STEAM by Design Sani Savr

Sani Savr Logo
Sani Savr Logo

The STEAM by Design class in the Middle School saw a problem with the amount of Germ Attack Hand Sanitizer dispensed when users pressed the pump too far down. After researching how much sanitizer should is needed to ensure adequate disinfection, we determined the average amount should be 2.4 mL – 3.0 mL. Two sites we used are https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html and https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18538702/.

We tested different sized Sani Savrs and settled on sizes in the 55 – 60 mm as these models will dispense approximately 2.4 to 3.4 mL. Considering that not all hands are the same size, we recommend using a 55mm for larger hands and a 60mm for smaller hands.

Dispensed Amount Calculations and Possible Savings

  Amount Dispensed mL* # of Squirts per Bottle* Increase in # of Squirts* Savings Per Jug*
No Sani Savr 23.3mL 162 0 $0.00
55mm 3.4 mL 1112 950 $9.50
60mm 2.4 mL 1800 1638 $16.38
All measurements are approximate due to the differences in the pressure applied to the pump*.

STEAM by Design Sani Savr Ad

Tinkercad Design
Sani Savr Tinkercad Design
Frontal View of Sani Savr
Sani Savr Persona
Group of Sani Savrs
Sani Savr Production

 

Grant’s Wisdom and Challenge to Us

Grant visited DA years ago when he was researching his book #EdJourney. He is a deep thinker and author who I respect a lot. Many of you may have his books or read his blog. Some of you, may not know him at all. I am also a big fan of the Education Reimagined site and the work they do.
I believe we must learn from what has worked well during our forced hiatus from what we thought of as normal school routines for both ourselves and our students. I do not know what these things all are, but I do know that how we use our time is first in my list. The tools we have been forced to use will either have advanced what we normally have done, maintained some semblance of what we used to do, or gave us the illusion that we are “teaching” and students are “learning.” This is not to say your efforts, which are huge, is for naught or less than, it is to say that we have jumped into a breach that forced us all to make changes we may have been able to delay or discount and stick with what we knew and felt most comfortable with doing. I think we all can agree that comfort is gone.
So I encourage us to think about what 2 or 3 things you want to keep from our new normal and what 2 or 3 things do you never want to do again. I reworded an old saying a few years ago that I think applies here: “This sh*t is too old for me!” What is too old for us and our students now?
Have a great weekend everyone and take time for yourself by turning off your computer and using the Do Not Disturb settings where needed. This is not a drill or a sprint we are in.

Will the COVID-19 Crisis Really Change Education?

Let’s build a foundation that supports great learning in today’s environment, with tomorrow in mind, and throw out the baggage that no longer is most effective for the students you serve.

Image by

Glen Carrie

Summer Camps for 2020

The Schaefer Polk Computational Thinking Camps are part of the Durham Academy Summer Program. You can learn more at the website we use for our camps.

What is Computational Thinking? The image from Barefoot Computing does a great job of highlighting what we consider to be Computational Thinking. Our camps feature many of the concepts and approaches shown in the graphic. We spend a lot of time working with verbs: Develop, Adjust, Participate, Adapt, and Adhere. Our camps allow campers to learn at their pace. Campers have access to the tools after camps for further learning opportunities.

New this year will be camps for just Middle School Aged 11 – 15 campers. Our camps will be held in the Upper School’s Hock Center and Learning Commons.

Camps Information:

3D Design and Printing: Week 5: July 6 -10 AM and repeated Week 6: July 13 – 17 AM.

Storytelling with CS First and Scratch Programming  Week 5: July 6 -10 PM

Game Design with Google CS First and Scratch Programming Week 6: July 13 – 17 PM

3D Design and Printing: Week 6: July 13 – 17 AM. (Same as week 5 camp)

Build and Explore Virtual Reality – New for 2020 Week 7: July 20-24 – AM

Donovan and I would love to learn with you this summer.

First Lego League Reflections

Thanks to the efforts of students, coaches, mentors, and parents DA had a pretty successful season. In North Carolina over 500 teams compete in Regional Tournaments across the state hoping to qualify for the 120 spaces in the State Tournament. This year DA was fortunate to have 2 teams qualify for the State Tournament and have a great showing with their Robot Missions, Innovative Projects, and Core Value demonstration.

  • Robonators #31861: Team members were Anand J., Kent L., Kwame M-B, William B., and Gil M. The team was coached by Charith Fernando, Jay Swaminathan, and David Harpole.
  • DA Cav Squad #17134: Team members were Andrew Y., Shreya R., Sachin A., Anneke S., Lexie C., and Rushil R. The team was coached by Skyler Castelao, Ramana Reddy, and Gautam Aggarwal.
  • Neo Dragons #25598: Team members were Matthew G., Chris H., Phin B., Ansh D., Andy S., and Atakan S. The team was coached by Asher Fields, Fabrice Fortin, Gokhan Sevik, and myself.

