3701 Kerbey Ln
Austin, TX 78731
512-763-7202

A Fun STEM Math Activity: Buying Lumber For Mana

by Gina Morales on July 18, 2013

Part of the reason STEM itself has been so foundational to the construction of Mana, Austin’s first STEM preschool, is that we’re building the school from the ground up – in more ways than one. What better way to create a magical educational facility on a real-world budget than with STEM? It’s the tool we provide them so that they can trasform our world in magical ways.

Math in particular has been essential to helping us stay within the budget we set, which is why we’re going to talk you through how we used it to design solutions for shelving and storage of learning materials on a limited budget.

Specifically, the question became: How do you effectively and efficiently create a learning environment for preschoolers that is fun, educational and magical on less than $2,000?

Construction materials were purchased based on standard measurements and on a budget so lots of math was used to design and construct furniture: If the shelf is 1″ x 6’ x 18” and we need lumber that is sold in 1″ x 12″ x 12″ for $16 each how much are we buying and how much are we needing to cut?

Let’s start by calculating the length of wood we need for the shelf, remembering that the lumber is sold in inches, and because we want to keep the units the same, we should convert the 6′ dimension into inches, keeping in mind the conversion of 12″ = 1′:

6′ x 12″/1′ = 72″

Since the shelves are 18″ deep, and the lumber is sold in depths of 12″, we’ll also need 72″ worth of boards of 6″ depth or, remembering that 6″ is half of 12″, 36″ additional of 12″ lumber, for a total of:

72″ + 36″ = 108″

To calculate the number of boards we need, we divide the total length of shelf, 108″, by the length of each board, 12″:

108″/12″ = 9

And how many of these boards need to be cut? Well, since the length of the shelf itself is 72″, we can divide that number by 12″ to determine the number of full boards to be left intact:

72″/12″ = 6

Which leaves us with the deduction:

9 -6 = 3

Therefore, we need to buy nine pieces of lumber, three of which will be cut in half. Since the lumber is $16 per piece, we calculate our cost as follows:

9 x $16 = $144

Can you believe that the Mana Academy’s amazing shelving units cost just $144 to build? It’s amazing what STEM can do!

How Organizational Psychology Impacted Our Buildout

by Gina Morales on July 11, 2013

As far as we’re concerned, our primary purpose as educators is to compassionately nurture children’s curiosity, and provide them with them every opportunity to explore it. That’s why just as we’ve done with learning theory, we’ve incorporated organizational psychology into the construction of our location on Austin’s iconic Kerbey Ln.

For a simple example of organizational psychology, imagine that you own a restaurant. You wouldn’t want to put a table directly in front of the door, right? No, you would place the table comfortably away not only from the door, but anywhere your guests might need to walk during their dining experience.

With Mana, we’ve taken organizational psychology one step further. Not only does the layout of our school building encourage children to flow through it in an organic, curiosity-driven way,  but the very construction of our furniture creates distinct, unique learning spaces along the way, which is as visually pleasing to the young learners as it is foundational for their learning – the physical design cues allow them to quite literally feel it.

The average 3- to 5-year old, for example, is 36-40″ tall. Our tables, which children can use when they read, observe or even put their findings into action, are 18-20″ tall, or exactly half the height of the typical student, which creates neat lines throughout the learning space, employing organizational psychology at its finest.

See for yourself by bringing your child to meet us and learn more about why Mana might be the right choice for your family, whether you join us in the fall or at one of our two upcoming summer camps. Give usa call at (512) 763-7202 or send us an email to schedule your tour today, or to speak to the director and ask any questions you might have. We looked forward to meeting you and your child!

Learning Theory and The Birth of Mana

July 9, 2013

We believe that each child’s natural curiosity is his or her most important tool in understanding and transforming our world. Children’s curiosity is at the core of contemporary learning theory, which is why we’re building The Mana Academy from the ground up with both in mind. You know that feeling you get in your stomach […]

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Supertree Solutions

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“Look! That bear’s hair is falling out! These animals are really hot! They need a water fan or an ice pool! SOMETHING!” While visiting a local conservation center a group of pre-kindergarten children identify various environmental stresses. Early learners’ perceptions of the world are so incredibly observant and matter of fact. Innovative design conception for […]

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21st Century Updates for All

May 17, 2013

Car phones, floppy disks, beepers, pay phones, AOL; there now exists an entire realm of technological relics lying in the wake of more modern, practical, sleek, universal new-age digital developments. FaceTime with grandma from across the country, state or street is our new theme of communication. So who are the true learners of 21st century […]

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Get your STEM Funding

May 15, 2013

STEM Education has been the buzzword for the past 3 weeks. Those of you who are new to integrating the subjects are probably overwhelmed with where to begin regarding funding. STEM resources, professional development, labs, etc. are a great expense. Developing a partnership among corporations, universities, nonprofits, foundations, and the federal government is key. Sort through all the possibilities and find an organization that shares […]

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Texas STEM Education Week

May 11, 2013

It’s STEM Education Week! May 6-12, 2013 has been proclaimed by Texas officials as a celebration of STEM Education, collaboratively supported by STEM related corporations and institutions. We welcome families and friends to join in celebrating Science Technology Engineering and Math through as many experiences as you can fit into a STEM Education Week. Michelangelo […]

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Inquiry, Problem, and Project Based Learning

April 25, 2013

While considerable research goes into identifying successful learning paths to implement in classrooms, many identify that no one method effectively reaches ALL learners at ALL times. Acquiring in-depth knowledge happens at unique, individualized levels. Inquiry, Problem, and Project based learning approaches allows both educators and learners room for intrinsic growth. As these active approaches are […]

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The Benefits of STEM Education

April 18, 2013

Well, aside from the obvious global competitive advantage we’d have with a highly-skilled and highly-qualified STEM workforce – not to mention, the personal benefits of higher earnings! – what are the benefits of STEM education? Why STEM? STEM is more than just science, technology, engineering and math as isolated disciplines. It’s a mindset, a way […]

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What is STEM Education?

April 18, 2013

Wow! It’s cold outside! This morning it was hot and now it’s FREEZING! I wonder how cold it is? How are the animals outside going to keep warm? I want to make a heater bubble to keep me warm! As humans we naturally gravitate to the “why?” and “what ifs?” of the world around us. […]

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