Category Archives: K-12

3d Printed Lithophanes

I asked a couple of people on Twitter if I could share their projects today.  I have been fascinated watching them post pictures of their 3d printed lithophanes.  In the past, lithophanes were traditionally etched in thin, translucent porcelain that revealed the artwork when backlit.  3d printing technology, however, allows for lithophanes to be created using filament with very similar results.

Julia Dweck (@GiftedTawk) has been working on 3d printing lithophanes with her students to showcase their individuality.  As you can see in the first picture below, the lithophanes are not truly visible without light.  The second photo displays her amazing student photos once the lamp has been turned on.  Follow Julia if you aren’t already – she is always doing incredibly creative projects!

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3d Printed Lithophanes courtesy of @GiftedTawk
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3d Printed Lithophanes courtesy of @GiftedTawk

Rob Morrill (@morill_rob) has also been working with lithophanes.  His designs are in honor of Black History Month.  You can see his Rosa Parks example below.  I also suggest you take a look at his Nina Simone and Shirley Chisholm lithophanes available on Thingiverse.

Rob has provided step-by-step instructions for creating lithophanes with Tinkercad here.

Most of the lithophane DYI articles, including Rob’s,  recommend using this free online lithophane generator to make your photos into an .stl file.  Once you have this file, you can use any slicing program, such as Cura, to prepare the file for 3d printing.  This Sparkfun article has basic instructions.  For more complex “tweaks” that you may want to make in your preferred slicing program, such as setting the layer height and infill, this Instructable may help you out.  Most of the sources I looked at recommend using white PLA filament.  Other colors may work, but the translucency will not be as consistent.

Let me know if you’ve done a lithophane project!  I’d love to see the many applications of these unique form of art.

 

SlidesMania

SlidesMania caught my eye the other day on Twitter when this cute Harry Potter template was shared:

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Harry Potter SlidesMania Template

I typically go to Slides Carnival or Canva when I am looking for a new presentation theme for Google Slides, but I’m excited to find another resource.

Paula, the woman behind the SlidesMania site, likes to design slide templates as a hobby.  Fortunately, she is kind enough to share her projects online.  Just like the Slides Carnival presentations, the ones on SlidesMania can also be downloaded for Google Slides or Powerpoint.

The next time you need a great theme for a slide show, you should definitely check out SlidesMania!

Board Games for Learning

Sometimes I notice recurrent themes in my Twitter feed and start bookmarking them.  This morning, I saw a few tweets related to using board games for learning, and thought I would share them with you.  The first one is from Maria Copete (@copeteworld), who uses Monopoly to teach her students about American Capitalism.  Just in case you are unable to view the tweet I’ve embedded below, she shared a great Google Slide show to go along with the lesson here.

In one of  the responses to the tweet, Sofia Georgelos (@SofiaGeorgelos) shared a document that she uses with the Game of Life, where she asks her students to change the rules to reflect Communism instead of Capitalism.

For those of you who want to encourage families to spend more time playing games together, I like this idea from Todd Nesloney (@TechNinjaTodd), where he mentions that his school partnered with a toy store to donate games to be played that evening, and sold them at the event.

Whether focused on specific topics, such as economic systems, or to develop skills such as strategic thinking and problem solving, board games can serve as opportunities for engaging students and bringing communities together.

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Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

Tinkercad Design Slams

For anyone new to 3d design, Tinkercad is one of the best options out there.  This free online design tool is an excellent introduction to creating .stl files that can be saved and imported into your preferred 3d printer slicing software.  When I think of the dearth of 3d printing/design thinking resources that could be used in schools, especially in elementary, five or six years ago, it is heartening to see all of the curriculum, tools, and tutorials that have popped up since the days when my colleague and I started using City X with our students.   Tinkercad has been a huge contributor of these resources, making it very educator-friendly.

