Tuesday, 8 March 2016

A New Material

A while back we considered purchasing document cameras for our new portables, which led to the inevitable discussion about cost and the evolution of the PVC Doc Cam (post to come). From that, this began!

It was suggested that we post this as an unperfected project by the wonderful Marina Clark... And I couldn't agree more! It would seem that there is endless potential in PVC... (Have you ever googled 'PVC Projects'?).

Here's what we've done: We cut the PVC in 1m and 50cm lengths, purchased connectors, and provided the material to students in structured and unstructured settings.

Structured Tasks: (Shadow Legends; Shadow Play)
Students in the 3rd grade are testing designs and building rooms, hallways, restaurants... One of my favorite moments was when they were "raising the roof" ...  For a light and shadow project, students required a shadow screen (pictures below) which has been hung, propped from the wall, for the past couple of months.
A PVC Yurt.

Students in the 4th grade are working on developing an outdoor classroom; they're studying area and perimeter, among other concepts. The most successful moment during this task was the embodiment of 1 meter squared... Where they understood area by existing within it. Then they created rooms that were 4, 6, or 12 meters squared, getting a sense of scale.

More amazing than the structured stuff is what the kids developed on their own. Leaving the PVC pieces in the LC as a building material, students made giant board games, quiet reading rooms, forts, props (okay, okay, weapons from Starwars... They're pretty cool, though!) and tipis.

Grade 4 Shadow Puppet Legend
What's next? I don't know... The kids may construct soccer nets... basketball nets? A greenhouse? The grade 4 teachers are talking about making a camera obscura with blackout fabric. I don't know! That's why I wrote this post... What else can be made? What else can be done? Anyone want to take this journey with us?

Here are some pictures of what we've done so far:

Starwars props - Can you figure out which is which? 

The breakthrough moment so far came when we connected 2 T connectors together with Zip Ties... It allows the students to connect pipes in any directions and works as a hinge. 

Grade 3 students added material bit-by-bit until they built a room taller than they are. 

That's a restaurant. Clearly. 

Raising the roof! ... It collapsed afterwards, but it was a valiant effort!

Grade One house. If you look closely, you can see the furniture and decorations that line the 'bedrooms'.

Shadow Puppet (Queen sheet)

Prototyping - kids are learning about scale... If this was their classroom the ceiling would be 3 meters tall... Which seems unnecessary!

What's does 6 meters squared feel like?

PVC Storage for PVC pipes!

The shadow screen, not in use.

A collaboratively-built space.

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