Getting the chance to experience new and innovative projects is an amazing opportunity, and one that occurs for anyone that walks through Mater Dei Prep’s Makerspace. Recently, Seraph students invited and safely welcomed six 8th grade Saint Mary School students to visit and explore our Makerspace. This haven for creative minds houses robotic design kits, 3D printing machines, and many more advanced resources. Five experienced Mater Dei Prep students assisted educator and innovator, Mr. Edward Brown in demonstrating and explaining the wonders that the Mater Dei Prep Makerspace and courses within it have to offer. The Saint Mary’s students viewed a video on FRC Robotics, an international high school robotics competition that Mater Dei Prep students compete in. The visitors learned of numerous offerings and opportunities that come with being a part of the MDP Robotics Program. They spoke about the difference between the courses and the Robotics Club, and the different levels of kits for each student to use and experiment with as they progress in the program. The Mater Dei Prep students then showed off the chemistry lab, where they were able to demonstrate their latest completed creation, the "Ruben’s Tube". This project safely uses fire as a visual effect of Sine/Cosine waves in relation to sound. When music is played the flames "dance" out of the holes drilled into the metal tube.
To close out the engaging experience, students and Mr. Brown addressed the concept of rapid prototyping. He demonstrated the variance of the concept using additive processes such as 3D printing and then the negative process of laser wood cutting, both of the machines are available for student use in the Makerspace. Each student was then assisted by an MDP club member to begin a project. Some students created a Tinker Cad account or learned to upload a photo to Glow Forge; both programs are used by MDP Robotics students. The initial download and sign- up process takes time, as does the creation process for hands-on learning experiences such as what is offered through the Robotics Program. Saint Mary’s students with their MDP Counterparts ended their initial meeting at a great starting point for the next meeting. The feedback from both sets of students was positive and filled with enthusiasm for future collaboration. The Saint Mary’s students were not only impressed with seeing the Makerspace’s resources, but were truly engaged in the experiencing and creating of individual projects with their High School counterparts; the experience was memorable for all in attendance! The added bonus to the day’s adventures was a socially-distanced pizza and soda party, where students got to know each other better. Of course, they were all excited to speak more about future projects and learn what MDP Robotics had accomplished in the past! A special thank you to Mr. Palmer, Ms. Serafin, Mr. Brown for arranging this unique and interactive experience. Thank you to the six Saint Mary students who joined our Seraphs for this fun day, we cannot wait to see what you continue to create as you return to our Makerspace both now as a partner and in the future as a Seraph!