With a modified week at school for the Connections teachers at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, students in second grade had an opportunity to use a fabrication tool they haven’t had a lap with yet – the laser cutter. But what could they make with just a single class? Laser flakes of course!
Thanks to the really smart people at Evil Mad Scientist Labs, Inventables, and the 757 Makerspace, they made a simple online website that allowed students – or anyone really – to create the necessary SVG files that the laser could then use cut out the intricate shapes they designed. You can find a link to the site here under this easy-to-remember bitlink: bit.ly/laserflakes
Students designed their flakes by dragging the nodes around to make the patterns they desired. It was another lap with digital fabrication for these second graders, so the idea that sophisticated tools can allow them to create complex creations is becoming more familiar. Plus, it created another opportunity to talk about how the modeling process needed to taking the fabrication process into account. Specifically, if the lines of the model crossed over each other, the laser would follow that tool path and cut off the snowflake prematurely. This type of conversation is becoming more and more familiar to students as we continue to move from bit to atoms in our creation process.
Some social media associated with this #MakerEd moment.
— James Tiffin Jr. (@JimTiffinJr) December 15, 2016