30 September 2015

Designing the I.C.E. Lab—From Me to We

We just completed our first full month of our I.C.E. Lab class. I thought it would be good to provide a little update of some of our progress. The goal again is for students to be a part of the whole process, to own every aspect of this space, right from the beginning. So we did not start with a pre-made, pre-setup, pre-designed space. We are doing it from scratch, and hacking and problem-solving as we go along.

Problem 1 | Project 1: Design the Space

The first Problem we needed to work on, since we started with an empty space and a bunch of new technology, was:

How Do I/We Design a Creative Space?

The goal was to get the students thinking about the design process by getting them to start with what we have, think about what we may need, and categorize our inventory list in a way that would help create different micro-environments within our space. 

Students had to come up with their own ideas first, then the problem moved from "I" to "We." 

To facilitate this, we needed to start our first project:

Design our I.C.E. Lab

We tried to use some principles from Creative Confidence by David Kelley and Tom Kelley to help us. We also used some ideas from NoTosh.com to help with the prototype process (specifically the 1 Hour Prototype).

What did we find out from this process? Well over a month in, and we are still the process of setting everything up! We have had to beg, borrow, and "steal" to get extra furniture and supplies. Instead of being able to focus exclusively on setting up the Lab within the first few weeks, we have instead had to start and stop many times on specific goals because of the realities of living and working within a system that has constraints. And a school is a system with many constraints!


We were told we cannot permanently modify the space in any way, which has become a good problem to hack around.

We were not given a budget so the students had to come up with one and set-up a meeting with the director to ask for one.

We were not given any storage so a few of the students were tasked with coming up with the measurements of a prototype cabinet to present to the director.

Our DIY 3D printer was missing parts so we have had to mothball our biggest project until we can get the missing parts shipped to us.

We initially attempted to create a few different micro-environments (as suggested by the Kelley bros) but found the space had limitations (like outlets and not modifying) so we have more or less put that goal on hold.

The space only has one outlet so there is a maximum of one station that can have electronic equipment plugged in. Our current hack is to try to get maintenance to use the existing and unused projector mount connection to create a hanging, retractable ceiling outlet.

We have a Problem/Project of effectively sharing and communicating our ideas with various audiences. We have created a class blog structure but the idea has yet to take off.

Some students are not as into programming and robotics as others so they have had more difficulty finding projects to start now that we are not focusing on designing the space and the 3D printer.

18 September 2015

#tokfriday: Sense Perception, Bias, and #IStandWithAhmed


On Monday morning, September 14th, Ahmed Mohamed, a 14 year-old freshman in Irving, Texas, was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school. The clock was deemed to be a suspicious item and Ahmed was subsequently handcuffed and brought to a juvenile detention facility where he was held on possible charges of making a ". On Wednesday, the Irving Police Department decided to drop the charges related to making a hoax bomb. The school gave Ahmed a three day suspension. The incident brought wide-spread media coverage, with many finding an explicit case of bias, stereotyping, racial profiling, and Islamaphobia. 

The KQ

Other TOK Links

Reason, Intuition, Human Sciences, History

The Short Article

Muslim ninth grader arrested for bringing an electronics project to school

Further Reading

Project Implicit

White kid builds nuclear reactor and Homeland Security offers help

This Is Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock

7 Kids Not Named Mohamed Who Brought Homemade Clocks to School And Didn't Get Arrested

Ahmed Mohamed swept up, 'hoax bomb' charges swept away as Irving teen's story floods social media

Ahmed Mohamed's arrest is the perfect example of why racial profiling doesn't work

04 September 2015

#tokfriday: Perception, Emotion, Art, and #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik


On Wednesday, September 2nd, an image of a drowned little boy, dressed in bright red t-shirt and jeans shorts, washed up on a prime tourist beach in Turkey shocked social media and the world. The boy was on a refugee boat attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to reach the Greek island of Kos. Over the past past few months tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have attempted to flee the civil war tearing apart their homeland. 

The KQ

Other TOK Links

Reason, Ethics, History

The Short Article

These photos will change how the world sees the Syrian refugee crisis

Further Reading

David Cameron: UK to accept 'thousands' more Syrian refugees

Troubling image of drowned boy captivates, horrifies

Nilufer Demir, the photographer who awakened our conscience
Syria, Europe, and the Boy on the Beach

#tokfriday: Ethics, Reason, Emotion, and #HurricaneKatrina


The last week of August marked the 10th anniversary of the costliest natural disaster in United States history: Hurricane Katrina. On August 29th, 2005 Hurricane Katrina reached the coast of the southeastern United States. The city of New Orleans was especially hit hard. The levee system of the city completely failed, flooding approximately 80% of the city, stranding thousands of people and making rescue efforts near impossible.

The KQ

Other TOK Links

Bias, Intuition, Natural Sciences, 

The Short Article/Video

Watch first

Then Read
When Hope Turns to Anguish

Classroom PDF (abridged version with prompt)

(note: I've used these materials--the video and abridged article--as a moral dilemma for 6 years, and they work great together every time)

Further Reading

Emergency department triage: an ethical analysis