Friday, December 16, 2016

Arduino and LilyPad: Solving real-world problems with kids

For my project I will be be taking on the role of a 5th grade student solving a real-world problem.
As my personal learning project for my 5th Grade class, I propose a project attempting to solve a real-world problem. In my house we have a parakeet, Henry. Because Henry only eats the meat of the seeds and not the shells, and he discards the shells back into his dish, it’s impossible to tell at a glance if he has enough food or if his dish is full of empty shells.
The LilyPad has a variety of sensors available, one of which is a pressure sensor. As uneaten seed weighs more than seed hulls, I should be able to program it to light an LED when the weight of the dish falls under a desired limit.
I created a video which introduces this:


My Instructable link isn't working in the video, but it can be found here.

Finally, I am happy to share the full project on my blog.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Can Games Help Players Learn How to Code?

For my final project I looked at three commercial games that rely heavily on programming language as part of their gameplay. The three games are “Shenzen I/O”, “else heart.break()”, and “Screeps”. I do so taking on the role of a student pursuing a personalized learning project and showing how playing these games can fulfil and demonstrate mastery of many technology standards. In particular, I will evaluate the games’ fulfilment of several high school level Massachusetts state technology and programming standards. To begin, I thought I’d take a deeper look into the standards and their expectations to better translate their application within the games.




Creative Commons License

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Raspberry Pi 3 Digital Photo Frame


Introduction Video


I enjoy taking pictures of our girls and nature and I love to see them on a photo album,  or hanging them in frames on the wall or on the shelves. I also like printing inspirational quotes or Bible verses and stick them on the wall. The result is that we ended up having too many photos that we have boxes of picture frames and photo albums when we moved. 

Since I already bought a raspberry pi 3 and a new 22" Samsung monitor, I searched for raspberry pi 3 projects online and found the Rpi3 Digital Photo Frame with sensor to be very interesting and doable for me as a beginner. I was first hesitant to pursue the project because I  don't have any experience with python programming but after exploring the exercises in raspberrypi.org perhaps I can do the project. So I used a USB drive instead of Flicker as my image source and perhaps later add a calendar and weather update along with the slideshow of photos. For a more detailed information on how to do this project please visit my blog at Marlboro

Friday, December 9, 2016

Designing Light Systems Challenge by Steve




  I am not sure why I wasn't able to upload it via YouTube, but I suppose that's the way it goes sometimes.  I opted to go with a shorter video.  In fact it is what I will be using to kick off this challenge with my 5th grade students.  Hopefully it gives enough information to at least pique your interest.


To say that this project put me outside of my comfort zone is a bit of an understatement.  I consider myself to be somewhat technology savvy (minus the ability to get YouTube to recognize my account tonight) and I found myself with growing confidence in the area of block coding.  So why, then, would I choose a project that focuses on an arduino, light sensor, and C?  It's because that's what my students need (and Lucie really likes it when people feel uncomfortable).

I work with all 450 students in grades K-6 in my school with a focus on STEM topics.  In first grade we work on an engineering design task to use what they know about light to illuminate 6 different hieroglyphs so that an artist could recreate all the details.  They only have 1 light source and the location of that cannot change.  What I was finding during their pre and post data collection was that the students weren't very accurate (or honest) with what they were seeing.  They needed a more objective and consistent measure.  Enter the light sensor.

While I may try almost anything, I am not about to try having my 1st graders learn C and build the tool to measure light intensity.  I made a plan for one of my 5th grade challenge groups to work through this process.

That is what you will find here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Writing and Animation




Writing and Animation is a student-centric, collaborative, creative project. The goals are to sharpen your own existing skills as well as develop new skills for your partner and yourself.

The instruction is designed to cross-develop student skills under two learning standards: the Common Core State Standards and the International Society for Technology in Education. The lesson plan divides the class into even groups of proficiencies: reading and writing or coding and animating. Students will form teams of two, one member from each group, and develop both a narrative script as well as an accompanying animation to be displayed side by side as the final deliverable.