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7th and 8th Grade STEAM Trip to BB Props

Today the 7/8 students went on a amazing field trip to a unique and exciting business called BB Props.  It is located in Little Falls, NJ – an approximately 25 minute drive from Teaneck.

Mr. Pierce’s profession involves designing scenery for theatrical productions, like Broadway shows.  Similar to an architect, his job entails designing what the set should look like.  To communicate this, he builds models, creates detailed scaled drawings, and specifies the details of color and texture.  When it is time to construct his ideas into reality, he works with many different companies who specialize in building the elaborate and complicated elements.

A good friend of his, Emiliano, owns a shop that specializes in the construction of scenery, furniture, and props.  Emiliano lives in NJ and has a son and daughter about our 7th and 8th graders ages.  He has worked on Broadway shows for over 20 years.  Several years ago, he decided to start his own business.

Why did we go there?

Emiliano is helping us with the school musical again this year.  He always lets us borrow furniture and props.  This year, however, he is helping us create a special piece of scenery – the Wizard of Oz head.  Our student, Henry H-P., is playing the Wizard.  Henry visited the shop a few weeks ago and they used a laser scanner to 3-dimensionally scan his entire head.  The artists at the shop have digitally sculpted his head scan to make him look a little older, to add hair, and adjust other details.  They have used a 3D printer to show us what the prototype will look like.  The final step involves having his head carved out of a large piece of Styrofoam on the shop’s new robotic arm.

Mr. Pierce thought this would be a great opportunity for our students to experience real life applications of 3D digital technology.  The same machines and technology are used to engineer cars, medical devices, tools… and art!  A perfect STEAM field trip.

While we were at the shop, we had a chance to see how the 3D scanner works and to see the robot arm in action.  We met artists who have spent a lifetime working with their hands to create sculptures, who now use modern 3D tools to do their jobs.

Another area of the business that we experienced is the construction shop.  This is the area where the craftspeople build things out of metal, wood, plastic, fiberglass, and other materials too.

We got the opportunity to build something out of wood. We used saws and power tools to create a beautiful cutting board/cheese board.

Thanks again to Mr. Pierce, his father and everyone from BB Props for a fantastic day!