One of the most memorable seventh-grade traditions at MPA is completing NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a national effort where participants write a novel throughout November. “It’s one of my favorite units to teach,” said Maddy Wolfe ‘12, seventh-grade English teacher at MPA. “They create well-rounded characters, complex story worlds, and a plot laced with tension, all while learning and incorporating language rules and mechanics.”

This year, in addition to their novels, the seventh graders created 3D frames depicting a scene from their stories. They chose a scene from their novel to highlight, and they needed to define the details that make up the scene in its entirety, translated onto a foreground, midground, and background.

“We used a multi-plane camera process—an old-fashioned way of creating 3D space by painting on glass frames as in the early King Kong movie—to create the illusion of space,” commented Keith Braafladt, MPA’s Makerspace coordinator. “It was a surprise how interested and passionate the students were, especially in terms of using color and painting techniques with paint markers, which is a painting tool we just started using last year with our Gunpla model-making activity. The students had so much more control than learning to use a brush in small spaces.”

When the models are held up to a projector, a 3D image is projected onto the wall behind.
“They turned out really incredible!” said Ms. Wolfe. “Their scenes included so many details from their novels, and it was cool to watch their visions come to life.”

“It was a wonderful collaboration using digital fabrication tools to make the frames and the transparencies using a historical perspective technique that came from filmmaking and animation and building this all around the notion of the creation of the narrative for the students’ novels,” commented Mr. Braafladt.

See photos from this exceptional project here.

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