Category Archives: m@k3r

The Riveter Lab …. a Community Resouce

When the chair people for the eighth grade dinner dance came to me asking if I could help them troubleshoot their idea for creating a gallery of student images – I immediately thought of some seventh grade students and our Riveter Lab tools which I knew would be up to the task.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The problem was given to seventh grade students who took the challenge!  They added to the challenge some cardboard, their creativity, our laser cutter, and a little spray paint … and VOILA!  An beautiful effect – walking through gorgeous photos floating in the air – was created.

Of course the chairs in their kindness recognized the hard work …

20160509_131453

5th Grade m@k3r Night!

On Thursday March 31st the @RiveterLab hosted the 5th grade class and their parents as they launched into their final trimester of science.  This trimester will see the girls exploring Design & Engineering heavily so what better way to launch than a m@k3r event!

Students and parents had the opportunity to build with TinkeringLabs Electric Motors Catalyst Kits, explore our collection of Little Bits, Build and compete throwing “PowerUp” paper airplanes, and play the video games they created in Scratch using controls they also designed using MakeyMakey.  It was a really fun night of learning for students and parents alike!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some Metrics:
40 of 44 girls attended our event and these students were accompanied by 29 Moms, 21 Dads, 17 Siblings, 1 Uncle, 2 Grandparents and 2 Babysitter/Nannies … that’s a total of 112 people that attended our Maker Event! 


An event like this doesn’t just happen; the tireless work of Mr. Wilsey, Ms. Brisson, Mr. Lengel, and the entire Building & Grounds team needs be recognized – as well as the commitment of so many parents to come out and support our program.  Thank you all.

1st Grade – Neighborhood and Community Project

Preparing for Grade 5 STEM Night

The grade 5 students are excited about STEM night in a couple of weeks. In programming class, we have been coding Scratch games and building Makey Makey controllers. Our controllers are constructed using various materials such as playdough, pennies, wire, water, and more. Here is a preview of the girls busy at work. Hope to see you at STEM Night! It’s on March 31 @ 5pm!

IMG_2308 IMG_2306 IMG_2303

Repurposing in Digital Arts

For the past few weeks, students in Digital Arts have been exploring the theme of “repurposing.” They are taking old products, such as computers, cordless phones, jeans, and shirts, and giving them new life. Some students are focusing on textiles, creating bags, totes, pencil cases, and stuffed animals. Other students are taking a more industrial route and disassembling electronics to see what they can create.IMG_1429

The girls are gaining an understanding of what it takes to make the products we use every day. They are learning that a computer is really hard to disassemble! And they are discovering how useful a zipper from an old jacket can be.

To help make their new textile products more interesting, students are using our vinyl cutter and heat press to create custom prints. They start by designing a vinyl cutout using one color. Later, they challenge themselves to create vinyl prints using multiple colors, all cut separately and carefully placed together in the heat press to create a multi-color design.

The Riveter Lab has lots of projects going on and the students are having a great time. This week in Digital Arts, we had a 90-minute class and I asked students to clean up 5 minutes before the end of class. One student said, “I thought this was a double block class!” We were having so much fun with our projects that we had completely lost track of time.

 

IMG_1427IMG_1443

 

STEMming the Gender Gap: A Partner’s Perspective

It’s been a whole month since our STEMming the Gender Gap day and I am
61regularly stopped by students, teachers and parents to hear how much they enjoyed learning and interacting with the dynamic women of San Francisco’s tech industry.  It seems it wasn’t just one way … this week this blog post was shared with me from one of our dynamic partners in this endeavor:

by Sanskriti Ayyar

The Future Designers of the Hamlin School

What’s the best way to get rid of the horrible fish smell in the school cafeteria? A Scent Sucker Robot, of course! The Scent Sucker was just one of the groundbreaking innovations brainstormed at an all-day seminar called “What is Design?” by the fifteen 6th grade students we invited from San Francisco’s Hamlin Girls’ School to Spring Studio to learn about problem solving using design principles.

At the start of the day, we had no idea what to expect in terms of the students’ interest in design principles or how readily they’d be able to apply them. Would they be bored? Would the notion of design principles feel relevant to kids? Would they be able to accept feedback from one another? It turns out, there was no reason to worry –  these girls were engaged, capable, supportive and uninhibited. They breezed through our design thinking lecture and instructive exercises, leveling-up their design chops quicker than their more reserved adult counterparts have in the past. Next, they did some ingenious prototyping and, finally, wowed us with their design innovation presentations.

An app for promoting diversity in school lunches

                           Choose your own lunch

When I was younger, problems were tackled by “experts” and once “solved,” would remain so…for a long time. In the twelve years that these girls have been alive, the cycle of technology-driven innovation has changed the nature of problem-solving dramatically. Products can always be refined and improved. These girls are growing up in a world where continuous version updates are the norm. It is also a world in which good design is no longer just a concept people associate with German cars. With so much of our lives being anchored in ever-improving UX functionality, young people realize intuitively that design isn’t just about how something looks. They understand that, as Steve Jobs said, “Design is how it works.”

The design thinking process involves a lot of imagination, play and storytelling, so it’s not surprising that kids would take to it so well. Likewise with prototyping. We struggle to get adults to let go and have fun, resisting the idea that their concepts have to be perfect, etc., but kids are used to being beginners, so creating off-the-cuff comes more naturally to them. They combined ideas, acted out all their possible solutions, and had fun with the process, whether they were “failing” or “succeeding” at any given moment. Ultimately, the creative power of design facilitated some truly high-level problem-solving that left everyone feeling inspired.

A robot that gets rid of bad lunchroom scents.

