Day 88: JanTerm Day 1

Monday, 5 January 2015

The JanTerm began today! I’m teaching Introduction to Engineering with Shaffiq Welji, a colleague from the math department and a co-conspirator on the robotics team coaching staff. During Intro to Engineering, a 3 week course, our kids in grades 9 through 12 will study mechanical systems, control systems, and power systems. We’re using the VEX robotics system as our base for most work and everything is project-based.

Today, kids started by building the ClawBot from a kit. Our theory is that kids need to first see how these parts can work before they start designing their own.

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ClawBot, about halfway built.

We gave the kids these tasks for Monday and Tuesday:

  1. Build the ClawBot.
  2. Build a 2nd robot from the extra parts in the PoE kit box.
  3. Make a robot follow a black line we lay down on the floor.
  4. Make the ClawBot pick up a spray paint can and move it from the end of the line to the beginning.
  5. Make a creative and useful modification to either bot.

By the end of Monday, most groups were almost done the ClawBot. Our class time is somewhat limited because the schedule has built-in community and break time. It’s a great idea but I think we took too much time off today and hope to find a better mix tomorrow.

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I do appreciate a well-organized parts box.

What do you want to know about JanTerm?

Days 78-87: Wrapping Up a Semester

Monday, December 8 through Friday, December 19, 2014

I quite wanted to make a post with an intentionally-taken photo every day of the semester. Sadly, that didn’t happen. Here’s a quick review of the last two weeks of the semester, which included finals.

We exhibited all the pinhole cameras and their photos then voted on the best of each. Here's the hands-down winner for both best camera and best photo.

We exhibited all the pinhole cameras and their photos then voted on the best of each. Here’s the hands-down winner for both best camera and best photo.

We collected broken Christmas lights from the community then repaired some of the lights.

We collected broken Christmas lights from the community then repaired some of them.

Loving the notecards this year that kids made for the exam. I allow them one 3″x5″ notecard that they must handwrite on.