Our students were widely involved in putting on Seussical, The Musical. Middle School students were given the choice to perform or support the behind the scenes through various elective classes during their second trimester, what we call explorations. Some of those who decided to work on the behind scenes were able to design, 3-D print and craft all sorts of props in our Innovation Lab. Others used their artistic skills in the Art Room to create the artwork that served as backdrops during the performances and the cover of the program. Amazing examples of collaboration and creativity, and how we all came together as a community to put on the most colorful, animated show that we have ever created!
Our lower school students demonstrated their interest in science and invention skills during their after-school hours in the iLab. After studying Galileo’s theories, they decided to build a Galileo’s ramp. They were so proud of their creation that they shared their project and discoveries with the rest of the school in an all-school assembly. What a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge and celebrate community.
In science, our second graders completed their unit on Simple Machines with an Invention Convention in the iLab. They discovered that simple machines are part of bigger, more complex machines that make our work easier. The students designed, sketched and built their own inventions using recycled/scrap objects. They tested different ways to move loads more easily using less force. They shared them with their classmates and took them home. We have a lot of inventors in this group! The students also participated in a handy dandy gadget scavenger hunt, where they needed to identify the types of simple machines found in household items like scissors, can openers, nutcrackers, etc.
Parents, thanks for your help gathering materials and for the extra hands in the iLab!
The Half Moon Bay Review published an article about our seventh graders’ project in the Innovation Lab: Challenge within a chair’s construction: Educator looks at everyday objects in a different way. They prototyped four chairs out limited materials as part of their Explorations and the results were remarkable.
Sea Crest School students were recently challenged to think outside the box — outside the cardboard box, to be exact.
As part of a semester-long exploration class, aspiring makers were required to enhance an old office chair using nothing more than masking tape, cardboard and hot glue.
The lesson took place in the Innovation Lab, a maker-space where tinkering is not only encouraged, it is expected.
“During the summer, I saw a lot of old chairs in the hallway that were going to be thrown out,” said Patrick Neary, Innovation Lab manager at Sea Crest School. “There was a lot of cardboard that was also going to be thrown out. I thought maybe there was a way to upcycle both slightly and see what we could do with them.
“It occurred to me that the curved, rotating chair was a common thing, almost in contrast with these big square boxes,” he continued. “One of the things that I was concerned with was challenging the kids about their basic assumptions about things.”
Before the course, most students would look at the chair and disregard it as a utilitarian object. After completing the project, it was clear that the students would no longer take the art of sitting for granted.
“To get started, the kids had to think about how does this chair come about?” said Neary. “Once they re-examined this common object, they could start to reinvent it.”
Part of that process included deconstructing a few samples in order to gain a clear understanding of how the chair worked.
“Some of the students used power tools, like drills, to pull out the screws,” said Neary. “The students then had to figure out how many screws were used and why.”
Once the kids understood how the chair worked, they were challenged to improve upon the design. Neary created four teams. Students drew lots to determine who was in each group.
“It was random,” said Neary. “Some students liked the partners they were grouped with, others had never really talked before as partners.”
The newly created groups started sketching out their ideas as they began working to build a better chair.
Once the drawing was complete, the makers-in-the-making moved into the physical world of construction.
“The students experienced obstacles of different viewpoints and agendas that required that the students collaborate, negotiate and corporate,” said Neary.
The students worked hard on their final designs, pieces of cardboard that were held together with nothing more than masking tape and hot glue.
The groups then presented their projects to a panel of judges that assessed the projects on the basis of collaboration, the mindful use of the materials, the overall design aesthetic, and the cleanliness of the final construction.
There was also one more catch, the completed prototype had to support the weight of the intended user, whether a student or an adult.
The results were stunning to say the least. One group opted for a minimalistic design going heavy on the masking tape. The end product was a sleek chair sure to hold up under the average adult. Others were more creative, adding butterfly wings, cup holders, and slots for books.
Middle School students have been prototyping a standardized propulsion system for their origami rockets. Originally, students used lung power and plastic straws to launch the rockets, but they soon found there was too much variability in people’s lung capacity.
“We wanted to see if we could create a uniformly reliable way to propel the little rockets,” said Innovation Lab Manager Patrick Neary. “That way, the standardized propulsion would give us all a better idea about the aerodynamic properties of the individual origami techniques.”
To complete the project, students were given straws, recycled plastic bags, various sizes of plastic cups, masking tape, and (at a student’s suggestion) lemon juice and baking soda.
“At the outset, the students were pretty skeptical about how much they could actually accomplish with the basic materials that I provided,” said Mr. Neary. “However, just a few minutes into the class, all of the students were deeply engaged in figuring out how they could get their rockets to move. It was very gratifying to see that transformation, where the students became so completely focused on creating a solution to the challenge. Every student did successfully complete a prototype by the end of class, and some students actually created several variations following unsuccessful testing.”
Seventh Grader Cole Ramsey designed and prototyped a multi-chambered propulsion system. The chambers are intended to multiply the chemical reaction, producing a greater amount of gas than would a single, one-time mixture of baking soda and lemon juice.
Eighth Grader Jake Metz had multiple successful propulsion attempts using an inflatable plastic bag with multiple straws.
“The straws fed into a plastic cup, which concentrated the compressed air around the origami rocket contained within the cup itself,” said Mr. Neary. “A very unique and innovative solution!”