- Students in session 1 describing and displaying their projects;
- The expansion of tools in our arsenal;
- Our collective experience thus far this year in the use of PIRL;
- The inclusion of 8th graders in this second session;
- The academic growth of 7th graders since the beginning of the school year
Regardless of the reason(s), it is enjoyable to see students taking on these projects and witness the independence many have shown in working through challenging problem areas and attempting multiple iterations of models and scenarios. And yet students don't hesitate to seek help from me, or from classmates, where necessary and relevant. As I have said throughout the course, the process of designing, building, and iterating is as important (possibly more important) than the end product.
Here is a brief description of the current student projects:
- Name in Lights - Inspired by an Instructibles project, two students are creating either an initial or a word in large letter format and placing solar powered light bulbs inside. The letters are generated in Illustrator, converted to vector art, then modified to accommodate the placement of holes for the lights. Prototypes are laser cut in cardboard to make sure sizing and proportion are correct, then 1/8" plywood is used for the final pieces. The letters are painted and bulbs are hot glued into place. Students are also laser cutting wood boxes to place the solar chargers during use.
- LED Cube - Similar to a project from last session, a student is creating an illuminated cube that will serve as a decorative night light. The initial boxes are cut in cardboard for size testing, then laser cut in acrylic for final pieces. Acrylic pieces are sanded to give a diffused look. A simple circuit is created with LEDs, battery source and a switch.
- Remote Control Plane and Mousebot - One student is a great fan of the Makershed projects, and thus has taken on these two kit projects. It is interesting to see how some students lean toward proscribed step-by-step projects, while others may find something inspiring but add their own twist to it. Still others start with an original idea in their head and let their imagination guide them. All of these approaches are valuable.
- Wearables and E-Textiles, then a Way Out project - This student uses EL Wire and a battery pack to modify a t-shirt with lights. As the project turns out much easier and quicker than anticipated, the student quickly moves on to a 3D printed object (a Portal laser gun). She is now taking this object and integrating an LED circuit so that the tip of the laser gun will have actual light projected from it, triggered by a switch and powered by a watch battery.
- Solar Powered iPhone Charger - This modification of the basic Minty Boost concept integrates a LiPO battery and portable solar panel to charge it. There is a bit of soldering to do on this one, so the student accesses our resource links on this site that point to tips on soldering. I have found that having supplemental resources online, including our Course Instructional Videos, is invaluable for providing support when I cannot reach each student during the class period.
- Motion Triggered Nerf Projectile - This student is building a platform using an Arduino and PIR sensor to trigger a nerf gun when a moving object passes a certain area. He originally wanted to have it track a moving object, but after some additional thought and research into the necessary code and hardware required, he opted for the current project.
- Remote Controlled Boats - Two students are working on different remote controlled boat projects. One is hacking an RC Car's parts, designing and printing the propeller in 3D, and working on prototype boat hulls with foam core. The other recently completed an underwater submarine project as part of the 3rd trimester science curriculum (DEEP) and thus wants to follow that up with the RC boat project.
- 3D design and Printing - This student is exploring TinkerCAD for use in the area of aircraft and spacecraft design. He has designed two models thus far, with multiple iterations, and continues to work on new designs. With our new Makerbot Replicators now available, he is printing larger models.
- LED Matrix Sound Analyzer - Using an Arduino, a microphone and an LED matrix, this student's project involves a matrix of lights that reacts to sound coming through the microphone. First attempts have shown moderate success and he continues to adjust settings and dig deeper into the code.
- 3D Printer - This student has taken on the same project that I wrote about in the previous blog post, building the Printrbot Simple from the maker kit. While this is likely to be the most comprehensive project to date, he has spent each class diligently working through the build steps.
Below are some recent photos from a build day.