Last November, the Tinkercad blog featured a post on “Design Slams”  that has links to curriculum that was developed for 3 different grade bands: preK-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  You can use these as starting points to integrate STEAM in your classroom and/or you can choose to enter the #AutodeskMakeItReal contest, also linked in Kellyanne Mahoney’s post.  The themes of these units (Make for Everyone, Make it Green, and Make Justice, respectively) all have the common goal of teaching students to think about how they can impact their communities with design thinking.

New to Tinkercad?  Don’t forget you can go to the “Learn” button at the top of the site to access tutorials to help you get started.

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Image by ZMorph3D from Pixabay

 

ALA Art Drop Day

I got to be a small part of an interesting project on my last day at Advanced Learning Academy.  One of my colleagues, Dan Mallette, teaches a class for the high school students called, “Global Changemakers.”  Inspired by the World Art Drop Day in which the Southwest School of Art participates annually,  Dan tasked his students to each create two works of art based on the Sustainable Development Goals each student had chosen to study.  About a week before Art Drop Day, they started advertising #alaartdropday on our web announcements, and encouraged the school community to follow the Instagram account for our makerspace/studio (@studiozorro).  On the day of the Art Drop, I was able to accompany a couple of the groups of students as they took their pieces of art to different spots around campus to “hide” them.  Once a student found the perfect spot for his/her art, we took a picture of it in its location, trying to include a couple of clues to its surroundings, and posted the picture of the artwork on Instagram with the #alaartdropday tag.  Any student or teacher who was interested in one of the masterpieces could try to find it based on the clues in the Instagram picture, and claim it as their own.

The students had a great time hiding their artwork (one piece ended up on the railing inside the elevator). It was the perfect activity for the last day before Winter Break – allowing the students to get out of the classrooms and to come up with devious ways to camouflage their pieces while leaving them in plain sight.  A couple of staff members I ran into were excited about trying to find particular artworks that spoke to them that they hoped to display in their classrooms.

Finding a way to give students a larger audience than just the teacher and their classmates can be challenging.  This was a unique way to achieve that goal, and I hope that it will become an annual tradition at the school.

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Making Across the Curriculum

Making Across the Curriculum is a Google Site created by Rob Morrill on which he has curated ideas for “making” that integrate with different subjects.  If you click on the link for “Project Ideas by Class,” you will find suggestions such as “Loominous Literature” for English and “Living Hinges” for Engineering.  Some of the project ideas are repeated in different curriculum areas, as they are open-ended enough to accommodate numerous interpretations.  Although Morrill designed this site for his school staff, you may find some project ideas for your content area here.

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Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Support for Diverse Readers and Speakers

There are many tools out there for students who struggle with reading.  There were several I gathered at TCEA 2019 this year, and I have been meaning to share a curated list.  Here is a quick rundown (a big thanks to Leslie Fisher, who demonstrated these in her multiple sessions):

  • Immersive Reader – Microsoft offers this free suite of reading aids through OneNote or directly through it’s Microsoft Edge browser.  If you install the extension on your browser, you can change the background, break words into syllables, search for certain parts of speech, focus on a line, access a picture dictionary, translate, and read text out loud.  Thanks to Leslie Fisher for demonstrating all of these features!
  • Rewordify – You can change complex text to simpler language by pasting it into the box on this page.  Even better, there are several free learning activities that you can customize and print that offer matching, quizzes, etc…
  • SMMRY – Get a summary of the text you paste into the box.
  • Google Docs Voice Typing – Just go to the Tools in Google Docs to access this feature and make sure you give access to the microphone.
  • Closed Captioning in Google Slides – Did you know that you can offer closed captioning as you present a Slides presentation?  Click here to get the instructions.
  • Microsoft Translator – Download this app to your phone or just use it in your browser to start a conversation with anyone anywhere.  Among its other features, you can use multiple microphones for a conversation, which can be translated into multiple languages at the same time!  You can also use the app to take pictures of text (typed, not handwritten) and translate it.

I hope at least one or two of these tools is new and helpful to you!

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