Saturday, October 26, 2013

10.25.13 Prototyping Take 2.

Today students worked primarily on their prototypes and revised design plans. We began class as a whole group and broke out into our five design deliverables: French Drain, Octangular Table/Benches, Storage Chair, Storage Chest, and Pallet Garden. Octangular Table and Storage Chair groups had yet to add their design to the Bird's Eye View, and spent the first part of the class completing that task. Now that we have an idea of how much square footage each piece of the puzzle will take up things are starting to come together visually. After that was checked off their list, students worked on their new versions of their prototypes that were now done to a realistic scale. Students are responsible for prototyping their design EXACTLY how they see it in the OLS, and for completing as many prototypes as they want realistic components. At one point we ran out of some crucial prototyping materials (i.e. popsicle sticks and graph paper) so after a quick Walmart run we were able to begin again. It was great to see so many of the groups working so hard to get these new prototypes built. They were taking such careful measures to accurately measure all their materials to ensure the scale was as realistic as possible. I hated to break the momentum but while I was gone, Mrs. Soblo showed the film Born to be Wild, and related it back to the Educational Tool students are currently working on. It was a quick 40 minute showing and by the time the movie was finishing up I was back with the supplies.

A few weeks ago, Jordan and Breanne accompanied Mrs. Auspelmyer to an Outdoor Learning Symposium in Savannah, Georgia. They spent the day in some awesome sessions on Outdoor Learning Spaces and brought back a ton of information to share with the class. They spoke briefly the Monday after they returned, but had some great visuals and information still to share. Today was a good day for that sharing. They spoke about what they learned, how to make outdoor learning spaces more used, about aversions to outdoor learning spaces by both teachers and students, and even got to experience some tools for outdoor learning spaces. Here's their presentation complete with some cool pictures.


After we heard from J and B, we continued on with prototyping. A few groups still had some struggles with communication in their new larger groups, but after a long productive conversation they were able to put creative differences to work instead of at odds against each other. Groups that didn't have these issues are obviously further ahead, and here are some shots of our groups showing off their new, to small scale, prototypes.

photo 1
Tyler, Alexis, Taiyah, and Da'Naria- Pallet Garden Planters


Charles with his group's storage chairs

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10.24.13 Busy, Busy, Busy

Today's lesson is brought to you by the word Busy.

We're flying a man down today with Coach West being out, so our groups are working in rotation 3. The Pallet Garden group is their own rotation. The French Drain group and the Storage Chair are in another group, and finally the Storage Chest and Octangular Table are in a group. Groups worked with me on completing their Bird's Eye View of the Space and together we put together a tentative floor plan for our Outdoor Learning Space.

Here's what we are up to (as of now):

You can't see the grid lines on the graph paper but the entire space is 30' x 30'. The designs represented are of the square footage each item would take up in the space. The left side of the design is primarily pallet gardens that students plan to fill with native plants that will attract native wildlife. The storage chests are on the right side of the space and are multifunctional and can serve as seating too. What we don't have pictured yet is our Octangular Table and Benches, and our Storage Chairs. Those two design teams were having a difficult time converting their imagined measurements into real life square feet. Being the non-math expert that I am, I sought out a math expert in our own Student Activities Director Mrs. Janet Frick. She and a few of our students had a chat about how to find square footage of a square, and how to find the circumference of a circle when we know the diameter. Check her out working her math magic!


Students were then able to calculate their measurements and give an accurate representation of how much space their design would need. It was great to have some help. Math was never my thing....

Some groups, like our Storage Chest, Octangular Table, and one other group were able to begin their new and revised prototypes. They have to create one prototype for every object they plan on putting in the space, and it must be done exactly to a predetermined scale. This will probably take us to the end of tomorrow.

Our Octangular Table group debating on their table top
One of the table top design possibilities.
The same group working on their new bench prototype.

In Mrs. Soblo's class, students are creating an educational tool that can be used in the outdoor learning space to identify some of the organisms that can be found on campus.  Each student finds 13 unique species that we've seen here or are very common in the area.  The task then is to research the organisms they select to create a tool for identification, listing what the organism looks like, how it's different from similar species & other interesting facts.  Students need to include citations of the resources they use in their research & for images they add.

Many students are creating field guides (paper & online versions), but a few students are creating games.  Students can work in teams in order to create a larger field guide- for example: 2 students need 26 species, 3 students need 39 species.

Timeline for completion is 12/3 for the finished product.

