:7900), run through 123D Make, and then assembled from pieces the software creates.

 Alternatively 123D Make can create a file that will cover a surface, like the dodecahedron from Thingiverse  ( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:198) below. You can also use this software to create patterns for fabric to cover an object, allowing for seams.


 Finally, instead of cutting, laser cutters can etch designs onto materials, for example onto acrylic to make awards or art pieces.

If that’s not enough for you, down in the Robotics Lab there are now three Othermills. These are small CNC (computer numerically controlled) mills, that can create circuit boards or small milled objects by shaving off material with tiny computer-controlled drill bits.  

Othermills can be controlled by software intended to create circuit boards, or by programs that can use files intended for 3D printers. They are complementary to the 3D printers and laser cutter in that they can mill out shapes in 3D and can cut some materials that cannot be used in 3D printing. Windward is one of the first K-12 schools to have the devices, so we are working closely with the manufacturer to see wha the best applications will be. Most users seem to be using them to create prototype circuit boards, which may be an interesting capability to allow some  advanced student electronics or robotics projects.

Rounding out the new materials, there also electronic and craft components in Room 810 available for classes to use, as well as tools like a vinyl cutter (useful for making stickers and things like cut-out vinyl letters).

Speaking of resources, we are experimenting with a new way of making ourselves available to the Windward community. There’s a scheduling form you can use to request an appointment with us – check it out the details at http://goo.gl/forms/L3ct7IXKFp or talk to us when we’re around. Let’s see what kind of cool stuff the Windward community can learn to make!

-Joan Horvath is a recovering rocket scientist, and Rich “Whosawhatsis” Cameron is a 3D printing and electronics hacker. Together they have founded Nonscriptum LLC, a consultancy to help educators and scientists use low-cost prototyping technologies. Their latest book from Apress is “3D Printing With Matter Control.” 



Making at Windward: Joan and Rich's Blog

Eighth-Grade 3D Printed Projects Make an Impact Far and Wide

Back in May the eighth-grade physics students were given a tough job: create models of playground equipment that would, in the words of their design brief, “encourage curiousity and deepen understanding of the world around them.” As has already been noted in a news release they had the opportunity to use a variety of different materials, including 3D printing. The variety of solutions was amazing – students made elaborate climbing equipment, seesaws, slides, merry-go-rounds of all descriptions and even a rock climbing wall. 
These 3D printed models took on a life of their own this summer from Orange County to San Francisco. First, in June, we (Joan and Rich) chaired a session at San Francisco State for the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The session was entitled “3D Printing, Arduinos and other Open Source Tech in STEAM Learning.” Windward projects featured heavily in our lead-in survey presentation, followed by a talk given by Regina Rubio about the 3D printed coral project we reported on in our blog back in the spring. After the session, we couldn’t resist showing off one of the playground pieces when we found some flowers just the right scale.

Later that same week, we were invited by Benetech, a nonprofit that finds technology solutions for the visually impaired, to a workshop at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation.  There, we met for two days on standardsa nad best practices for 3D printed models to teach visually impaired students STEM subjects.  We took many of hte playground models with us and for two days blind and sighted participants alike played with them.  We are still in touch with many participants, and hope to coordinate a program in which students create STEM learning models for visually-impaired kids their own age.  (Of course, this means the signed kids have to learn the concepts well, too!)

Closer to home, the Discovery Cube museums in Orange County and Los Angeles invited us to create maker tech displays for their Inventor’s Week celebrations this summer.

Cindy Beals joined us in Los Angeles;

and Geraldine Loveless in Orange County.


Joan gave a talk both places featuring the student work. Many educators, parents and kids stopped by to compare notes and be inspired.

One of the most exciting places this work is featured, though, is right here at Windward. We have created a 3D Printing Design Rules presentation that uses these projects as its examples, so that this year’s students can start off with ideas and examples to go beyond with their own projects. After all, makers know that you can take a few pieces can come together to make an awesome whole!


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Making at Windward: Joan and Rich's Blog

Windward 3D Prints at Cambridge Science Festival

Every year the city of Cambridge, MA puts on a big Science Festival during the week after the Boston Marathon. The whole city puts on cool exhibits, lectures and demonstrations showcasing interesting science. Here’s a picture of Rich and our Bukito 3D printer under one of the banners in the streets along Massachusetts Avenue (the street that runs through MIT and Harvard): 

This year, Windward had an exhibit as part of the Festival. We were given a spot April 22nd at the MIT Museum to display our 3D printed coral project (as described earlier at http://ctl.windwardschool.org/home/making-at-windward-joan-and-richs-blog.html). We had a table right in the main exhibit hall. There was a lot of interest and often a line of people waiting to get in. 

We had a steady stream of visitors excited to hear about the possibility of using 3D printed coral in aquariums to help avoid cutting so much away from coral reefs. We shared an exhibit area with different oceanic researchers from institutions like MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

The festival let us meet some new people, forge some relationships for future ocean science projects here at Windward and gave us some more great ideas for projects.

Got a project you would like to try out with 3D printing, robots, sensors or other technology? Joan and Rich are both at Windward on Wednesdays and Joan is here one other day a week. Drop by room 425 to see what’s possible.

-Joan Horvath is a recovering rocket scientist, and Rich “Whosawhatsis” Cameron is a 3D printing and electronics hacker. Together they have founded Nonscriptum LLC, a consultancy to help educators and scientists use low-cost prototyping technologies. Their new book, “The New Shop Class: Getting Started with 3D Printing, Arduino, and Wearable Tech,” is being released by Apress on May 13: http://www.apress.com/9781484209059 



Windward News -- Week 29