Last year I had the opportunity to teach amazing kids game design using Gamestar Mechanic. It was a success and this year, having just nudged our school to purchase a Makerbot Replicator 2, I thought let’s 3D print Shakespeare! I pushed the idea until the summer program was branded with this new idea. Students would tackle Shakespeare with the ability to visualize and create tangible connections to the work they were studying.
For a week, students from Bronx Charter School for Excellence, Beginning with Children, and Community Partnership Charter Schools participated in a sleep away enrichment program at Colgate University in upstate New York. The week long program focused on STEM & Shakespeare for students that are going into grades 8th – 10th. To help build and enrich connections to Macbeth and Hamlet, students would learn 3D modeling and printing to bring their understandings alive. This immersion program exposed students to the rigors of college prep academics as well as providing residential and extracurricular activities that deepen student understanding of the collegiate experience. Bronx Charter School for Excellence purchased the 3D printer in January of 2014 and has been integrating into their curriculum ever since – seeing an opportunity to share with other network schools – they packed it up and brought it to Colgate from the Bronx, NY.
The class used Macbeth as a launching point for discussing the motivations behind dynamic character change and the consequences of choosing paths that are knowingly self-destructive, concentrating on the “dagger of the mind” representing the forces influencing Macbeth and the direction of his thoughts as much as the intimate means of betrayal. The character chiasmus between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and its reflection of Aristotle’s characterization of polarizedemotions, as well as the symbolic importance of scene and setting, were also explored.
The upper level Hamlet seminar concentrated more on character development as Hamlet battles himself in his escape from obligation into introspection and vacillation between the heroic and christian codes. The facade of acting, and the mirror between acting in a play and acting as a human in a society that demands certain codified behaviors, was prominently discussed.Both seminars were also taking a section about 3D design, using the web based program Tinkercad. Students learned the fundamental basics for modeling in three dimensions. Students took themes they examined from the Macbeth and Hamlet seminars and designed objects that can represent them by being printed with our MakerBot Replicator 2.