machines, filming, practice

Everyone’s getting focused and nervous about Friday’s exposition night! Projects are wrapping up and headed into the more formal portfolio stage the the kids reflect on their work and document the process of getting things done.

Ben continued to work on the ATV project.

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Connor worked on the next generation prototype of his glider.

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Working on portfolios, reflections, presentations.

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The Flying Fish made a series of how-to videos this afternoon, like this one.

William worked on his project, a domino pyramid (details later!) with Theo’s help.

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Zada and Audrey worked with their aerial expert friend again to come up with a more elaborate routine with music.

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Tim Hunkin, engineer, artist, and maker of the series The Secret Lives of Machines, came in today to satiate his curiosity about this school, to provide expert engineering advice, and to inspire the kids to start thinking about making their own coin-operated arcade machines, like the ones he builds for his arcade in England.

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The Ninja Cats headed to the park with Quinn and Coke to test their trebuchet’s launching distances.

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So much work, so little time until Friday…

painting, water dropper, projects

It’s Monday and our open house on Friday is fast approaching. Everyone is making big strides in their projects – and even getting close to finishing!

Quinn and Coke finished building their trebuchet today and took it through several test runs.

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William worked on a prototype for his project.

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Will helped Nicky with some of the mechanics of his marble run.

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Beth put out watercolors for the kids so they could paint in the later afternoon.

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Will built a Kelvin water dropper that engrossed everyone.

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The Flying Fish made paper airplanes displays from frames Mackenzie hung from the rafters so they could show off their best work for Friday’s Exposition.

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Norabelle and Kaia took a trip with Elizabeth to the Aurora gaming studio and returned to Brightworks with a few more drawing and illustrating tricks up their sleeves.

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The Goats got down to focusing on their work.

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Audrey and Zada worked on the story for their presentation on the aerial silk.

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busy

So many advances in project work today…

The Flying Fish brainstormed ideas together for their paper airplane airshow.

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A visiting artist taught some drawing fundamentals to Norabelle and Kaia for their drawing projects. They learned tips like how to draw with the whole arm and how to hold the pencil. The girls were engaged for two hours!

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Norabelle and Kaia raced to the ending circle with their illustrations to share with the school. People “Oooo”ed and “Ahhhh”ed.

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The Fish made flyers for the airshow, with the date, time, location, and illustrations of paper airplanes.

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Quinn, Audrey and Theo highlighted their lines as preparation for their first recording of Theo’s play, “Da Microbe Play.”

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Ben and Logan made prototypes of their best paper airplane designs.

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William’s declaration was approved for a chain reaction set. He practiced setting up different arrangements.

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…and collaborated with others for more ideas.

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Coke and Quinn are almost ready to test their trebuchet!

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And of course, our incredible hot lunch continues to bring new tastes to our palates!

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a lot done

So much was done today!

Josh helped Ben puzzle through a problem with his go-cart.

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Audrey (and Kaia) prepped for a day on the silk.

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Chane’s friend Cyd, an expert in aerial silk, came in to show Audrey some tricks, which she will teach Zada when she gets back from being sick.

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Quinn and Coke continued work with Mark on their full-size trebuchet.

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Kaia and Norabelle took a wet walk to Coffee Bar for a drawing and work session with Chane and Theo.

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Isaac and Evan helped Debbie grate cheese for the five-cheese macaroni that she made for hot lunch today.

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Connor video-chatted with Rick Cavallaro about his glider project and got great advice on his next steps.

And we had a great lunch together!

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Because of the deluge of rain, the kids spent their park break inside on the cork floor playing a game called Fire in the Forest.

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Nicky made progress on his marble run.

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The Goats used the table saw for the first time and were terrified. They had to stop now and then to calm their nerves and wipe the nervous sweat from their foreheads.

just doing

There are some days when I am more impressed with the kids at this school than other days. I’m always thrilled that they are here doing what they’re doing, but sometimes when you turn around and they’re extra helpful, or extra responsible, or extra on-task, or extra focused, it’s pretty impressive. Today, when I was on the floor, taking them to the park, or subbing for Mackenzie in the afternoon, I found that the kids’ behavior in a particularly challenging warehouse-turned-school space that provide distractions everywhere was cool. Calm. Collected. Focused. There was a rhythm of just doing.

Caroline, Josh’s friend and an awesome linoprint artist, came in and helped the kids make their own prints. They were excited to make their own drawings into ink-able, repeatable prints.

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Nicky focused on working through problems in his marble run project.

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William took notes on the project he’s starting.

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Zada and Audrey took a break from muscle training to add their work to a wall displaying all the Ninja Cats’ notes and diagrams about their projects.

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The Ninja Cats helped each other create a museum-like display of their work.

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Kaia added her linoprint to her horse notes.

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Ben and Isaac struggled through Google Sketch-up problems and Evan, Alexander, and Daniel fiddled with parts while Josh took Connor and Henry to a lunch with flying machine expert Rick Cavallaro (pictures forthcoming).

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Coke and Quinn battle through the design of their trebuchet. Chane was inspired by their dedication and told the staff that she overheard them saying, “We can’t do this, but what can we do?”

