Fourth grade has launched into an incredible project for the 1st quarter of the year. I’m so excited to be a small part of the project in the library. In social studies, they are studying Native Americans. Their standards include:
SS4H1 The student will describe how early Native American cultures developed in
a. Locate where Native Americans settled with emphasis on the Arctic (Inuit),
Northwest (Kwakiutl), Plateau (Nez Perce), Southwest (Hopi), Plains (Pawnee),
and Southeast (Seminole).
b. Describe how Native Americans used their environment to obtain food, clothing,
During this study, they are exploring the folklore of Native Americans through several folktales. The brought them to the idea of a grade level dream catcher. The beginning of the school year is a time full of hope. It’s a time where students, teachers, and families set goals for what they hope to accomplish throughout the year, and many spend time writing about hopes and dreams. The teachers in collaboration with the art teacher decided to design a project to capture the hopes of dreams of students in the form of meaningful symbols on a dream catcher.
Working together, students will creative a massive dream catcher. In art, they are designing symbols that represent their hopes for the year. They are designing shapes that can be drawn in one continuous line.
With me, students are using an iPad app called Cubify Draw which is designed by 3D Systems. The app is very simple to use. With your finger or a stylus, you draw one continuous line to create pretty much anything you can dream up. You can adjust the thickness of the line and then touch “make 3d”. The shape automatically turns 3D and you can adjust the height and thickness. Once your design is ready, you can email the file to a central location to prep for 3D printing.
For the lesson in the library, I gave a very brief intro to the app and shared some tips that I discovered through my own tinkering. Big open swirls seem to print better than lines that are close together. The shortest height and thickest line tends to print best.
Mrs. Foretich, our art teacher, passed out the paper designs students made in art and gave students another opportunity to make adjustments to their designs and practice tracing the design with their finger. I passed out iPads and the tinkering began. Most students made several designs until they got the design just the way they wanted it. Mrs. Foretich and I walked around and conferenced with students about adjustments they might need to make to their designs as well as helped troubleshoot problems. Students emailed their designs to me with their teacher name and first name in the subject line.
We are doing this lesson with the entire 4th grade, so that makes for roughly 60 designs. Each design has to be imported into Makerware, reduced in size, and exported as a file for our Makerbot Replicator. These files are being placed onto SD cards. To speed up the file prep progress I used multiple computers and multiple SD cards.
Then, the printing began. Print after print is now running in the library. It took about a day and half to print the first class batch. Now I have 2 more to go. Each student print is being placed in a ziploc bag with the student and teacher name on the bag for easy distribution.
The next step will be for students to create a vessel out of clay in art. They will use their 3d stamp to press designs into their vessel. All of the vessels will hang from the grade level dream catcher, including vessels designed by all of the teachers involved in the project. This will serve as a symbol for the year to represent our connectedness and our common goal of working together to achieve many hopes and dreams this school year. Our vessels and dream catcher will hold these safe throughout the year.
Thank you Mrs. Foretich and the 4th grade team for an incredible project for our students that allows them to dream, tinker, create, and share.