At the end of the semester, there are a few topics that have yet to be addressed –
Safety: While we have a draft version of rules posted, how we administer safety in the lab has been on an ‘as-needed’ basis. While that will be the case with specialty equipment, there still needs to be a basic level of safety conveyed to all students and teachers. For instance, last week we were concerned with students handling 700 degree F soldering irons, yet students were very diligent in their use and we watched over them carefully. However students are tending to be more careless when it comes to the hot glue guns which are usually used with less supervision. We had a student spill some glue on their finger and then proceed to peel the hot glue right off the finger…along with the entire first layers of skin resulting in a bad burn and a trip to the nurse. That instinct is exactly what we need to change…running the finger immediately under cold water is the best way to deal with a hot glue gun burn. Perhaps developing a set of basic safety rules to encompass the bulk of basic lab equipment is the best approach followed by individual rules. Then we will have to administer these rules to the students. Work will commence on this second semester.
Robotics: The middle school Robotics team has a been a resounding success in the new space, with potentially 6 operable robots being entered in the regional competition January 30, 2016. However, that portion of the room is missing critical storage, casework, shelving and compartments. Every practice, equipment is wheeled out from a locked storage area, but it would be great to have all these parts and pieces in view and readily accessible at any moment. There are areas that have been earmarked for cabinets and shelving, but nothing has been confirmed. Having the look and feel of a workshop would greatly improve the versatility, productivity and it would likely boost creativity.
Storage/amenities: In addition to Robotics storage, there are some other basic needs for the lab that have yet to be purchased. Cubbies to hold backpacks in the front of the lab is a necessity in order to eliminate tripping hazards and clutter in the lab. Also movable white boards are needed for brainstorming as well as partitioning off sections for classroom and group discussion. These will be purchased in the beginning of 2016.
Rusting of Sinks: The sinks have really only been used sparingly, except for during the Day of the Dead project. They are heavy duty stainless steel sinks that should not have any corrosion on them, especially within the first month or two of use. The other day, rust was seen in and around the basin. Cleaning with ‘Barkeepers Friend’ alleviated the problem, but facilities was notified in case it returned and it becomes a warranty issue.
Laser Cutter: Thursday, we finally got our long awaited training on our 40 Watt Epilog Fusion Laser Cutter. The machine is fantastic, has amazing capabilities, and is remarkably easy to use with the Mac driver. We invited one person from each PLC as well as some other key administrative personnel to witness the training, and all were impressed. We also recorded it and took copious notes for future use. We will pour through all this and develop easy to use step by step guides in the early part of 2016 for faculty to use. This piece of equipment will require faculty supervision at all usage times and it looks like it will get plenty of use starting next year, once proper venting is installed, a cutting grid is purchased and a rated fire extinguisher is purchased, all of which have been in initiated prior to the break.