Back at the beginning of the new year, my friend Shannon Miller in Van Meter, IA told me she was planning to do a research project that involved Rainbow Loom bracelets. When she started implementing the project in her library, it organically grew into something much larger. Through connections with In This Together Media , the project developed into “Banding Together”. You can read the full details of the project here: https://www.smore.com/n65m
Here are the basics:
- Students at Van Meter, Barrow, and multiple schools around the country are making Rainbow Loom bracelets.
- The bracelets will be sent to a school in Mangalore, India
- Along with the bracelets, we will send poetry written by students, 3D printed charms designed by students, and a disposable camera to take pictures to send back
I announced the project this week on our morning BTV. I placed a collection box for Rainbow Loom bracelets on our circulation island, and by the end of the day, a few bracelets had already been donated. Students asked me about the project all day. By the next day, several kids were bringing bracelets in. I was so surprised by the generosity and enthusiasm from the students to send their bracelets across the miles.
Next, we started designing charms for 3D printing. I had already experimented some on my own, and I sent Shannon Miller a file that I made so that her students could print it and learn from the file too. Her students took my file and modified it or examined it in order to design their own.
I have a group of 5th graders who have been exploring different technology and how they might support other classes trying to use that technology. They have already been exploring Tinkercad to design objects for 3D printing, so I knew they would catch on fast to the idea of making charms.
Since the Banding Together project has a lot to do with spreading the joy in our hearts, we have focused our charm design on that theme. We decided that each charm should have some kind of heart. Dmitri designed a heart with a heart hole in the center. Walker designed a charm with the word “love”. Instead of an “o” he used a heart. I designed a triple heart to symbolize India and the US uniting together with our shared joy. We took these first 3 designs and made sure that they printed correctly. Once we saw how they worked, we started mass production.
As charms were ready, parent volunteers helped put them on bracelets. Dmitri and Walker also became quality control and made sure that all of the Rainbow Loom bracelets we were sending had joy-filled quality. They continued attaching charms.
We are waiting on a few more designs to be completed and we will ship our first batch of bracelets and charms.
Next week, we are adding a new layer onto the project with poetry, so look for an update soon about this exciting development that our 2nd graders will be involved in.
I love how this is a project that students in all grades can be a part of whether they made bracelets, wrote poetry, designed charms, or helped with packaging and quality. We truly are banding together in more ways than one.