ABOUT BEAM IN SCHOOLS
Beam strives to cultivate long-term partnerships with NYC public schools to bring a culture of creation, collaboration, and inspiration to under-resourced communities. We work closely with principals and classroom teachers to identify and develop hands-on projects that engage students and make learning more tangible. These projects range from in-class activities that develop over several weeks to more intensive school-wide initiatives that unfold over a full semester.
In 2016, we launched Beam’s first in-school FabLab, an advanced digital fabrication laboratory with cutting-edge tools and resources, at Brooklyn International High School. From 2017-2019, we are building 5 more in-school FabLabs in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Downtown Brooklyn, and Gowanus.
SCHOOL PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
Digital Poetry Machine
The Brooklyn International High School Digital Poetry Machine is an interdisciplinary project that combines Physics, English, electronics, and programming. Magnetic lasercut words create poems that are posted to Twitter with the press of a button. Students learned basic woodworking, circuitry, the Python programming language, and how to interface Arduino microcontrollers with the Twitter API. While utilizing these skills, they also developed their familiarity with the English language by analyzing poetry, as well as their understanding of magnetism and circuitry.
Battle Of Brooklyn
Fourth grade students at Brooklyn School of Inquiry researched the Battle of Brooklyn. Based on their research, they created a topographical strategy table, complete with moveable soldiers that they designed and lasercut. In addition, they created secret envelope books containing "letters home," written from the perspective of historical figures. Using all the things they made, the students reenacted the Battle of Brooklyn in a stop motion animation!
The Funktions Visualizer, created with students at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, displays algebraic functions using light-boxes as "pixels." Students each built a pixel. These were combined and programmed to become a large-scale graphing calculator. Students played "Guess the Function" challenge games to engage directly and physically with mathematic concepts.