April 16, 2015

Light Circuit | 3D Printing in the Classroom

The four students in the group responsible for coming up with the circuit that demonstrates lights were assigned the last two letters in the word “circuits”. They get the “TS”. I thought this task would be straight forward. I anticipated them being challenged with how to mount their circuit, the wiring, and how to get the switch to be where we want it.

I was a bit apprehensive when they came to me with their initial idea of wanting to have their lightRunning Lights run and blink. I know this is possible with programming a microprocessor like an Arduino, but I have no idea how to do it. After talking it out with the students, I wasn’t about to tell them they needed to do something easy because their idea was too hard. So, I did a little research myself and posted a few resources to our class wiki for them to look at.

They were given a lot of time before we left for our spring break to work on it. By the end of the day they had found the code they needed to make 3 lights run, pasted it into the Arduino program, uploaded it to the Arduino, and through some trial and error figured out how to wire it all together. I was amazed. These girls had never worked on an Arduino before and here they were with a working prototype of exactly what they wanted. I asked them to add a switch to see if they could do it and they had it done in about 5 minutes.

Successful lights blinking.

Running Lights

They still need to figure out how to mount it to the “S” and “T”, but I think our design team already has a solution to that. They also need to wire it together so that the switch is down in our switch box. I think I will challenge them to add 3 more lights. They will have to change the code a bit and change the wiring, but I see no reason why they won’t be able to figure that out.

I’m excited about the learning that is going on with this group. Not only have they mastered the idea of a simple circuit, and the basics of programming an Arduino, but they have also experienced what it is like to have an idea and make that idea happen. That is powerful learning.

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