Making the Block

In the "Making the Block" mini-mester, Middle School girls explored making, design thinking, and circuitry as they re-created the south block of East 92nd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues using "up-cycled" materials such as cardboard boxes, fallen tree limbs, and straws. Additionally, girls learned about architectural concepts, scaling, soldering, 3D design and printing, and how to incorporate electric components.

The new maker space in our expanded schoolhouse—and the tools it will provide—could truly transform this project in future years. We envision girls first creating a scaled 3D rendering of the Nightingale-Bamford schoolhouse, then using a laser cutter to precision cut the building out of chipboard. Furthermore, the laser cutter can be used to cut the floors and furniture, allowing girls to create a "dollhouse" that looks exactly like our building, and to etch a re-creation of the Nightingale-Bamford sign that hangs outside. Sewing machines would allow students to replicate curtains and even miniature uniforms. Power tools such as screwdrivers, drills, and saws would allow for proper assembly of the individual cut pieces, channels for wiring, and detail work that has not be available to us before. Expanded options in electronic components (such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi) combined with motors could be used to facilitate the addition of working elevators. The possibilities for this project will expand to the limits of our students' imaginations, as we will no longer be limited by the tools we have. We would love to see our students create a lasting replica of Nightingale for future Nightingale girls to see and enjoy!