Young Engineers Week 2
Open Lab #1
The main goal of tonight was to get to know the kids who signed up for YEOT and to develop their first skill: soldering
The first lab was a success. I was exhausted by the end of the two hours after running around helping them all as they began their trip down the path to engineering.
Up to this point they have had two webinars getting prepared for YEOT and starting to learn HTML. Tonight I wanted to get into DOING and MAKING so we did quick intros as we have students from several schools.
Next, we examined the tools in their tool kit that I put together.
This is just the start. Each student is assigned to their own tub. This is where they can store not only their tools, but their projects as we work on them in each lab. We took time to assemble the helping hand, go over the solder iron and all the safety precautions.
We dove into the atmosphere of Coffeechug Cafe where we are a team all in this together. We help each other. This is not a competition. We learn, make mistakes, and depend on one another to develop skills and attributes that will help us in all aspects of life.
We then jumped right into soldering. Many people think we are crazy, but these kids can handle it! We tinned the tips and then practice soldering two wires together. We had a nice smoky haze in the room as they worked through how to solder, how much is too much, how much is not enough and all the little things that go into soldering.
After soldering the wires we practiced one more soldering activity. I cut up some PCB boards and bought a bunch of resistors. I gave each student a board and 4-6 resistors. We talked about how to put the resistors on a board, how to solder the holes while not burning the board, and how to clip the legs. We spent about 30 minutes doing this as this took them some time to get used to. You can see we had all levels of quality which is part of the process.
At this point we had about 20 minutes left before cleanup. We began our first solder project which is an adjustable power supply kit from Adafruit(check out my post on the kit)
Overall, I was very happy with the first session. We were in lock step the whole time to make sure we had the skills and everyone was comfortable. I know that the next open lab students will work at their own pace. We will finish this project up where they work on their own with built in check points and then we will move on to the next project(it is a secret until next lab).
No major injuries and for two hours we had kids working hard and very focused. I am so excited to see what these kids will create as we continue to give them challenges and skills to go with them.
The next lab I plan on recording everything with my Google Glass to give everyone a glimpse of the lab. I look forward to working with them again in two weeks.
If you are interested in learning more please reach out to me. I am learning just as much as the kids and love to share what we are doing. The philosophy is to build everything we use so they understand how things work. More importantly hopefully this class inspires a movement to get more of this into the regular school day.