Friday, March 4, 2016

Tapigami in BPC Art Classes

Today, BPC 7th graders had the opportunity to learn Tapigami with Danny Scheible in the art studio.  Danny created his art form while studying contemporary and fine art at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Now he travels the world teaching Tapigami and making work on commission for museums, galleries, private collections and, of course, the san Mateo Maker Faire!  You can see more of his work on his Instagram.
At its core, Tapigami is the art of applying imagination to rolls of tape. Any kind of tape – but mostly masking tape. (website)

The BPC community is invited to learn, too!  Come join us at the upcoming Art Exhibit where 7th graders will have a booth were they will teach others the art of Tapigami!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rotational Geometry

In a seventh grade math class, the students explored the geometry of motion. They looked at line symmetry, rotational symmetry, translations, and reflections. The students applied this knowledge to create art with their names. The combination of symmetry and the nature of the motion, created beautiful abstract tiles. Can you read the names embedded in each tile?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

8th Graders win International Year of Crystallography Video Contest!

This morning, our Black Pine Circle work at the Advanced Light Source was featured in the ALS monthly newsletter.  

After a busy year of learning about x-rays, conducting experiments at the ALS, and even visiting the White House, some of the budding scientists from local middle school, Black Pine Circle, have created and submitted videos based on their experiments to the International Year of Crystallography 2014 USA/Canada Video Contest. Their work, showing the experiments they conducted on ALS Beamlines 12.2.2 and 8.3.2, can be seen here:

Voting on winning entries concluded December 31, we will let you know who won in the next issue.

Just a few moments later, the International Year of Crystallography video contest (open to K-12 Students in the USA and Canada) announced their winners!  Black Pine Circle students placed three times!  The Second Place award goes to Black Pine Circle School for Sam and Flynn’s video on their experiment at the ALS and Sam W’s (crystallization experiment) and Jane, Abe and Daniel (video on scanning paper samples at the ALS) all received honorable mentions!

You can visit the contest page view all the videos, or you can watch the ALS-specific videos embedded below!  Congrats to all the 8th graders who participated!

Scanning Paper Samples at the Advanced Light Source
Jane, Daniel, Abe

Our Crystallography Experiment at the Advanced Light Source
Sam & Flynn

Monday, June 30, 2014

BPC Maker Club at the First-Ever White House Maker Faire!

On June 18th, 2014, two now 8th grade students (Jane & Sam) and I (science teacher) had the wonderful opportunity to attend the first ever White House Maker Faire.  Our invitation came as a result of our proposal describing our work with the Advanced Light Source earlier this school year, where we used high energy xrays to scan small samples, then 3D-printed them out many times their actual size.  (Feel free to check out the ALS news briefs following our adventures from the initial student field experience, through the Maker Faire results and our invitation to the White House!)


I want to begin by recognizing the many people in addition to Jane and Sam that our invitation recognizes.  Thanks to:
  • Dula Parkinson, Beamline Scientist, for patiently mentoring me during my IISME summer 2013 internship and having the vision to design and implement our November 2013 ALS experience, as well as his continued support through the data analysis / printing process.
  • Howard Padmore, BPC parent and ALS Division Deputy for Experimental Systems Group, for his role in organizing the 7th grade trip, as well as his encouragement to apply to the White House Maker Faire.
  • Justin Blair, scientist, for his help with data visualization and his 3D printer assistance.
  • The Maker Club (again) for a very successful debut at the San Mateo Maker Faire in May 2014, especially to those 7th graders (Flynn, Abe, Alexander, Jane, Daniel, Sam, Kyra and Emily) who volunteered their time at our booth.  Also, Gigi, Alex, and Luka (all 6th grade) and Isaac (8th grade) for their help.
  • Finally, those BPC students who spent long, sometimes frustrating hours with our initial 3D printer back in 2010, which was far more finicky that our current machines: especially Adam (BPC Class of 2013) and Cole, Noah and Daniel (BPC Class of 2014)

I am sure we are leaving folks off this list, but the point is that the kids (and their teacher!) did not accomplish this on their own and we are grateful for the opportunities for collaboration we have experienced along the way.


The excitement began exactly one week before the Maker Faire.  We received the email (below) 6 days prior to the event with scant details beyond we were invited and the event would occur sometime on Wednesday, June 18th.  In addition, we were asked not to discuss our participation until the morning of the event.  I've since learned this is how things roll with White House Events.  

Two days before the Faire, we received clarification that as "honored makers" we were able to attend the event, but we would not be presenting our project. Well, that certainly made packing easier!

Once the event was underway, we were thrilled to learn that President Obama officially declared June 18th a National Day of Making! Watch his speech below (or read the text here.)

There were about 30 makers set up throughout the White House's east wing.  Some of our favorites included MaKey MaKey, Squishy Circuits, the crowd-pleasing Robotic Giraffe, and LittleBits. 


You can read the full version about our trip on our Maker Club blog by visiting BPC's Day at the White House Maker Faire.

Here's our media roundup re: our White House Maker Faire experience:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sewable Electronics in 7th Grade

We wrapped up our inaugural year of making with special guest, Tenaya Hurst, who brought sewable electronics to our classroom.

Here are some photos of the process:

Here are some photos of our final results:

Read more on Ms. Mytko's post on her blog, Post-Its and Ponderings.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BPC Maker Club at the Maker Faire

The BPC Maker Club had a booth at the San Mateo Maker Faire last weekend, showcasing the work of the 7th grade science class: 3D printing data scanned at the Advanced Light Source.  (For more information, you can read more about the original projectfollow the latest ALS-tagged blog posts on our Maker Club blog, or read the most recent ALS news feature.)

The Maker Faire is a "a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement" and this year's flagship faire brought together over 1100 makers of all ages.   The Maker Club was thrilled that we were placed in the 3D printing section rather than in the Young Makers tent.  We don't know why this happened, but it gave the students an opportunity to network with some big names in 3D printing such as Formlabs, Ultimaker and Type A Machines.  In fact Sam, a 7th grader, was even inspired to engage eight different companies in a friendly competition of printing our eggshell file!

We are also grateful to Brook Drumm, Founder of Printrbot, for generously donating a new Printrbot Simple to us just a few days before the faire.  Brook was the one who helped us get started with 3D printing back in December 2011, and it is always a pleasure to stop by his booth and hear about what he is working on next!

Sam, Brook, Alexander

The kids did a great job and were awarded an "Editor's Choice" blue ribbon for demonstrating great creativity, ingenuity and innovation, and a "Best in Class" red ribbon in the Education division.

Congrats to the entire 7th grade class for the recognition of their work, especially to Flynn, Abe, Alexander, Jane, Daniel, Sam, Kyra and Emily, who worked the Maker Faire booth.  (Also, a shoutout to Gigi, Alex, and Luka (all 6th grade) and Isaac (8th grade) for showing up as representatives of Maker Club!)

Here are just a  couple of pictures from the faire.  Please visit our Flickr page (tag: makerfaire) for more!

And finally, it was exciting to have three functional 3D printers up and running all at the same time.  


If you find 3D printers as fascinating as we do, you may want to check out our blog, Tales of a 3D Printer, "like" us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ducks in 7th Grade Science

(To be continued… this is just a draft 5.14.14) 
Embryology is an important part of life science. 

After 28 days of eager anticipation, six ducklings hatched.  They started off quite small.

At first, they used a paint tray for swimming.


As they got bigger, they graduated to a metal bucket. 


Finally, they were getting too big for their brooder… 

Finally, it was necessary to take drastic measures.

A final swim… 


Along the way, we enjoyed our time with the ducks.