Pen Making Class - Update

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Racer3770

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
260
Location
Dayton, Ohio
I'm a middle school teacher at a STEM school here in Ohio and I wanted to update everyone on the STEMmersion Pen Making course that I led this year.
The last ten days of school, students had the opportunity to sign up for a teacher created STEM course that interested them. The idea for this course came from sharing my own pens with students over the years in my classroom. I was so excited to see student's excitement over the course when they signed up too!

We started off with some lathe safety and students had to pass a safety test to be able to start turning. We talked about different kinds of pens and the parts of the lathe they should know. That afternoon, students selected a piece of wood to drill on the lathe and we glued slimline tubes that would be ready to turn the next day. Through your donations, students had hundreds of options to choose from. We had the opportunity to talk about different kinds of woods and why they look the way they do. We looked at some stabilized woods and talked about the process for that too.

Shortly thereafter, 19 kids (15 in middle school, 4 in high school) successfully made their first pen! They were careful, made light cuts, sanded down to the bushings, and were surprised to see their work come to life during the polishing stage. By far, my favorite part of the process was the look on their faces when the final piece of their first pen was pressed in.

Students made a ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pen at minimum. Again, through the generosity of the pen community, most were able to make five or six pens using different kits that were donated. We learned how to use a fountain pen and tested some different ink and paper combinations. Midway through the course I showed students how to cast with Alumilite resin and they all made their own blanks to use for the fountain pen kit.

We wrapped up the course last week with an exhibition night for parents and the community to see their work. I created a start up list of everything the kids would need to make pens on their own, including a link to the IAP, and many said they were interested in continuing the hobby. I can't say enough how much I appreciate everyone's advice, encouragement, and donations to this. Know that they went a long way towards creating a new experience for a great group of kids and towards growing the hobby of pen making. A special thank you to Scott Segalewitz for taking time out of his busy schedule to help me monitor the lathes and for teaching an engaging lesson on the principles of engineering. I’m excited to host this again next year. Thank you all!
 

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sorcerertd

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
1,371
Location
North Carolina, USA
It's great that you were able to do this. I was able to participate in a STEM activity at one of our local science centers. Ours was more educational. It's great to see kids engaged and involved in things hands on.

Just curious, what subject(s) do you teach normally?
 

Racer3770

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
260
Location
Dayton, Ohio
It's great that you were able to do this. I was able to participate in a STEM activity at one of our local science centers. Ours was more educational. It's great to see kids engaged and involved in things hands on.

Just curious, what subject(s) do you teach normally?
8th grade US History!
 

MedWoodWorx

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2021
Messages
293
Location
Greece
I'm a middle school teacher at a STEM school here in Ohio and I wanted to update everyone on the STEMmersion Pen Making course that I led this year.
The last ten days of school, students had the opportunity to sign up for a teacher created STEM course that interested them. The idea for this course came from sharing my own pens with students over the years in my classroom. I was so excited to see student's excitement over the course when they signed up too!

We started off with some lathe safety and students had to pass a safety test to be able to start turning. We talked about different kinds of pens and the parts of the lathe they should know. That afternoon, students selected a piece of wood to drill on the lathe and we glued slimline tubes that would be ready to turn the next day. Through your donations, students had hundreds of options to choose from. We had the opportunity to talk about different kinds of woods and why they look the way they do. We looked at some stabilized woods and talked about the process for that too.

Shortly thereafter, 19 kids (15 in middle school, 4 in high school) successfully made their first pen! They were careful, made light cuts, sanded down to the bushings, and were surprised to see their work come to life during the polishing stage. By far, my favorite part of the process was the look on their faces when the final piece of their first pen was pressed in.

Students made a ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pen at minimum. Again, through the generosity of the pen community, most were able to make five or six pens using different kits that were donated. We learned how to use a fountain pen and tested some different ink and paper combinations. Midway through the course I showed students how to cast with Alumilite resin and they all made their own blanks to use for the fountain pen kit.

We wrapped up the course last week with an exhibition night for parents and the community to see their work. I created a start up list of everything the kids would need to make pens on their own, including a link to the IAP, and many said they were interested in continuing the hobby. I can't say enough how much I appreciate everyone's advice, encouragement, and donations to this. Know that they went a long way towards creating a new experience for a great group of kids and towards growing the hobby of pen making. A special thank you to Scott Segalewitz for taking time out of his busy schedule to help me monitor the lathes and for teaching an engaging lesson on the principles of engineering. I’m excited to host this again next year. Thank you all!
Nice work, nice equipment you have there. Is that room in the school or this takes place in some sort of a community centre?
 

Racer3770

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
260
Location
Dayton, Ohio
Nice work, nice equipment you have there. Is that room in the school or this takes place in some sort of a community centre?

Thank you! Some of the lathes I picked up for cheap around my area and fixed them up. Others were borrowed.

This is the back section of the school. Our building used to be a value city furniture, so it has all kinds of cool spaces that we use.

I told one of the kids that already has a lathe that he could take the wood you sent home because he was really interested in making a pen out of it. He said he’d send some pictures along when he’s done. I’ll shoot you a message when he does!
 

qquake

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
4,322
Location
Northern California
That is one of the coolest things I've ever seen here! What an incredible experience for a group of incredible kids. I love all the smiles, they look so proud of their pens. You don't see that so much in kids today. It was also great to see all the girls participating. Thank you for doing this for our hobby and our youth. I'm sure it was unbelievably rewarding!
 

MedWoodWorx

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2021
Messages
293
Location
Greece
Thank you! Some of the lathes I picked up for cheap around my area and fixed them up. Others were borrowed.

This is the back section of the school. Our building used to be a value city furniture, so it has all kinds of cool spaces that we use.

I told one of the kids that already has a lathe that he could take the wood you sent home because he was really interested in making a pen out of it. He said he’d send some pictures along when he’s done. I’ll shoot you a message when he does!
That's great. Congratulations to you, for your efforts as well as the people in charge, who appreciate the value of a spherical education. Cheers
 

mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
11,855
Location
Medina, Ohio
Well done for you and your students. I remember some very significant events in HS, and since that was 40 yrs ago, these student will remember these experiences until 2062+. Quite something to be proud of as a teacher. Very nice!
 

RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
131
Location
Ogden, UT
Thank you for sharing the results! Aside from simply teaching these kids something new, you showed them that (a) they can do hard things and (b) some things aren't as hard as they look and simply trying puts you way ahead of the curve.

Kudos to you and those awesome kids!
 
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