The DA Cav Squad won the 2nd place award for the Inspiration award which celebrates a team that is empowered by their FIRST LEGO League experience and displays extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit.

The DA Cav Squad’s Innovative project was focused on using recycled shipping containers for homeless people in Durham. The team devised a way to create 6 sleeping pods with a bathroom that could easily be deployed around the city as needed.

The Robonators won 1st place for the Presentation award, which recognizes a team that effectively communicates the problem they have identified and their proposed solution to both the judges and other potential supporters.

The Robonators Innovative project was focused on preventing the waste of freshwater. One way to help is to increase the use of wastewater for flushing toilets. The team designed the Eco Potty which uses solar power, rainwater collection, and a cistern to use gray water for all flushing needs on our new campus. The team presented to Presentation to Durham Water Committee and the DA Building Committee about how to integrate their designs into the new campus buildings.

A Season of Challenges and Successes

FLL Core Value Gears

https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/core-values

I have meant to write about our 3 First Lego League Teams (FLL) for a few weeks as we have finished up competing in the Regional Tournaments. Out of the 3 DA teams, 2 have advanced to the State Tournament on January 18th, 2020. The competition was more intense this year with more teams and drastic changes to how the robot mission runs are scored. I want to thank all of the students and parents who support the massive undertaking by coaching, supporting, encouraging, or driving to practices and tournaments. FLL meets after school and on weekends to get ready for the tournaments.

This year’s theme was City Shaper. https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll

For the Innovation Project, teams had to:

• Identify a problem with a building or public space in your community.
• Design a solution.

• Share your solution with others and then refine it.

For the Robot Game, teams had to:
• Identify Missions to solve.
• Design, build and program a LEGO Robot to complete the Missions.
• Test and refine your program and design.

Team Robots have to navigate, capture, transport, activate, or deliver objects. Teams only have 21⁄2 minutes to complete as many Missions as possible.

Throughout the season, teams develop and are guided by the FIRST ® Core Values We express the FIRST ® philosophies of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® through our FIRST Core Values.
The teams are:
DA Cav Squad  #17134 (Advancing to State)

Andrew Ye

Shreya Rao
Sachin Aggarwal
Anneke Schmidt
Lexie Chen
Rushil Reddy
Young Adult Mentor – Hutch Castelao
Coaches – Ramana Reddy & Gautam Aggarwal
Robonators #31861 (Advancing to State)

Anand Jayashankar

Kent Lee
Kwame Mensah-Boone
William Brown
Gil Mebane
Young Adult Mentor – Charith Fernando
Coaches – Jay Swaminathan and David Harpole
Neo Dragons #25598 (Narrowly missed advancing to State)

Matthew Guo

Chris Hu
Phin Brown
Ansh Desai
Andy Sun
Atakan Sevik
Asher Fields

Coaches – Mehmet Gokhan Sevik, Fabrice Fortin

Sustainable Development Goals – Theme for STEAM

SDG_Poster_with_UN_emblem

The last couple of years I wanted to somehow connect the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to the work we do in STEAM by Design. We did not have much time to do a “unit” on the SDGs so I decided to use it as a theme for our work. We have watched the #FridaysForFuture protests by young people, discussed how each of us are trying to help, and thought about how our school could adopt a more sustainable intention as we build out our new campus over the next five or more years. Our school is being lead by a team of fifth graders and a teacher to get our recycling program upgraded as we still have too many items not recycled or what we do recycle is contaminated by the actions of a few who choose not to be mindful about where and how they recycle. I believe the planet is facing extinction for future generations if we do not adjust and get serious about the Climate Crises. In celebration of my twentieth year of teaching at our school, I was provided a copy of The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells which is a tragic tail of how we are leaving a planet that our children’s children will not be able to inhabit. So in keeping with the mantra so many schools now deploy regarding student safety, “If you see something, say something.” or as Maya Angelou said “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I knew I had to do better.

That is why the theme for STEAM is connected to the SDGs. Not all of what we do may connect easily or perhaps at all, I know if we look the connections are there but are hiding in plain site. We just started our first sort of mandatory project which is the magnetic marble run where students must create a design that will allow a marble to pass through it and land on the next design that is done by someone else. I give them a few measurements but also tell them, that they might need other information to be successful. I added to the requirements that the design must connect to one of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Below are the first prototypes created by 3 of the 10 students in the F section of STEAM by Design. Their designs are based on the SDGs although not sure how well the marble will pass through it, I am impressed at how they are incorporating them in their designs. We decided not to list the number of the goal as we felt the design should make it obvious. Students also choose whatever goal they want.

