Sunday, August 2, 2009

ASRA ROCKED!!!!

OK, so I realize it has been a VERY long time since I have posted...summer has been crazy =) As most of you know, I went back to MN/WI for a little over two weeks at the beginning of the month and had a blast. I had the opportunity to see a lot of friends I missed on my first trip back last Christmas. As soon as I returned to Alaska, I started teaching at the Alaska Summer Research Academy (a.k.a. ASRA) It was AWESOME!! This camp was fantastic. Kids from all over the country came to spend 12 days in a highly academic but very entertaining summer camp. I am sure most of you remember me talking/blogging about circuit bending; well, that was one of the huge things I co-taught in the module called The Sounds of Science. We had a blast ripping apart old toys and seeing what kind of noises we could create. Here are a few pictures (I blurred out the faces of the students, so that is why some of the pictures may look a little funny.)

One of the students stuffed a speaker and an 1/8" input jack into the pikachu and turned it into the COOLEST ipod player ever!
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This was one of my favorite finished toy. The students didn't only get into the technical aspect of circuit bending, but had fun exploring the aesthetic aspect of the hoppy.
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Another thing we did in our module was build a PVC marimba (well, technically it was not a marimba since we did not have wooded bars resting over resonators. Instead we hit the actual resonators...much like the Blue Man Group) We used some pretty advanced physics and mathematics to figure out required tube lengths for each desired pitch, then we fine tuned the PVC by ear. Once we finished putting it all together, the kids glued a bunch of stuff to it so it ended up looking awesome! Check it out.

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Finally, we took sounds samples of all of the circuit bend toys along with other cool sounds we found (like my arm muscles recorded through an EMG)and mixed them all together into a massive composition. We used some GREAT synthesizers and modulators such as the Korg KP3!! Again..all of the work was done by the students.

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Not only was ASRA a place for students to learn through exploration, I had the opportunity to play around with some way cool things...like blowing dry ice through tubes lit by LEDs.
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I also played with LED lit spinning string. This was a great way to check out nodes and anti-nodes (also, it looked cool.)
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The only unfortunate things to have happened during the camp was the amount of forest fire smoke in the air. It was VERY thick at times. I guess this is pretty common for Fairbanks. I guess when you live in a state covered in Boreal Forest (a.k.a Taiga) and you have about 1,000,000 burning acres...some smoke is bound to creep into town. This picture was taken on a pretty bad day...on a scale of 1-10, this was about a 7.
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So now that ASRA is over, I have about eight days until I start my second year teaching at Randy Smith. Where did this summer go? I hope everyone out there in Blogging Land is enjoying their summers. I will try to get back into the groove of blogging, so please check back soon.

Rock on!!
~Mr. Lockwood

2 comments:

rowdy said...

8 days! Holy moses! You start early! Oh man that ASRA thing sounded fun! I wish I could have played too....

Jen said...

Looks awesome! So much more expansive to see the pics. Well done helping those kids learn, Mr Lockwood. :-)