FabFriday: From Snow Forts to Bees, First Graders Design with Fab@School Maker Studio

Welcome to FabFriday, a blog series that highlights Fab@School Maker Studio in the classroom. For this week's FabFriday we meet Karen Wolff's first grade class at the Boyden School in Walpole, Ma. This post first appeared on Mrs. Wolff's blog, The Wolff Den


What a fun week we had building a snow fort! The idea started by exploring with Fab@School Maker Studio software on our Chromebooks.  We experimented with different shapes and connected them. From there, we learned how to make 3-D solids. We were going to create a snow village with our solids, but instead decided to build a snow fort!  We started by creating cubes with the Fab@School Maker Studio, but found that they were too small to build with. We even tried gluing magnets in the cubes to make they stick together, but in the end decided on choosing another solid – rectangular prisms. We went back to the Chromebooks and figured out how to create them and then built our snow fort!


We also created snowflakes to use with the Bee-Bots.


Speaking of bees, we read a story about Honey Bees this week. We learned about the long “u” sound and the two sounds “y” can make at the end of a word. For example, in the word “sunny,” the “y” sound like an “e," but in the word, “fly,” the “y” sounds like an “i.” We also talked about the life cycle of honey bees. We diagramed the bee life cycle using Kid Pix and learned about the anatomy of a bee by creating them with the Fab@School Maker Studio.

In math, we are working with fact families. We learned that all fact families have  three numbers. We can make two addition sentences and two subtraction sentences with the same three numbers.

In social studies we’ve been learning about oceans and continents. We know there are different kinds of land, like plains and mountains and different types of water, like rivers and lakes. We also talked about natural resources like water and wood.

How is your classroom using Fab@School Maker Studio? We'd love to share YOUR tips and ideas! For more FabFriday posts, click here. Try out some or all of these techniques in the Winter Design ChallengeSend your photos to Patrick@FableVisionLearning.com for a chance to have them featured on the next FabFriday!

FabFriday: Engineering with Classroom Materials

Welcome to FabFriday, a blog series that highlights tips and tricks for using Fab@School Maker Studio. Fab@ School Maker Studio is a web-based digital fabrication software tool that creates a more accessible, comfortable onramp for teachers to introduce STEM learning to their students. Each week we'll be posting ideas about using different materials, design tips, and construction techniques to help you offer even more fab learning to your students. 

Paperclip? check! 
Straw? Check!
Popsicle stick? Check!

Wondering about this week’s FabFriday checklist? Check!

In past FabFriday posts, we’ve explored different techniques such as working with shapes, adding color, and learning about different kinds of paper. While paper construction is versatile and surprisingly robust, with a little creativity it’s possible to engineer even more, like inventions that animate and go places, by using materials found in your classroom!

Fasteners: Brads, Paper Clips, Staples, Binder Clips

There are all sorts of fasteners that come in handy when engineering Fab@School Maker Studio projects. Brads (brass paper fasteners) are great for linking pieces of paper through a shared hole, and you can even create rotating or hinging parts. Paper clips can be used to join edges of paper, add weight, and when bent can be used to create unique metal elements. Staples are another way to join together paper, especially in a design that requires a lot of strength.

 I used paper clips when designing my trebuchet catapult, bending them around to create a release pin on the end of the throwing arm.

See it in action! Prototype 3 trebuchet created in Fab@School Maker Studio. #fabmakerstudio #createbravely #itworks #maker

A video posted by FableVision Learning (@fablelearn) on

Engineering in Action
Fab@School Maker Studio was demonstrated at the 2016 National Technology Leadership Summit in Washington, DC during a Making & Storytelling workshop. 

An example of the laser cut articulated figure created in Fab@School Maker Studio for the Making & Storytelling workshop.

Participants were introduced to the linear motor invention kit developed and piloted in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and in the Laboratory School for Advanced Manufacturing. Through this activity, workshop attendees used laser cut images - created in and exported through Fab@School- to construct a moving articulated figure that expanded upon the paper version.

Give it a try at home! These paper figures use brads as joints so the soccer player can kick and the basketball player can move both her arms and make the shot! Hop into Fab@School Maker Studio and try this project with library images. 

Supports: Paper/Plastic Straws, Popsicle Sticks, Splints, Dowels

If there is something that you want to build that is challenging to construct entirely out of paper, try and find materials that you can use to strengthen it. Popsicle sticks and wood splints can be used as ribs in between layers of paper to create thin and strong constructions, as well as for constructing frames to build off of.

Straws and dowels are fantastic tubular supports that are light and strong. They also make great axles for wheels, gears, and lever fulcrums. Check out the dowels in the underbelly of this STEAM-Infused STELLA Solar car. This construction allows the wheels to freely rotate while remaining very strong. 

Try combining all or some of these techniques together to fully utilize all of your resources! I used both paper straws and brads to construct this wind-powered pinwheel. What can you combine together with Fab@School Maker Studio?

Look around your classroom and see what ideas spring up from your surroundings! A designer’s environment is a constant inspiration, and finding new materials fuels the inventiveness of creativity.

In future posts, we'd love to share YOUR tips and ideas about how your'e using Fab@School Maker Studio. For more FabFriday posts, click here. Try out some or all of these techniques in the Winter Design ChallengeSend your photos to Patrick@FableVisionLearning.com for a chance to have them featured on the next FabFriday!

Young engineers at CU Science Discovery light up the holidays with Fab@School Maker Studio

At FableVision Learning we are so excited to hear how our creative classroom tools are being used. Stacey Forsyth, Ph.D., Director, CU Science Discovery, recently shared a bit about some young engineers who used Fab@School Maker Studio to design pop-up cards.

Over the holiday break, some creative young designers spent two days at CU Science Discovery in Boulder, Colorado, designing electrifying holiday cards.

First, the students used FableVision Learning’s Fab@School Maker Studio to design cards that could be cut and folded in specific ways.

Then by sending the designs to a Silhouette Cameo, a digital craft cutter, they were able to cut and perforate their designs.

After a few introductory activities to explore the basics of circuits, designers used copper tape and LEDs to light up their cards! For some tips on creating paper circuits, check out this tutorial from our friends at Spark Fun

After designing, cutting, folding, and lighting the lights, students had a chance to add on any final touches using an assortment of colorful craft materials.

Their finished products were simply illuminating!

How are your student’s using Fab@School Maker Studio? We would love to hear from you. Send an email to the team at info@fablevisionlearning.com.