This year the French American International School developed FAIS Creates, an after-school maker club. Over the course of the year, our group of 15 students in grades 6-8 completed a variety of hands-on projects, including work with Arduino, sewing and crafting, robotics, and fabrication. Next fall, our school will unveil a new maker lab, and FAIS Creates is
excited about the opportunities that will become available
in this new space.
You can keep up with all our club happenings on our
Our first project was a silk-screened glow-in-the-dark
hooded sweatshirt wired with electro-luminescent (EL)
tape. Next, we experimented with Arduino, an electronics
prototyping platform. In addition to learning how circuits
work, we messed around with servo motors, multicolored
LED’s, shift registers, and heat and light sensors.
Arduinos became our robots’ “brains” for our next project, a robot constructed out of coffee cans. To do the wiring, we had to learn how to solder. This was many students’
Maker Culture Debuts at French American
JASON SELLERS, ACADEMIC TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR
first experience soldering, but we got through it with only
one burned finger.
Field trip! After the completion of our coffee bots, we
took a field trip to TechShop, a 17,000-square-foot workshop and prototyping studio here in San Francisco, where
we laser-etched chocolate bars. While we were there,
we visited Type A Machines, a company that designs and
manufactures 3D printers.
For our final project this year, we are building FM
transmitters that will allow us to broadcast music from an
iPhone to a radio. We are learning all about radio broadcast
frequencies, how they are transmitted and received. We are
also diving deeper into electronics, this time assembling our
own circuit boards from scratch.
A couple items on the agenda for next year are kite
building and disassembling a lawnmower engine to learn
how internal combustion engines work.
This article was also published on the National Association
of Independent Schools Inspiration Lab website on
May 2, 2014