Kinetics FSB 2016 Photos
Our Kinetic Sculpture club entered the 18th Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race sponsored by the American Visionary Arts Museum with a golden chariot steered by a unicorn and powered by human centurions called “Wasn’t Built in a Day.”
Under the leadership of Lucretia Field ’16, our team lived up to the motto” “we came, we saw, we… almost made it to the water checkpoint!!”. A breakdown on Pratt Street ended the conquest of the Roman legions but not before acknowledging with pride that we made it way past any previous Friends School entry and outperformed several other entries in this epic race!
I graduated from FS in 1970 and have worked at the US Naval Academy for 36 years as a Modelmaker and Project Support Branch Head. What I really do, is act as a mentor, craftsman, teacher, and resource for Midshipmen Engineering students. Every Engineering student here at Navy is involved in a Capstone Project and our Technical Support facility builds with and for them, all manner of stuff – from satellites that are presently in space to World Record holding human powered Submarines, Towing Tank models, Wind Tunnel models, Robotic devices that roll, fly and float and who knows what that will walk in the door tomorrow! We have a Composites/Wood shop, Machine shop, Sheet Metal/ Weld shop and 3-D printing shop, all using some of the latest technology in CNC manufacturing using both traditional and digital tools.
I have some pretty firm opinions on the real value of hands on, creative Engineering. As a Fine Arts major in College who has found a place in the Engineering world, I have a unique perspective on how the Arts and values of form, perspective, and balance can merge with fundamental Engineering. My personal journey went from Friends, to a Fine Arts Degree from the College of Wooster (Drawing and Printmaking) to a very demanding Apprenticeship in an Industrial setting as a Patternmaker (making precision patterns and molds for non ferrous castings and specializing on large scale Towing Tank models – as large as 25′ long, to a long career as a craftsman/teacher, in an Educational/ Military environment.
So…I was very pleased to see that Friends School has recognized the value of creating- in a hands on fashion, for those students who find that outlet satisfying. It has been sadly lacking and unrecognized for a long time as an educational experience and I see every day here at the USNA, how much the students (especially Engineers) enjoy and profit from building things.
Kids today seem to crave the experience of making something once they realize that it is important and doesn’t condemn them to “trade school”. Linking it to it’s natural ally with the Arts makes it even more valuable. The spark of creation where you go to sleep thinking of what you made, mentally constructing the next steps and the rush to get back to it the next day is akin to what an artist feels as his painting progresses.
Ben Jones graduated from Friends in 2009. You could often find him playing Chess in Junior hall or editing video in the computer lab. From Friends, Ben went onto MIT to major in Comparative Media Studies being sure to take every game related course offered. Since college, he has worked on several games independently and will be bringing his first card game to market in the coming year.
Ben spoke to the Upper School during collection on the history of the board game Monopoly as a way to discuss the foundations of game design. Later in the day Ben held a workshop where students were able to quickly design, prototype and test a new game. The group centered on the basic rule set for Tic-Tac-Toe and expanded on the game with new rules. It was a blast and the students had over 20 different new rules that could be added to the traditional set as needed.
Almost three years ago, teachers in the lower school introduced the concept of Genius Time to third and fourth graders. For about 45 minutes each week, the children are allowed to follow their passions and research a subject that interests them. Children reported about whales and digestive systems and planets. This year we tried to open up Genius Time projects a bit, moving away from the more traditional research projects and encouraging social service projects that impacted the community as well as open-ended investigations, focusing on process as much as product. We encouraged the kids to think big. Some of the third graders decided that they wanted to build robots to help the community in ways such as picking up trash.
With the wonderful help of the Maker Space Program Coordinator and students from the Robotics Club, Kyle Spawn and Brent Calabresi, the kids are proficiently working with drills and safely glasses and nuts and bolts. It has been a terrific learning experience: the kids feel so capable and adept. They look forward to their time in the maker space eagerly each week.
2016 Earth Day Keynote: Mary Mattingly
This years 2016 Earth Day Keynote speaker, Mary Mattingly shared her artistic process and practice with Upper School and Middle School students followed by a hands on learning session where students build prototypes of grey water filtration system in the the Upper School Maker Space. Her visit is a major milestone in the schools commitment to fostering STEAM education within the community.
Mattingly, explores the themes of home, travel, cartography, and humans’ relationships with each other, with the environment, with machines, and with corporate and political entities. She has been recognized for creating photographs and sculptures depicting and representing futuristic and obscure landscapes, for making wearable sculpture, “wearable homes,” and for her ecological installations, including the Waterpod (2009). Her current Project Swale NY is in the beginning stages and looks to be an exciting project. Check it out! Swale New york
Interview with Inventor Max sharing his invention and future work:
Cynthia L. Fox Barney: How did your design for the phonograph come about?
Max: Well, I felt like designing something. First I made a large airplane out of cardboard but that fell apart. Then I thought about Thomas Edison and I got my answer. I thought about this object and where the wires needed to go. I was close to failing but just kept working and working. I didn’t make the horn for my phonograph because it wouldn’t fit in my box. I purchased several items at Michael’s and then used items I had at home too.
Cynthia L. Fox Barney: What would you like to design next?
Max: Well, I like the designer Thomas Anderson but I would like to create a safer Titanic. I think his design was pretty good but not for the passengers. I think my ship would be more electronic. Of course, for the design I would have four smoke stacks like the original ship.