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Aerial performance….

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…and practice.

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Kaia continued work on her horse illustration in her study of movement.

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The Flying Fish read some of the Froggy books with me in the afternoon, and they giggled at all the right parts. They groaned when they heard the same line – “more red in the face than green” – repeated in all five stories, and gleefully repeated the rhymes in each story after I read them.

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Gever worked with Nicky to program a Mindstorm piece that will serve as the motor for a conveyor belt in his marble run.

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The lunch table, after a day of linoprints.

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The Goats finished off their day of work.

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Each day has its own rhythm… today’s was one of doing.

kites and coal

Everyone quickly broke into bands this morning after a quick hello, and the day began!

Thor and Mark talked to the currency group this morning about the currency of time.

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During the Flying Fish’s morning writer’s workshop, Natasha Mei and Bruno Kai explained the symbolism of the willow branches, tangerines, and red and gold banners that they brought in to celebrate Chinese New Year.

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They taught their band how to say happy new year in two different ways. Bruno showed Aidan how to write happy in Chinese. Clementine gave Natasha and Bruno a new years card made with red and gold colored pencils.

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The Ninja Cats experimented with building car models from a sketch that Chane made. They were testing out how to make a potential energy car – without burdensome yet, to a Ninja Cat’s mind, absolutely necessary decorations that would ultimately weigh it down.

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The Flying Fish explored the purpose and placement of kite string on the kites they made last week. After testing several different connecting points, they made some interesting discoveries.

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Aidan and Lola discovered that you can make a kite stay up in the air with just one finger if you put your finger in the very middle and run forward.

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Bruno Kai and Ninja Ben decided that the kite worked best when the string is attached to the middle.

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Natasha, Clementine, and Logan noticed that the kites flew best when they were perpendicular to the wind.

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The Undead Goats shattered a mirror for their high speed photography experiments, and while I don’t have photo proof to show, I was assured that it did work!

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Henry and Isaac continued working on their motion video production, and Josh worked with Ben and Connor on logic problems. They started with some more basic problems, but then Josh stumped them with this one and they’ll probably be thinking for a while.

In the afternoon we had a visit from one of the artists behind the Beehive Collective’s incredible poster, “The True Cost of Coal,” and an enormous tapestry of the poster itself.

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After getting a very close view of the poster, we sat back and listened as Zeph explained the origins of the poster and the intricate story that it tells about the coal industry through imagery of nature as its medium.

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The bands split up and took pieces of the poster to interpret the story being told in each of their sections. They talked about the different characters and symbols used to represent different parts of the story and interpreted what everything meant to the larger narrative.

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After some exploration under the tapestry…

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… the flying fish headed out to the front of the school to test their kites. Unfortunately the camera battery had run out so we didn’t get photos, but Mackenzie wrote, “We were turning heads left and right and putting smiles on the faces of passersby. There were some really great observations about wind and how it travels down the street and can be blocked by buildings. The fish were delighted when a gust of wind picked up their kites and made them fly with out having to run. Ben and Bruno told me all about how they could feel the kite poofing up with wind through the kite string. Lola, eyes alight, recalled a line from the poem we read last week, “Who Has Seen the Wind?” by Christina Rossetti, and said, ‘We can see it right now in the kites!'”

balloons

Today our Australian teacher friends (from Mark Oliphant College) engaged the kids in a balloon-based project in between their bands’ explorations of motion. The Australian teachers brought in red balloons, paper flaps, tape, and cups to create Gyro Balloons to explore lift and how someone might control a hard-to-control object in the air.

The Undead Goats took on the challenge first.

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Evan and Isaac worked on piecing together their contraptions.

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Ben and Barry examined placement of the wing flaps to catch the air.

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They used hair dryers to help their gyroscopes float and spin. Henry seemed to get the motion down.

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Connor decided to create a nozzle for the hair dryers after the Undead Goats built several iterations of the gyroscope design. He said, “Don’t change the balloon, change the hair dryer.”

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The Flying Fish, with Dean’s help, turned their Gyro Balloons into hovercrafts that floated in the wind stream of the vertical wind tunnel.

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Blowing up balloons was a first for many of the Fish.

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The Fish were fascinated by the balloons floating in the wind stream and came up with lots of ideas about why they stayed caught in the air, while paper contraptions from earlier in the week flew up into the air and fell quickly to the ground.

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Was it that the balloons contained air? Were made out of plastic? Were lighter? They ended up coming to the consensus that it was because the balloons are round.

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With Mackenzie, the Fish drew illustrations of air moving around balloons while in the air.

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The Ninja Cats worked with Barry to modify the school’s rocking horse so that it could move across the floor without removing any pieces from it.

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They ended up adding wheels to the front of the rocking horse and used a sharp forward motion of their bodies to propel the horse across the floor.

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Barry and the Cats talked about how the horse was able to move using potential force, not kinetic force, when they added the wheels.

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Beautiful drawings resulted from the discussion!

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Theo taught his fellow Cats a cork floor game.

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We said goodbye to Barry, Dean, and David at the end of the day, but we can’t wait to start pen-palling and keeping in touch with friends from across the globe!

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