April 30, 2015

Making Circuits and Programming | 3D Printing in the Classroom

I selected the group that I wanted for the programming circuit carefully. The two girls showed some interest in learning how to program earlier in the year, so I had given them a project to work on at home. I don’t think they got very far in that project, but they did enough to know a few basics about the Arduino. The two boys in the group had no experience with programming an Arduino, but one of them has some experience with programming Scratch. I figured they would be able to put their skills to use and figure it out.

This group needed the least amount of direction from me. They were given Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Project Book and told to pick a project that was different than the sound and light group.  They settled on a project that turns a speaker into a button.

This is what my students programmed to get the speaker to act like a button.

This is what my students programmed to get the speaker to act like a button.

In no time they had figured out how to connect the Arduino to the computer and write code into the software. Using the book really allowed them to get moving quickly. In fact, they had enough time to copy the code for a different project by mistake. It took them a few minutes to realize what had happened, then they were back to coding the correct script.

It was an exciting moment when they finally got the speaker to work like a button. They had to experiment with it a bit to find the best way to make it work. They settled on tapping the speaker 3 times. Once you do that it plays a little tune.

Tapping the speaker plays a little tune.

Tapping the speaker plays a little tune.

Our design team is working on creating a wall mount for the speaker. They have already downloaded and printed a mount for the Arduino. Getting this thing on the wall will be our next challenge. In the mean time, they are pasting the code into a GoogleDoc and creating a QR code for it, so it can be downloaded and viewed by people walking by our bulletin board.

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