The month of October has been so awesome with the amount of learning taking place with Young Engineers of Today. Between the webinars twice a week where Thomas Dubick is teaching students programming with our Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit teaching them how to program with Arduino to moving towards hands on learning in the labs we have had a lot of success.
One key idea that has permeated throughout them all is that learning can be messy and at time not fun. When things don’t work we tend to get frustrated. However, with a bit of grit and perseverance we work through those issues and that is when the learning takes place. It is hard to understand when you are in the moment. It can be difficult to see your child struggle with concepts, but that is how learning develops. Many of the students school comes easy. School is different than learning in my opinion. Students are starting to recognize that if you want to improve in something than it takes time to practice and not only UNDERSTAND concepts, but to APPLY them with projects. This is the key shift in learning. I can memorize facts all day, but if I cannot utilize them into creating something for myself, then what is the use?
The last few weeks we have been focusing in programming for our Arduino. Students have been working with Thomas through the webinars. This is just the start. These webinars are designed to plant the seeds. It is laying the foundation and groundwork for them to take their learning to the next level.
For example, in our last lab we provided students with a little pumpkin. They had to carve out the pumpkin in half and I would assume most of them have never carved a pumpkin. From there we did some soldering of wires to LED lights for eyes. Many were able to complete this without much difficultly. Now the APPLICATION comes in their programming to their Arduino. How will the lights turn on? Will they program the eyes to use sensors like light/dark or ultrasonic when some walks by? Will the eyes blink? This is where they can apply and have their own voice in their learning. This is the beauty of YEOT. We will also show them how to add a servo motor inside the pumpkin so the jaws chomp down. What else will they create? Only time will tell.
To back up a bit we restructured the month of October. We have students in various places of learning. We adjusted and I opened up a third lab. This month there will be three labs where the goals are to complete
1. Adjustable Power Supply
2. Electric Trees
3. Robotic Pumpkins
By the end of the month the students will have these three projects completed and ready to go for our November projects. What I love about YEOT is that not only are the students learning, but I am learning as we go. I see the need for challenging myself as a learner. I see the need for students to have hands on learning. I see the need for them to learn how to problem solve. I see the need for them to work with the moments of struggling. I see the need for more students to have these types of experiences.
Below are pictures from the last two labs. We have on more lab in two weeks where I will post completed projects as well as their digital portfolios. Until then check out their power supplies, their electric trees(this is an awesome project) and the start to their pumpkins.
I will be adding tutorials, videos, links, and more in the following week so you can learn more about these projects.