                         The Scent Sucker Robot

Here are some of the things we learned from our time together:

First of all, we learned that blue-sky thinking and focus are not at odds. While we were worried that the creative fun and high-energy collaboration we were encouraging would devolve into a food fight, that never happened. In fact, we learned that allowing the girls to be creative actually kept them focused and on task. In the face of tables spread with a feast of pom poms, pipe cleaners and modeling clay, the Hamlin students showed nothing but motivation and enthusiasm to produce a creative solution.

While prototyping solutions for creating a better cafeteria experience, the students kept asking each other, “What if___?” They naturally asked each other edge-case questions, making sure they weren’t leaving any holes in their solutions to problems like waiting in long lines, dirty tables, and not enough food variety. We noticed that allowing them to lead with creative thinking seemed to generate a natural desire to be comprehensive and balance their ideas with time management, costs, and other logical considerations. They were invigorated by their creative ideas, and didn’t want them jeopardized by bad planning. This inspired them to make sure their prototypes were not only creative, but actually viable.

Lunch meat your way

                               Lunch meat your way

We were particularly impressed by the girls’ perfect understanding of empathy, an important consideration of good design. They realized that in designing an app, they’d need to create different app states for their respective audiences. They asked one another “What would students need?” and then compared that to the needs of both parents and teachers. Encouraging them to be open-minded and think creatively to solve their design problem, actually engendered an atmosphere of empathy, where it was easy for them to relate to the needs of their audiences. What’s more, the girls demonstrated their ability to compromise. In considering the content of the different app states they’d be creating, one group voiced concerns regarding privacy! Initially, the app was designed so that parents could see what their kids were eating at school, however some students felt uncomfortable with this feature. They weren’t so sure they wanted to volunteer information regarding their lunch choices to their parents. In the end, they decided to keep students’ food choices private, settling on a bit less functionality for the parent interface, rather than including functionality that would deter students from using the app, demonstrating their understanding of opposing needs and the art of compromise.

No more long lines

                             No more long lunch lines

We were happy to learn that the girls were natural collaborators and didn’t compete with each other. Many designers struggle with needing to outdo one another, fixating on the perfect concept, which of course is a big roadblock to innovation. The girls revelled in the idea that since they were all working together, they could relax, knowing that no one person would be responsible for solving the entire design problem. When asked, most of the girls said that the best part of design thinking was working in collaboration.

Overall we were thrilled that these 6th graders were so keen to use design thinking to tackle and solve the challenges of the day. Not only did they embrace the creative problem-solving process effortlessly, they did so with unabashed enthusiasm. Thanks to the lovely students of The Hamlin school, the future of design just got brighter.

The Table Cleaner Deluxe

                          The Table Cleaner Deluxe

First Grade Inventors in the Riveter Lab!

Last week, the first grade girls came up to the Riveter Lab to IMG_9607learn with littleBits, kits consisting of electronic building blocks that snap together with magnets to create instant circuits. They started with the blue bits (power), a power supply (battery), and a simple LED light. After a little investigation, the girls were able to connect all of the pieces to light up the light. We then added a few more green bits (output) for the girls to explore. In no time, we saw LEDs, buzzers, and motors lighting up, making sounds, and moving at every table. Finally, we added the pink bits (input) to send messages to the green bits. By using the buttons and dimmers, the girls were able to control the intensity of the lights and volume of the buzzers.

IMG_9600More important than the creation of the circuits, the girls were implementing their design thinking skills. They examined the pieces, explored the different ways the pieces fit together, designed their circuits, tested their results, and then made modifications as needed. They worked together with their partners to troubleshoot and problem solve, building on their communication skills. We can’t wait to see what else the first graders create!IMG_9602

post written by C. Windell

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 12/17/2015

CS_supporter_school-BIG

digital_citizenship-certified_school-medAs we roll into the holiday season and prepare to spend quality time with our family’s, it’s really easy for media and technology to overstay their welcome.  Here are a few tips to help you and your family over the holiday vacation.

  • Create screen-free zones. Keep certain areas (bedrooms, for example) and times (such as dinner) off-limits to phones, tablets, TVs, and other devices so they’re reserved for rest and family time.
  • Cut down on multitasking during homework.  Little distractions can add up to big misses on the algebra test.
  • Set limits. Everyone needs to disengage from their devices — adults included. But without someone to draw the line, tweens and teens may be tempted to text late into the night or play video games ’til they look like zombies. Establish appropriate boundaries and make sure you enforce them.

If you value the work we do at Common Sense, please take a moment to let us know by supporting us this holiday season.  We rely on your support to keep all of our great content, programs, curriculums, research and ratings & reviews free and available to everyone. 

Take a moment to read about the 6 Resolutions Every Family With Tweens and Teens Should Make in 2016. and we look forward to being here during your holiday vacation and of course when you return.

Happy Holidays

 

What’s in your closet?

IMG_2966As an urban school, space is consistently a “challenge” at Hamlin.  Of course challenges offer innovative and new ways of looking at things – and no school anywhere has infinite space.

Consider a simple storage closet in Ms. Andrews’ fourth grade class (Hamlin community login required).

IMG_2970Where a number of “grown-ups” over the past decade saw (very essential) classroom storage, the fourth grade students saw more; Their “outside the closet thinking” saw opportunity.

The space was re-organized and we added some Green Screens – from the @RiveterLab and … ACTION! … production begins!

Next step – we’ll be working on some creative soundproofing solutions as we go forward to expand from video to podcast production.

Some of the first work to come out of the currently unnamed studio were thank you videos to the staff at the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park, the class’s location for STEMming the Gender Gap.

Great job girls – and yes you very obviously CAN!

 

#STEMGenderGap

See what our girls are doing around San Francisco today!
learn more about the day here


Thanks to all of our community partners in this innovative endeavor!

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 3.24.58 PM

where Hamlin girls are today!


 

 

output_WcQKxI