This week was special to me. I felt like it was the furthest deviation from what I am comfortable teaching. I spent quite a lot of time researching electronics and circuits and programming this past year, yet only feel like I’ve “scratched” the surface.
I’ve always acknowledged that students will be more advanced than me at any new technology. I am not afraid of it. I welcome it. I accept that students have a stronger entry level knowledge of contemporary devices and play to their strengths. I love observing what that looks like in the S.T.E.A.M. Club setting. Sometimes students have “seen that before.” Other times they are able to easily apply their knowledge to new concepts. And yet, on the lucky occasion, I have found something they’ve never seen before! They attack these learning experiences with eager abandon.
This week’s stations were broken down into: Circuit stickers, Squishy circuits, Programming, and RC Robotics.
Students explored circuitry with: the Makey Makey (and bananas); Squishy Circuits (and conductive / insulating doughs); Snap Circuits Jr.; Cool Circuits (puzzle game); TinkerCrates (paper circuits and doodle bot); and made a light up greeting card with Chibitronics Circuit Stickers & the Electron Inks’ Circuit Scribe Pen.
Students also explored programming and RC robotics with: Scratch Jr. (animation software); Ozobots; AirHogs Helicopter & Atomosphere Axis; Sphero Ollie (with iPhones, Droids, and iPad mini); and made Bristlebots (motorized toothbrush robots)!
This week we took a different approach… It was challenge week! Teams competed against each other at four stations: Anything that floats; Anything that flies; Anything that rolls; and Marble Run!
To begin, each team selected a member to get their materials. They had 3 minutes to gather materials for their station. Then, the challenge began!
Marble Run Station
While the rolling station didn’t get much attention…
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…the Flight station got everyone excited!
The best part was the test flight!
Things are going really well! I am getting great feedback from the students and their parents. This week we dug a little deeper into: Stop-Motion Animation, Paper-Slide Animation, Shadow Puppet Theatre, iMovie with the iPad, Chroma-key (green screen) Effects, and Kaleidoscopes!
Up Next: Construction!
We decided that we were having so much fun learning about optics the first week that we wanted to spend more time at each station. So I extended the station time to about half an hour each. That means we only got to explore two stations instead of four. This week we got to explore the other two optics stations.
Magnification and Reflection: At this station, students experimented with lenses and mirrors. There were binoculars, telescopes, periscopes, microscopes, magnifying glasses and spy glasses. They got to make their own periscope!
“Eye” see you!
Illusions & Distortions: There were books and cards with hundreds of optical illusions for students to decipher at this station. There was also a 3-D mirascope, a pair of rainbow diffraction glasses, and a bee-eye teleidoscope. Students made drawings on special 3-D paper and got a pair of glasses to take with them!
The Ames Room
Animation: At this station, students experimented with “old time” animation machines. There were thaumatropes, zoetropes, praxinoscopes, phenakistoscopes, and flipbooks! Students selected which of these animation toys they would like to make and take.
Light & Color: And at this station, students experimented with flash lights, LEDs, fiber optics, color films, black lights, and glow paper. They got to make their own color spinner!
Next week students will pick a station to delve deeper into. Then we’ll move onto Construction & Destruction! Look for lots more to come!