I Can Be: Inspirational Black Figures, Poetry and Illusion - SCOPES Digital Fabrication

Lesson Details

Age Ranges
Fab Tools
Fab-Safety.1, Fab-Modeling.1, Fab-Fabrication.1, Fab-Design.1
Additional Contributors

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Katy Perry
K-12 teacher
Schenectady School District Brilliant Careers Mobile Fab Lab Coordinator, STEAM Mentor, and Science TeacherSchenectady NY, USA Read More


Students research achievements of a notable African American and use them as inspiration for a poem about the future and goals. After composing the poem, students, using side view photos of themselves and their chosen individual, create a stylistic Rubin’s Vase Illusion to accompany their poetry. Both the poem and the image can be cut in a vinyl sticker for display, printed onto paper, or transformed into a digital collage.

What You'll Need

  • Vinyl Cutter
  • Computer with internet access
  • Google Drawings
  • Biographical Resources about Black and African Americans
  • Student Poetry
  • Templates and Poetry Examples (if desired)



The Instructions

Poem Theme Ideas

Introduce students to the many different themes that can be represented in poetry.

Discuss various poem themes with students.

These may include:

  • Hearing the Stories of Others
  • Identity (I AM)
  • Goals/Dreams
  • Seeing Eye to Eye
  • Visions of the Future
  • Facing Racism
  • The Illusion of Race


Web Link Resources:

10 Powerful Poems to Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrating Black History- Poems, Articles, and Podcasts

Eintou– African American Poetry Style

12 Poems to Read for Black History Month


Poem Example- Free Prose- VP and KP

Mae Jemison

Mae and Veronica


The first one to go, 

Out into space.

Knocking down barriers

High above a glass ceiling.

Your experiences, desire and drive

Mae you guide me,

Mae you guide all of us.




Rubin's Vase Illusion

Students will create silhouettes of themselves and their chosen notable African American individual in order to create a Rubin's Vase Illusion using Google Drawings.

Video Instructions for creating silhouettes from photos using Google Drawings

 I Can Be- Profile Creation step 1

 I Can Be- Profile Creation step 2

 I Can Be- Downloading from GD to Cricut







  • (Fab-Safety.1): I can safely conduct myself in a Fab Lab and observe operations under instructor guidance.
  • (Fab-Modeling.1): I can arrange and manipulate simple geometric elements, 2D shapes, and 3D solids using a variety of technologies.
  • (Fab-Fabrication.1): I can follow instructor guided steps that link a software to a machine to produce a simple physical artifact.
  • (Fab-Design.1): I can be responsible for various activities throughout a design process within a group under instructor guidance.

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