With Mrs. A, students have been practicing their citation skills. From Mrs. A herself: Following prior direct instruction on plagiarism and how to avoid it (including how to use direct quotes and how to paraphrase information), students have recently taken notes more specifically on how to properly give credit to sources at the end of a paper or research project. The focus has been on electronic source material, since most students are using primarily these types of sources. Students had to learn how to identify what type of electronic source they were viewing, where to find information like title, author, publisher, date, etc. on each website, how to create citations in MLA style, and how to format the final works cited page. After an introduction to these concepts and skills, students used their notes to create a works cited page (using 5 arbitrary website sources of various types). This assignment was then awarded a score, based on the accuracy of each individual citation as well as overall formatting, and students were given individual feedback about where they made errors.

Based on the results of this assignment, it was clear that most students had not mastered these concepts and skills; therefore, after a brief reteaching of the content, students were asked to try again, with a new set of 5 arbitrary website sources of various types. This new assignment will result in a new works cited page that, after feedback and reteaching, is expected to be more accurate than the first attempt. Students will be allowed to replace their initial grade with their new (presumably higher) grade. It is expected that at this point many students will have mastered some of the basic skills involved, but it is also expected that due to the available variety of electronic sources alone, students will need continuous practice with this throughout the year to expose them to all the possibilities (and differences in citations) of source material. It is clear, through observations and discussions with students, that most are aware that the most important and difficult step when crediting sources seems to be determining what type of electronic source they are using. The next lesson, in addition to continued practice creating works cited pages, will involve examining sources for bias and evaluating sources for validity, usefulness, etc. Meanwhile, we will continue to work on effectively incorporating source material into writing.

Here's the assignment from Mrs. A if you were planning to BINGO her citation practice.

So....we're busy. Just in case you wanted to know. Busy days in the Studio are all we see in our future. Make sure you keep up with all the action right here!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10.22.13 Ed Tool/Prototype Revisions

Today students met for the first time in their large groups. It was a somewhat productive day. Most groups finished their bird's eye view of the space that included their design, and some began revising their new prototypes to scale. Some groups had a harder time meshing in their new environment, and spent some time figuring out what their new dynamic would be. Students had to realize that the design doesn't have an owner, and students have to relinquish any idea of ownership over the design so that the new group can have input. It's hard to look at a design for weeks and then listen to someone make suggestions as to how to make it better, but we have to be open to changes for the benefit of the space.

With Mrs. Soblo, students worked on their Educational Tool. Students now are each responsible for 13 organisms in their Educational Tool. Some groups are making field guides and some groups are making games. Students are still working on researching and narrowing down the organisms they want to include, so they should have research to work on daily. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10.22.13 Revision Begins

Now that we've narrowed down your prototype designs into the five that we as a class would like to bring to life, we have some major revisions to do. Just because a design was voted on doesn't mean that it's flawless. Now we have to pull out the microscope and find ALL the flaws so that we can revise them in our new groups. From our humble beginnings as 11 groups we transform into 5 mega groups. Each (new) group is now working on one of the five designs that you voted on as a class.

Today students took a serious look at the pallets in our tool room, and made some decisions about whether or not recycled materials would work for their purpose. What they imagined pallet wood to be, and what it really was did not match up. Students took some time to design a bird's eye view of the space and where they envisioned their deliverables going. Our next challenge is to take a close look at our prototypes with fresh eyes to see where we can make them better.

Here's a few of our winning prototypes: 
Our D9 Storage Chest

Storage Chair (Seat lifts up for student storage)

Storage Bench

Possible Pattern for the top of our Octangular Table.
Seats 16 and this thing is gonna rock!

With Mrs. Soblo students reattempted their dichotomous key quizzes using shapes instead of leaves. With Mrs. Auspelmyer students took notes on common citation mistakes in hopes that they won't make the same mistakes in the future, and with Coach West students began a study on culture in preparation for a future design challenge :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

You voted....Here they are!

As a class these were the top runners in our Prototype Defense Vote!

French Drain
Octangular Table and Benches
Storage Chairs (Group 4)
D9 Storage Chest
Pallet Garden

Congrats to these teams on great defenses and even more work to come. No hard feelings to our teams whose designs weren't chosen. There are plenty of ways for us to incorporate your ideas into our OLS!

10.21.13 Prototype Defense

This morning we're spending time putting the finishing touches on our Prototype Defenses. Student groups will present to the entire class and defend why their prototype should be the one we build to put in our outdoor learning space. Students have been working for the past two weeks on their prototypes, building plans, and 3-D sketches.

