Thursday, December 8, 2011

Project Update: Colleen Parenteau - The Electric Blanket

Colleen and I have embarked on a great adventure in Grade 3 Science - The Electric Blanket. As two crafty women who perhaps wish we taught Home Ec. (OK...*I* wish I taught Home Ec.), it's always fun to bring a little "needle and thread" time to Shore kids. So, during their unit on Electricity, we are incorporating e-textiles to help students understand how a circuit physically works. E-textiles are a new way of combining traditional craft materials like fabric and yarn with modern materials such as conductive thread and Lilypad circuit boards. The end results are interactive objects that can react to their environment and various inputs.

Anyway...Colleen, with a little needle threading help from me, is having her third graders create a quilt that uses e-textile materials. The end result will be a map of Massachusetts where each child has designed a square with a picture of something relating to nature and/or renewable energy that might exist in that part of the state. Each child will figure out how to incorporate a small LED light into their design so his or her square lights up when you "flip the switch". They will use conductive thread and sewable electronics to make this happen. The kids have been really excited to dig into the fabric box and are looking forward to sew with conductive thread. 

UPDATE (2/1/12): The blanket is done. See the finished product and learn about our successes and "do differents."

See the photos below to view our progress so far.

The quilt top before being cut into squares.

Cutting the top.
Time to cut the squares.
Organizing the squares by class section. Very helpful!
Finding the perfect fabric.
Design consultation.
Hive of activity.

Some finished squares. No LED's yet.

Our sample with a lit LED.
Our visitor from Briarwood helps thread needles.
We've learned it really helps to have a bunch of
pre-threaded needles ready for the kids. 

Project Update: Sue Smith

Copyright-free image found with Google's advanced search!
I've been working with Sue this week on a movie for the MLK, Jr. Dinner in January. Her 5th graders have been researching Dr. King and putting together a timeline of important facts. Meanwhile, Sue is finding copyright-free images of Dr. King on the web using an Advanced Search feature in Google. She's also downloading movie clips from Discovery Education of Martin Luther King's speeches. Together, Sue and I are using iMovie to put this together and adding voiceovers from the kids. Well, really Sue is putting it together with a few tips from me.

There have been a few glitches along the way, par for the course I suppose, but it's been a little frustrating. For some reason, we couldn't import the movie clips she downloaded from Discovery into iMovie without using QuickTime Pro to convert them to an .m4v file first. The bright side is that Sue started working on this project well ahead of time. She's almost done and now she can really relax over winter break without this project hanging over her head. Yay, Sue! Even better is that now she has some experience using the new iMovie before her students start the Mystic movie project in March. We'll post the final movie on MyShore after the event is over, though if you go to the MLK, Jr. Dinner in January, you'll see it then.