King of the Hill 2016

We recently had our annual King of the Hill competition with our 12th grade Physics students! Each year our Physics students build mousetrap cars as they begin to study forces and motion.  The first round of cars don’t work very well; the students don’t really know yet what it takes to make a durable and…

Raising Every Project’s Ceiling

I think we all like making for different reasons. For some of us it might be driving a curriculum, and for others it might be just the thrill of getting messy, or exploring new technologies. Looking back on my year with the Creativity Lab, I think I’ve probably gone through cycles of areas that really excited me. I’m definitely a cardboard…

Toy Making: Part 1

For several weeks, our first graders have been exploring concepts like “balance” and “spinning” by building toys. Their making combined experimentation, observation, engineering design, and design thinking. And it went something like this: Building a Balancing Crayfish Calling it a “crayfish” is sorta killing me, being from Louisiana (down there, it’s a “crawfish”), but I guess out here…

Scribblers

Scribble machines are quick projects that combine arts and crafts with the basics of circuitry. They’re incredibly open-ended, making them a great exercise in creative design and persistence. The idea is to build a robot that draws as it moves, and we typically don’t give students any further instruction after this prompt. This usually creates some frustration, but also…

Wall Climbing Whatsits

One of the Creativity Lab’s top priorities is to get our community comfortable with the idea of making things, and perhaps more importantly, to learn to be persistent when things get tough and to learn from mistakes made along the way, whatever the project. Take for example the challenges 2nd graders have faced trying to…

Building and Space Design

Our middle school students have teamed up with Hamilton + Aitken Architects to collaborate on a five-week-long project that has two major goals: first and foremost, we want to introduce our young designers to the concepts and practices that make up building and space design; secondly, students are working to generate ideas and input for…