 

Food for Thought – NCAIS Event Reflections

Students as Teachers

Students as Teachers

I was fortunate to be a part of the NCAIS Food for Thought session on Immersive Technology on April 1, 2019.  When Stephanie Keaney reached out to me last year about helping with her idea, I said yes as I love working with NCAIS, Stephanie, and other independent schools. We decided on the topic of immersive technology as this area is on the growth curve and wondered what we could all learn about it. Also, I started to use CoSpacesEdu with my STEAM by Design class and wanted to share what we had learned. We also use the Merge Cube and  Goggles. Stephanie hopes to have 20 to 25 people attend these lower key events so when 4o people attended we were both very excited and pleased. We were fortunate that Karen MacKenzie from Cary Academy, along with Michelle Rosen and Michele Guiterrez from the DA Lower School were willing to come and showcase some of the resources and tools they use. We really had a low ceiling too high ceiling resources.

For me, the best part was that Holly and Ellie agreed to come and demonstrate what we use in STEAM by Design. Since it was a day off for students, their parents also had to provide transportation. They were excellent, and at least one attendee made a note of how awesome it was that students were doing the face-on activities.

You can find the presentation we used at http://bit.ly/FoodARVR

Here is a short video (no audio) of Holly and Ellie using the Merge Goggles with a CoSpaces Edu Space while using AirPlay to broadcast. The Goggles allow you to interact with commands in the Space. Look for the small dots as Ellie will press the buttons on the Goggles.

Conversations and Innovations – Community Outreach

When Ben Michelman saw the examples from Brookwood School’s 3D Design Challenge Bank, he said we should totally do this Karl. While I was excited, I also was a bit hesitant to say yes. I was not sure I wanted to give up the time and wondered how the students would take to this type of outreach. After a few exchanges with Ben, I said, I am in as I realized it was fear that was keeping me from committing to doing it. I did not want to have our students believe that seniors are just afflicted people who need us to make stuff for them. I wanted a connection and an emphatic relationship so I knew it would take some setup and time. As Ellie is demonstrating in the above image, a relationship has been formed as she is engrossed in a conversation with Marcella Jerdon. Ben helped a lot with these aspects which allowed us to co-teach the unit. I put him in my Google Classroom as a teacher so he could see what we were doing as well as see all of the resources. The fear I did not share with my students but did tell Ben on our first visit was that I never want to end up in a place like this. Our first visit was in January and even though we had assigned partners we ended up needing to flow as not all seniors were available or able to join us on that day. Some seniors had not signed up, but just happened upon us and wanted to talk. One student was working with a senior who suffers dementia which impacted the ability to really develop the depth of relationship needed to devise a solution to a challenge. I suggested to any student that did not determine a challenge to help with to bring joy to their senior client.

Back in the STEAM lab, students started working on prototypes by thinking about how they might make the solution they had in mind. With a few tries, most students had working prototypes when we returned in February to present them. This visit was full of ups and downs for some students. A couple of seniors no longer wanted to participate or were not available. We ended up finding new seniors for these students since there is an abundance of seniors who would like to be a part of the project.

While there were many bright moments, the connection between Alden and Lynn showed the potential of what these conversations could lead to. Lynn suffered a stroke a few years ago so no longer has all of the use of her left arm and hand. It meant that playing cards were really difficult. After the initial conversation, Alden designed a holder for cards. He brought in a deck of cards from home to test his prototype to make sure it would hold cards like he designed. When he presented it to Lynn, she was thrilled beyond belief and said it was perfect. I asked Alden to keep asking how it could be better and after about 15 minutes, she said, “Well, to be honest, I like green, but Duke blue is my favorite color so I would love one that color.”

There are additional photos on DA’s Flickr stream. https://www.flickr.com/photos/durhamacademy/page3

Thanks to everyone who helped me face my fears, well most of them anyway. I still prefer to be on Camp Moondance Farm in my older years.

All 3 FLL Teams Qualify for State Championship

If you had asked me in August how many teams would qualify for state, I would have hoped for at least two. If you had asked me in October, I would have said hopefully at least one but if we are lucky, two. I should not have underestimated the drive and dedication of the teams as they all qualified for state and won awards along the way.

The Robonators qualified first and were awarded the Inspiration Award at the Reedy Creek Regional on 11/17/2018. The team is made up of  a mix of rookies and experts. They are Kent Lee (5th Grade) Rookie, Anand Jayashankar (7th Grade) Rookie, Charith Fernando (8th Grade) Expert, John McGowan (7th Grade Expert, and Gil Mebane (7th Grade) Rookie. Coaches are Anthony Fernando and Jay Swaminathan with support from the team’s Young Adult Mentor, Hutch Castelao. Supporters are Ashini Fernando, Karen Rabenau, and Yueh Lee who helped the team in anyway they could.

