Sunday, October 10, 2010

mud + electricity = ??

on Friday, my colleague Adam Shiverdecker and i started a workshop collaboration between students enrolled in the Architectural Ceramics class and the Digital Multimedia (read PhysComp.) class. the idea sprung from Adam's observation that i desired my students to think more about design, fabrication, and presentation and Adam's desire to see his students add kinetics and interaction to the methodologies he was teaching.

at 10:00, we jetted from the faculty meeting to start. Adam set up the teams; he had all members trade contact info with all their teammates I was of course assisted by my two trusty henchmen (ok... lab assistants) Dan McSwain and Juan Rodriguez. additionally Carleton Haack from the ceramics department jumped in form his side and they deftly assisted me in getting kits out to each student group and setting up electrical for the soldering.

the students were furnished with schematics, drawings, and keys to all the components of the Quickly bot1 2. my PhysComp. students took the lead teaching their team members about soldering technique, circuitry, and components whilst Dan, Juan and i patrolled looking for questions and assisting in small ways. the group hummed with small conversations about the methods of using simple techniques to learn basic electronics.

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

as the first hour and a half drew to a close, one or two teams (of 13) had a fully function circuit exhibiting the light following behavior. and after a ten minute break Adam took the reins and held a hour demo of the slip casting methods. it was the bomb! my students helped a bit when he needed and extra hand and they were suitably intrigued about the ideas about making a complex body for the Quickly. and they got a good idea of the process of going from model to mold to casting.

we ended the workshop with the blueprint of how we wanted them to progress. they have 4 weeks until the 2nd workshop:
  1. by next Friday they will have a model of the structure they will use in the project.

  2. they will make a cast of the design next weekend because the mold needs one week to cure before casting

  3. on the 3rd week they will cast and fire slip castings from the mold

  4. on the 4th week they will present a working model and we will do robot races :D

  5. by finals week everyone of the team will have their own edition of the project

i believe our small experimental equation is going to bear out ceramics + digital = teh awesome, but we shall see.

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