The STEAM by Design Seminar has met only a few times since the start of school. The image above shows a group of STEAMERS working with Arduino Basic Kit and Project Ignite. I actually purchased the kits from Project Ignite as the kits have all of the parts needed to do most of the lessons in the Project Ignite Classrooms. I am very pleased with how our group has embraced the concept of the seminar as on the first day I asked why they wanted to be a part of the seminar. There were quite a few “I thought it would be cool” and a few “My parents thought I should do it” with the usual enthusiasm of a middle school student when they had no choice in the matter.
Since the first day most of the “My parents” contingent have stuck around and are now saying things like; “Yes, I did it” or other exclamations of delight. The ability to work together is a process and shows signs of life that will help us down the road. Today, one student got her Arduino to do the Blink Sketch and was so proud she wanted to take a video to show her mom and dad. Pinch me now. Of course this seminar is very different and has taken some adjustment as I do not tell them what to do, am less helpful when I want them to find the answer themselves, or create conditions where failure is a real possibility. Today, after a failed print we tried to figure out what caused it. I pointed them to the great Simply3D resource for how to figure this out. After we determined with thought it was Layer Shifting, I asked them what tool could we use to find how to fix it? Some said a book or do you not know? I said I know of a tool but could not remember the name of it although I did know the name of a co-founder. I said if we can figure out who Sergey Brin was perhaps we would find the tool I was thinking about. Yep, a student Googled it and found he was internet entrepreneur that founded Google with Larry Page. We therefore have tried to slow down the speed of the printer to see if that helps.
I have not felt as excited to be teaching a class in years. I feel like the old Science teacher I was before I got into technology. I also read today this post on Computational Thinking which affirmed my concepts for this class even more.