Requirements for Presentation:

  1. Title
  2. Scale of Prototype
  3. Materials (What they want to use to build with)
  4. Plans on graph paper with scale
  5. Defense Prepared
    • Why does this design meet the needs of the users?
    • Why is this design the most sustainable of its category?
    • Why is this design the most functional of its category?
    • Why is this design the best in its category?
Students must put together a Google Presentation with pictures of their prototype- 5 slides in total. One picture of each of the four sides and one bird's eye view.

Students will use this link to access the form.

After presentations, students should complete at Stop-Drop-Reflect on what they just saw.

Answer these questions on a separate piece of paper. Name and Group Title at the top.
1. Based on what you saw, how feel your group compared to other groups? Were you as prepared? Was your prototype as detailed and complete? How well thought out was your design in comparison to other groups' design?

2. Based on what you saw, what changes, if any, would you make to your design? Be specific. What elements were frequently combined in the different prototypes? Did these combinations make sense? What combinations might we make that we did not see already?

3. Were there any prototypes that you would rule out automatically because they were too complex for the space, too labor intensive for our deadline (Dec. 20), or you felt they did not make sense? If so, explain what traits about that specific prototype makes you want to take it out of the running.

These go to Coach K.

We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10.15.13 Prototype Defense Evaluation

Just in case you wanted to know what form we'll be using to vote on prototypes, here it is. It'll go live tomorrow morning when we begin presentations. Keep these things in mind as you're planning your defense.
Good luck!

10.15.13 Study, study, study

Today was a loose-ends kind of day. With Mrs. Soblo and Mrs. A not here, and myself with a group visiting from Pontiac Elementary, students and Coach West spent the day together. During first and second students spent time completing an Interview Reflection, studying for their vocabulary quiz, which is tomorrow, as well as their safety and dichotomous key quizzes, also both tomorrow.

Students PLEASE make sure you study for all three of these things. Don't forget to be working on your Prototype Defense. It must include all of this information:

-Scale of Prototype
-Plans on Graph Paper (w/Scale)
-Why Sustainable, Functional, and better than other options
Must include a Google Presentation with images of prototype- one per side. Total of 5 slides.

You as a class will vote on which prototypes to bring to life tomorrow.

Monday, October 14, 2013

10.14.13 Prototyping Galore

Early in September we began a design challenge that has come to be known as 'Take it Outside' . We are at a second year high school and have a beautiful campus with tons of outdoor space. None of that space, however, was necessarily was conducive to learning outside. There was no defined space, or home base if this was tag, for teachers and students outside. This presented a problem. Because our campus is so expansive, not having a home base when taking students outside was a deterrent for teachers from using our awesome natural classroom. So, seeing a problem with no easy solution, we turned it into a design challenge.

"How might we design an outdoor learning space that is both functional and sustainable?"

Students began with research in our Gather Stage. They designed interview questions for teachers and students to see what the needs were for an outdoor learning space. What did the users want? Students wrote professional emails, scheduled interviews, practiced handshakes and interview posture, and held some great interviews. Some left with a ton of great information that could push their ideas for a learning space into fruition. Others learned that even if they write great questions that are deep and meaningful, they aren't always going to get answers with the same amount of thought. They reflected, transcribed, and summarized what they learned and took that information into account as they began designing delieverables for the OLS. 

After we finished these reflections, we were able to move to the Glean Stage. Students began designing what they saw as the different elements of the space: seating, work space, weather protection, storage, and plant and garden space. They pulled inspiration from the internet, from magazines, from their natural surroundings, from their home, from TV, and used it all to create their own ideas of what could work for our space. Students began with basic sketches of what they saw as possibilities to meet needs in our space. We brought in our school art teacher Bill Hicks who did a great lesson with students on drawing to perspective and making their sketches more realistic. 

Finally, we began the long awaited Generate Stage. Students then had the challenge of translating those drawings to scale on graph paper. They had to include their desired measurements for their finished products so that they could begin prototyping. Students had to bring their designed ideas to life with simple materials to see how realistic theiridea could be.  here we are. Prototyping is a bit chaotic. Glue guns, cardboard, Exacto knives, oh my. To the untrained eye it could look a bit unorganized, but our students are focused and working to the plans they designed. I can't ask much more of these freshman.

Here's a great definition of prototyping:

prototype is a concrete artifact that communicates your idea and gets you the information you need to improve it. 
Can't take credit for that one- got it here.

Students have a vote on Wednesday where they have to present their prototypes to the rest of the class. There are multiple groups working on different designs for the same element of the space, so the pressure is on to defend their design and see it into the project lab. 

Here's what it looks like in the Studio today:



Ss: Don't forget your priorities for the day. Quizzes Wed. in Science, Safety, and Vocabulary. Also be ready to defend your prototype in front of the class for voting Wednesday!

Coach K