Next up was DA Cav Squad which qualified at Harnett Central Middle School – Angier on 12/1/2018 and were awarded the Programming Award. The team is made up of  a mix of rookies and novices. William Brown (7th Grade) Rookie, Sachin Aggarwal (7th Grade) Rookie, Priya Aggarwal (6th Grade) Rookie, Zaina Taha (6th Grade) Novice, and  Shreya Rao (6th Grade) Novice. Coaches are Scott Baker and Taha Afzal. Supporters are Mariam Ali, and Diti Aggarwal who helped the team every week as Scott and Taha had busy travel commitments during the season.

After being snowed out in December, the Neo Dragons had a lot of time to prepare and stress out for their competition at Carver Middle School – Laurel Hill on January 12, 2019. This team worked to overcome the various setbacks through the season to qualify the state championships and take home the Teamwork Award. The team is made up of  a mix of rookie, novices, and expert. They are Evan Fields (7th Grade) Expert, Theo Satterfield (7th Grade) Novice, Everett Wilber (7th Grade) Novice, and Marcus Vermeulen (6th Grade) Rookie. Coaches are Leora Fields and Fabrice Fortin with support from the team’s Young Adult Mentor, Asher Fields. Asher won the Young Adult Mentor award for the regional tournament. Supporters are Kim Satterfield and Rob Vermeulen.

For the purposes of creating the teams, I came up with the Rookie, Novice, and Expert labels. So no one is confused a Rookie is a member who did not take the Spring MS Robotics course which serves as the unofficial perquisite for being on an FLL team. Novices are those members who took the Spring MS Robotics course but have never been on an FLL team before. Experts are those members who have participated in FLL for at least the previous season. All members are now Experts. My thanks to the coaches who also could have been put into these categories at the start of the season but now are also experts and probably tired.

I remember when the parents of Gala and Ada Taylor told me about First Lego League (FLL) and how we should form a team. I was doing Lego EV3 Mindstorms Clubs and Summer Camps but did not see how I could pull off something so huge as FLL so I said not yet. Then Greg Brown pushed against my wall of resistance and offered a plan, which I took. Four years later, we have gone from having one team, Robosharks, which qualified for state as well to these three teams. Thanks for the time and effort we have put into the success of our FLL program at the Middle School. I know that the work that Michele Guiterrez does in the Lower School with robotics has helped lay a foundation for our teams. I also know we lay a foundation for the Upper School FRC team who is also experiencing success.

Lastly, the key part of why I love FLL is because of the core values and problem solving that is at the center of the program.

 

FIRST Core Values
We express the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through our Core Values:

Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll/core-values

Visions of Future Learning and the STEAM Lab

If all goes well, the new STEAM by Design Lab will be constructed during the 2020 – 2021 which will include Science Labs and the Library. I feel this is one of the most important efforts I will ever be involved in as a professional educator. I believe a well designed learning space will fuel learning for the next 50 years of learning. A poorly designed learning space will restrict the next 50 years of learning. Which will we build? Will the design be based on the research and neuroscience of how we learn? Or will the architects design a space that comes in on a budget set in times when rooms for learning were teacher centric, relied on compliance over engagement, and when information was scarce and learners could not learn without being in school. All of those things have changed dramatically in just the last 20 years or so. I have been thinking about this a lot as I think we need to get this right.  Another factor is the fact that this will not be a space I help design for myself but for most likely my replacement. As my career is now sprinkled with the internal debate of retirement along with the occasional question from colleagues; “How many years do you have left?”, it is clear to me that my lasting impact on the future DA students will be how I helped our school think about designing spaces for learners and learning and not for teachers and subjects.

The drawing above is where my thinking is now for what I think the STEAM by Design labs should look like. A list of must haves is forming although I am sure it will change before the ground is broken or the current building is touched.

My thinking is being guided by my 25 years of teaching and learning along with these awesome organizations and folks.

TranscendEducation has put out a wonderful resource for designing spaces for learning. http://www.transcendeducation.org/designing-4-learning

Learning Transformed Book by Eric C. Sheninger and Thomas C. Murray http://www.ascd.org/Publications/Books/Overview/Learning-Transformed.aspx

David Jakes’ many resources: https://davidjakesdesigns.com/ideas/2018/8/28/what-your-spaces-say and https://davidjakesdesigns.com/

American School of Shanghai Learning Spaces Manifesto : “If a space delivers everything we expect, it hasn’t been pushed far enough. “ https://www.saschina.org/academics/learning-spaces

Designing for Learning by American Association of Architects: http://designforlearning.archfoundation.org/

And good ole Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon at Modern Learners: https://modernlearners.com/ and especially the post about Designing for Learning https://modernlearners.com/designing-for-learning/ which discusses the work of  Carol Black and her post http://carolblack.org/the-gaze and Ira David Socol https://mystudentvoices.com/what-does-it-mean-to-build-a-school-or-to-rebuild-a-school-3c8dd5b356d5

Watch her video on WEIRD societies. (Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic)