Project Cornhole

Students in the Art Technology Media and Design (ATMD, Fall 2017) worked in pairs to create sets of collapsible cornhole boards that adhered to American Cornhole Organization standards. Here are some images from the build:

This project was a lot of fun. Students learned how to use the shop tools to create their boards. They also learned how to sew to create the bags. Each pair developed the design for the faces of the boards using vector drawing tools and applied the designs using vinyl cut stencils and paint. The design constraints presented many challenges.

ACO Approved Boards:
1. Hardwood plywood playing surface measuring 47.5” to 48” x 23.5” to 24”.
2. The playing surface has a minimum thickness of 1/2” with cross-section backing, or 3/4” with or without cross-section backing.
3. Each Board in a set should weigh no less than 25 lbs.
4. Each hole is 6” diameter, centered 9” from the top of the board and centered from each side edge.
5. The front of the board is 3” to 4” from the ground to the top of the playing surface.
6. The back of the board is 12” from the ground to the top of the playing surface.
7. The playing surface should be finished – sanded to a very smooth texture. There should be little to no blemishes in the wood surface that may disrupt or distort play.
8. The playing surface can be painted with a high gloss latex paint or varnish. The surface should allow bags to slide when thrown, but not be so slippery that the bags slide back down the platform.
• ACO Approved Bags
• Each bag is made from two fabric squares with double-stitched seaming.
• The bags should be made from a durable fabric like canvas, twill, or synthetic suede.
• Each bag measures roughly 6” by 6” and weighs 15 to 16 ounces.
for more information about cornhole:

Robotics Club

Hey Everyone! The Robotics Club will be hosting a Programming Session in the Maker Space (US 115). No Experience Needed! We encourage all who are curious about how to program robots to attend. Come and enjoy the wonders of engineering with us on Friday! For more information or to RSVP, email Imani White at

Perhaps fiddling on computers doesn’t suit your fancy? Well don’t you worry! On the same day, Robotics Club will also be hosting a Building Session too!  No Experience Needed for this one either! You can learn the basic of building a robot’s chassis or refresh your skills with some fun little tinkering projects.  For more information or to RSVP, email Daniel Gittelsohn at


We highly encourage our Middle School friends to join us!

Hope to see you there!

A good listen: “The Maker Movement”- Future City

Future City on WYPR

In this episode, Wes explores how Baltimore is working to keep pace with the burgeoning Maker Movement, a lifestyle and philosophy based on the idea that a do-it-yourself attitude changes lives for the better. Is the movement really all its proponents say it’s cracked up to be?  Or is it leaving women and the disadvantaged on the sidelines? MAY 12, 2017

Guests on this episode include:

Dale Dougherty, founder of Make Magazine and creator of Maker Faire

Mark Hatch, author of The Maker Movement Manifesto and creator of TechShop

Debbie Chachra, professor of Engineering at Olin College of Engineering, and author of the Atlantic article, Why I Am Not a Maker.

Dana Johnson, managing director of the Reinvestment Fund, a national leader in providing funding for neighborhood revitalization.

Stefano Vellone, artisan guitar maker renting space from Open Works in Baltimore. Stefano also teaches woodworking classes at Open Works and the Station North Tool Library.

Shawn Grimes, Executive Director of Digital Harbor Foundation, an after-school space that fosters learning, creativity, productivity, and innovation.

UMD programming competition / Friends School Programming Team

I would like to invite anyone interested in being a part of Friends School Programming Team to join us at 11:35 tomorrow in SM 112. We will be briefly discussing essential logistics and what the UMD programming competition entails.

The University of Maryland High School Programming Contest brings talented students from high schools throughout the DC metropolitan area to the campus. Contestants participate in a three hour competition which will test their programming skills and problem solving abilities. Each high school is allowed to send one team of four contestants; contestants must be students currently attending that high school.

In case you don’t know, every Spring, Friends School sends four students to compete against other regional schools at College Park by solving problems related to Java programming. Weekly practices start in the fall and students trying out must have already taken or current be taking Java by next school year. For more information, you can visit the competition website or feel free to contact me, Nathan Kapsin, or Mr. Heath.  Best Regards, Richard



Two steps forward, one step back-Vespa Club

This week was very busy for the Upper School Vespa Club. With only a few remaining club meeting times and many things on still on the build list, the pressure is on. This week the club completed the following engine rebuild tasks: Gear Shaft install, Crank install with seals prepared, Primary Gear install and the Clutch basket and layshaft gear install. This was followed by the clutch cover being attached to the engine case and the rear brake system installation followed by the main reah hub.  WOW!  about 4 hours of  total work time this week. Only one setback today.  A piston ring snapped during the install of the Cylinder head! We also put it on upsidedown….  Time to order a new one and FAST!

piston ring snap

Mr Barnes


Upper School Robotics building seminar


This Friday 5/12/17

From 3:45 – 4:45

Come to the Upper School Robotics building seminar. 

No experience necessary.  If you like to make things and want to learn how to build with aluminum and nuts and bolts, all are welcome!

Just come on down to the Maker Space, across from the girls’ bathroom in freshmen hall.

8th graders welcome, especially if you may be interested in joining Robotics next year!


Kinetic Sculpture Club for the WIN!


A cold, windy, and soggy day did not deter the stalwart team of Friends School kinetinauts who braved the elements, stiff competition from almost 30 other teams, and a few engineering challenges to not only compete in but conquer the 19th Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race hosted by the American Visionary Arts Museum.  The story really begins last spring when our team’s entry “Wasn’t Built in a Day” failed to make it to the water and mud features when the Roman chariot we had designed and built collapsed in front of the Baltimore Aquarium.  That setback put our team on a renewed and more dedicated path to build a structure that could complete the course this year.  Many Sunday afternoons throughout the fall and winter, Pace Schwarz, Carter Ruffin, Mr. Field (dad of Lucretia ’16), and I spent sketching, prototyping, researching, and consulting Mr. Field’s 1950s-era textbook on Linear Algebra.  We settled on a design (seen in these photos), that would be both street-worthy and able to handle the mud, sand, and water.  With a team of artists and painters on Earth Day putting the finishing touches on the two iconic Quaker Oats cans which doubled as our pontoons,  our sculpture showed a lot of Quaker pride and conformed to the race’s theme “Food.”  On race day, we welcomed the heroic return of Lucretia Field, fresh off her first year at Northeastern, who, with her mom, added the oat field and sock creature scarecrow and the breakfast table of oatmeal and coffee, and baked a batch of fresh oatmeal cookies with which to bribe the judges (an accepted and expected part of the Kinetic Race subculture).  Mrs. McManus carried those cookies all day and did a wonderful job “greasing” the judges and Kinetic Kops to earn favors and avoid tickets.



Our race began successfully and we navigated the loop around Federal Hill and the cross country course around the Inner Harbor, passing other teams and only having to stop to remount our barrels a few times.  The cobblestone circle of Harbor East gave our sculpture some trouble and knocked one of our rear wheels out of alignment, forcing Pace to dismount and run/push along for the last 2 miles before the water station.  The launch into the Inner Harbor requires the team to navigate around the Canton pier and the crowd was entertained by our near-capsizing due to the fore and aft oscillation.  A few mouthfuls of Inner Harbor water later, Pace and Carter changed into dry clothes (and refueled with a soft serve ice cream cone), and we were off to Patterson Park and the sand and mud elements.  The sand pit proved no match for our hearty kinetinauts now brimming with confidence and they cruised easily through that challenge.  Only one element remained: the mud—a 30 yard long, 10 foot wide slurry of thick mud and grime  on an incline.  At this point, Nick De Vinne jumped on to provide fresh legs (and since Pace had to leave soon for play practice) and Carter and I provided rear thrust. Pace and Nick gave Oatmeals on Wheels a 40 yard “running start” and, despite Carter losing a shoe in the mud, we conquered the mud monster!


The last leg of the race was a steady downhill course from the Patterson Park pagoda, down Lombard Street, and back to the AVAM finish line.  Rolling through neighborhoods, many of which held impromptu block parties to cheer on the race, was a victory lap of sorts for our team.  Nick and Carter crossed the tape, muddy, tired, but in tact and brimming with confidence/relief about six hours after launching from that spot earlier that morning.


Special note: Carter raced the entire day with his Blammo spoon!  After 2 unsuccessful campaigns in previous years, we took a huge step forward for Kinetic Sculpture Club and now know what it takes to reach the summit. Icing on the cake: at the award ceremony, our team was awarded the Judges Fill-in-the-Blank Award, given to the team the judges deem worthy of some award (see photo).  The Grand Mediocre Prize, the most coveted award, is given to the team that finishes smack dab in the middle.  In a true illustration of the old bromide that much of life is “simply showing up” we were awarded the trophy when the first team that the judges wanted to give it to, did not even stay for the ceremony!  Our Quaker pride impressed the judges, one of whom attended Earlham College and whenever he saw us throughout the race, chanted the Earlham College fight song:  “Fight, fight, inner light! Kill, Quakers, kill! Beat ’em, kick ’em, knock ’em senseless! Do we really have consensus?”  He liked our cookies too.



Kinetic Sculpture Club will begin planning for next year—the 20th Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race.  New members are welcome!

Mr. McManus

Kinetic Sculpture Race!

If you find yourself with some free time on Saturday and looking for something fun and uniquely Baltimore to do, please come down to the American Visionary Arts Museum’s Kinetic Sculpture Race.  Our team, piloted by Pace Schwarz ‘19 and Carter Ruffin ‘19, will be competing with their entry “Oatmeals on Wheels”- a tribute to Quaker pride and feeding the hungry and homebound of Baltimore to coincide with the theme of “Food” for this year’s race– the 19th annual running of the kinetic sculptures.  The race begins at 10:00 am at AVAM as over 30 teams compete for the Grand Mediocre Champion (the team that finishes smack in the middle) and other design awards.


Urban Forest Preservation delivers!

After a semester long partnership with The Friends of Springfield Woods, students in Mr Carlin’s Urban Forest Preservation course delivered their contrubution to the efforts to restore and preserve the forested area.

“The process of bundling these benches was the highlight of the class for my students.  They were so engaged and eager to produce quality work for Springfield Woods and Baltimore Greenspace.  I am so proud of them for their efforts.”

Mr. Carlin


The Friends of the Springfield Woods is a group of concerned residents who are preserving and restoring the forested area called The Springfield Woods located in the historic Wilson Park neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.

Wooded area_4201 St Georges Ave_overview