Imagination, Innovation and Creating Robots from Scratch

The imagination of a child is said to be limitless. Great thinkers, from Albert Einstein to Dr. Seuss, sang praises of the power of imagination and its effect on learning and success. This summer, ASSET STEM Education™ put students’ imaginations to the test during its inaugural Engineer Your Summer Fun summer camp—and saw glowing results. One program in particular, Arts & Bots, developed by ASSET STEM Education in association with Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Lab (CREATE Lab) at Carnegie Mellon University, prompted summer campers to combine craft materials, robotic components, programming tools and a healthy dose of imagination to build and animate robotic creations. Campers used recycled materials and CREATE Lab’s Visual Programmer software to build and program their own robot. This course, typically provided as professional development to educators, is a true multidisciplinary course, combining art and technology to fashion moving, talking, one-of-a-kind creations.

ASSET camp educators provided materials like cereal boxes, construction paper and cardboard boxes and hands-on, concrete opportunities for campers to learn about coding and programming before designing and creating their robot. Special attention was given to the components of the Hummingbird Duo™ kit, the hardware used in conjunction with Visual Programmer software, and how these components attached to the controller and worked alongside one another. Campers then used what they learned—along with their own imagination and innovation—to produce their robotic creations.






At the close of summer camp, students shared their robots—and the successes and failures that inched them closer to a final product. Creating a working robot is a small victory; learning that it’s okay to fail on the road to success is a lifelong lesson.

To browse other hands-on, minds-on out-of-school learning opportunities for your students, like Arts & Bots, visit ASSET’s site.

GigaPan in the Elementary School Garden

At North Elementary School, we have 34 outdoor raised garden beds plus a pumpkin patch and pollinator garden areas. We utilize these beds plus EarthBoxes and grow-carts in the classroom to teach science, mathematics, English language arts, and other disciplines.

Portion of GigaPan Image of North Elementary School Garden (full image: http://gigapan.com/gigapans/159073 )

For the last 2 years, we also have integrated GigaPan into our garden-based learning projects.  This summer (2015), we have started to transfer what we have learned to other elementary schools in West Virginia.  This has involved preservice teachers who have learned the GigaPan technology and designed learning cycle units that embed GigaPan images of gardens and nature.

Goldfinch awaiting breakfast:  He’ll need to wait until the sunflower seed head matures! (Full image at http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/174487 )

Check out the lesson plans here.

The transfer to other schools also has included a summer (2015) workshop on GigaPan in the Garden for teachers and other educators throughout WV (agenda follows).

Developing Logic and Mathematics with Early Childhood Arts & