Spotlight on the Bryan Innovation Lab

Students in classes across the Middle and Upper School make trips to the Bryan Innovation Lab for interactive activities with a through line of coding.

Every week, JK-12 students explore and learn in the Bryan Innovation Lab. This week was no exception. Classes from all over Steward’s campus voyaged to the BIL to explore the way creating with resources like wires, copper tape, coding, and pixels can help them better understand the units they’re studying in their classrooms.Here's a snapshot of the kinds of fun and interactive projects that go on in the BIL every day at Steward with the help of the BIL’s Lead Technologist Shane Diller and Director Cary Jamieson!

Statistical Survey Apps with Barbara Filler and Dr. Sam Brannon

Upper School math teacher Barbara Filler brought her statistics classes down to the BIL along with Upper School technology facilitator Dr. Sam Brannon to explore statistics through envisioning, coding, and building their own survey machines/apps. They began by interviewing each other to find out what issues are important to their subject, and followed it up by designing and building survey apps based on the results. Once the apps are built, students will use them to collect data from Middle and Upper School students during Community Time next week.

This project requires the students to start over or redo their work at several points, and reinforces the importance of iteration (rewriting/revising/restarting) in research and communication in order to grab the attention of the target audience. Mrs. Filler and Dr. Brannon also hope the students learn how to apply statistical techniques to real-world data. Because the students have selected topics of personal interest, they will be more likely to apply the concepts they have already studied. This also helped them design their surveys, particularly the importance of asking easy-to-understand questions that result in authentic but quantifiable answers.

PixelMath with Jen Maitland

Upper School Algebra II classes worked with PixelMath in the BIL to program multi-colored square designs using concepts of linear equations, inequalities, and systems. This is a project Jen Maitland has organized every year since 2014, when PixelMath lead developer and University of Washington professor Steve Tanimoto was brought to Steward as a Visiting Innovator. After Mrs. Maitland teaches students how to use the program’s color coding, they write their own mathematical functions using conditional statements that change the color of the images. Students are challenged to design one piece with slope art, one piece with linear inequalities, and one piece in the shape of a diamond, which they must create by manipulating the slope intercept form of an equation (y = mx+b).

Interactive Cell Project with Eric Hopp

Eric Hopp’s tenth-grade biology class headed over to the BIL every day this week to create interactive cells using wire, copper tape, and Makey Makey kits, electronic invention tools that allow users to connect everyday objects to computer programs. The beauty in this project is how much freedom students get in deciding what they want to make interactive and what is the best way to communicate information to others.

The students also coded simulations, animations, and other explanations of organelle function using Scratch, a programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations. This created a new and exciting way to research and understand organelle function.

Migration Maps with Susan Welk

Middle School history teacher Susan Welk has been working with eighth-graders to teach them how to splice wires and add resistors to LEDs like NASA technicians. After reading our school-wide book for the 2018-19 school year, Refugee, the students will create a migration map with the LEDs that blinks to show the path taken by the various characters in the book. Students will also upload the code from Arduino to communicate the time it took for people to make this journey and their path. Their work will be shown in the Middle School gallery.





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