Foundry Reflections (October 2023)

  • 2023
Dean Lea, Foundry Specialist Teacher

 

The Foundry forges its intentionally unwritten path forward with boundless optimism, energy, and ideas. All encompassed alongside an ever-evolving fantastic facility capable of meeting our greatest ambitions.

Below, we share some of what we've been up to.


LOOKING BACK

We begin with a slice of reflections on the 2022-23 school year.

A powerful optimism resided past a shrinking apprehension of a returning pandemic and a return to home learning. Relief settled when not the case, and we operated as planned. 

The Foundry realized a very active and successful year, exceeding previous intensive classes and accomplishing remarkable and frequently upscaled projects. To name but a few: a thought-provoking large-scale refugee camp now found in the entrance to the Foundry. 

Three eight-foot square double-sided movable production sets that coloured multiple scenes to support the Middle School as they dramatically entertained our larger communities. Being part of the broad-ranging, messy and noisy experiential learning happening in and around the Foundry reset pride to be doing what we are doing.

Our grade one launched boldly into building eight-point navigational compasses, refining motor skills significantly through the process and initiating a brighter awareness of design and engineering.

High School classes and projects visiting the Foundry increased through the year. Evidence remains in the form of DNA testing vertical gel Electrophoresis Chamber displayed on the Foundry Renovation SEA course's new customized and tiled wavy display shelves.

All in a fab year.

… AND NOW…

Whilst students were carefully settled back into school and began the 2023 - 24 school year. The Foundry took the time to prepare and get ready for the year ahead. Very dusty, noisy and dirty at times. But, resiliently and persistently, we refined the Foundry facility to make it an even more incredible place to be. And yes, we have been so apologetic to the cleaning staff who helped us clean the space after we caused chaos in the room. :) Organized chaos - of course.

We scheduled intensives for the year, refined safety policies, sanded and refinished worktops and table surfaces, relocated machines, reorganized tools, and relentlessly constructed our plastic grinder. Prepared and promoted SEA courses and had a lot of curious conversations.

We focus on assembling Foundry experiences that are increasingly collaborative, meaningful and sustainable.

 

ONTO SEAWEED EXCITEMENT

Walking the talk of collaboration, our Centers of Excellence (COE) trio - Foundry, Marine Science Centre and Black Dolphin, directed two eighth-grade teams through a hands-on experience that culminated in deploying ten seaweed farms into the waters on the south side of Hong Kong Island.

Through a challenging two weeks based in the Foundry, our students realized design, collaboration, engineering, resilience, marine science knowledge, skill and experience. Ideating, designing and building in the Foundry, attaching seaweed on the Black Dolphin, and deploying from the White Dolphin. The students shared with pride their experience.

This year, we will iterate this project into a refined, more sustainable, retrievable, data-focused intensive program. Booked for November 2023, we look forward to the rerun.


MORE HS PLANS

Bringing the high school into the conversation, the Foundry has been developing connections and potential projects that will result in our older students having more time in the Foundry. In addition to other projects brewing, I am excited to be planning the second 'Life of Plastic' (LOP) term two scheduled course. We will align with a collection of industry speakers from Design, Engineering, Marketing, Sustainability, Entrepreneurial, Green Energy, and Plastics, plus an always bubbling integration with our COE brilliance. 

Our LOP course aims to reapply materials to various sustainable construction project topics. A very energizing project potential is the design and build of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines. This bubbling project also excites our HS science team. We are actively scheduling the collaborative development of a working wind tunnel. Data collection and sensing straddles multiple projects, including our progressive seaweed farm projects spoken to earlier. We are very excited about all of this coming to life.

I agree that it sounds complicated. And a lot. It is. Regardless, we can develop engaging learning experiences together for us all.


PLASTIC PROJECTS

Entrepreneurial encounters crossed The Harbour School when Hong Kong University second-year medical student Xinny Liu asked if THS was interested in housing and developing a recycled plastics program that she was passionate about igniting.

Xinny brought passion, entrepreneurial spirit, a plastic grinder and a plate press. The Foundry became home to a new program opportunity. 

Fast forward past metal work, grinding experimentation, plastic awareness development and logistical preparations, and we are on an exploratory road to how we can marry sustainable projects and in-house recycled plastic.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

In closing, I smile to suggest we continue to walk the talk and keep our positive feet forward.

When you have a moment, drop into the Foundry and say hi.
 

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