During the last session of PreVu, we gave the kids a lot of freedom to choose what they would work on: previous projects or inspirations, or just some material or skill that they hadn't gotten to work with yet. We had a lot of toy motor building, some laser cutting, and a couple of winged creature outfits. We also kept working on habitat-building, this time making a structure with hula hoops and zip ties.
It has been a delight to see the students being so creative and learning so many new skills during the workshop. They were amazing junior designers!
At the end of each class, we spend around 10 minutes looking at each other's work. It can be hard to transition from finishing up projects to talking about them, and often the projects are being frantically completed while the review begins. Once we settle in, the kids always seem really proud when they show their work to each other, and respond to compliments and comments thoughtfully.
We introduced casting as a method that could make quick sculptural iterations. The kids used plaster of paris, and made molds from model magic. They embedded pipe cleaners to serve as a sort of rebar that they could then build upon. Of course, they also had a lot of fun making little critters out of model magic and pipe cleaners.
We've been talking about animal habitats for the past couple of weeks. This week, we decided to try building a dwelling for Hoook, our class mascot that we made the first day. We first tried sketching some ideas, and then jumped right into trying different element placements and formations. The kids were timid about using the tools and raising the walls, but by the end they were taking turns with the drill, holding pieces in place for each other, and haggling out design decisions.
The studio is always busy during PreVu. Some kids are very active, making several individual projects, while others really enjoy working on the collaborative project or even just watching how their fellow students are using materials and coming up with ideas. We find tremendous value in all of these modes of being in the studio, and hope that each kid is finding some design inspiration each week.
One of our goals with PreVu is to simply expose the kids to certain tools and ways of thinking, and to foster a can-do attitude about building in real life what they have in their imaginations. This isn't always simple, since they can't quite use the power saw or model something in Rhino to send to the laser cutter. But sometimes they make some leaps. During session 5, Ben decided that he wanted to use toy motors. We taught him to solder so that his connections from the motor to the battery would hold. Suddenly, a whole lot of kids were interested in motors and soldering, and we saw an amazing passage of knowledge: kids teaching other kids what they had just learned minutes before.
I expect we'll see a lot of moving parts next week!