The Exp Summer Daily

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The Experimentory Blog

Our year-round blog has the most recent updates

Exp Summer Daily Blog

The blog becomes active each summer starting just before we're in session. Its a great place to see what our students are doing on a daily basis.

Day 9: (LED) Lights, Camera, Action!

Jul 18, 2017 4:30:08 PM

The iLab pulses with energy: coming from both the twelve Theater + Electronics students and the dozens of wires, lights, and batteries. For the second big Theater + Electronics project, students designed an LED light-up superhero or supervillain costume and an accompanying skit. Media Proctor Abby Shepherd tells the story of this project through the eyes of two students: Kevin C. and Elena.

Kevin C. kneels on the floor of the iLab. He needs to cut 18 red and black wires for his superhero costume. While the project only required one programmable blinking light to be fastened to a t-shirt, Kevin took it a step forward. His costume will have a logo in the center of his chest with eight blinking lights. The eight lights will blink in a circle. He used an Arduino to program the pattern. “I didn’t do that much for the first two classes because I didn’t know how,” he told me matter-of-factly. Now that he knows what he wants for his project and how to complete it, he is fixated on finishing his superhero costume in time for his group's skit being performed tonight. 

Kevin C. writes out the script on his iPad.


Across the classroom, Elena is putting the final touches on her superhero costume. Instead of a light-up shirt, Elena designed light up gloves so she could shoot light out of her hands. Theater + Electronics isn't new to Elena. She's learned about both circuitry and drama in general, but she isn't relying on prior knowledge to get her through this class. "I'm trying to have a new perspective," she said. Elena caught on to the circuitry aspects early, so she's been helping others in the classroom. However, she is still learning from her own error. “I’m learning not to give up after one mistake," she told me, "because mistakes happen really often.” 

The performances in the Koch Center were a mix of staged readings, reciting memorized lines, and improvisational acting. Unfortunately, only two of Kevin C.'s twelve lights ended up working. "I learned that time management is really important," Kevin C. told me after his presentation. Both his and Elena's groups improvised their scenes. According to Elena, her performance went much better than she thought.

Ms. Terrell, the Theater + Electronics teaching fellow, said that this project is the first time the students worked with a strict deadline. "It was frustrating for them, but they still pulled through," she said, "they're being really professional and good sports about helping each other." 

The superheroes and supervillians battled it out. The final prize? A chance to perform their skit in costume at the All X Meeting. And the winner was...Elena's group! Check out their performance below.

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The Exp Summer Daily provides news and updates while we are in session in July and August. The rest of the year, check out the Experimentory Blog for posts feature our students, teachers, classes, values, goals, and plans for the coming year.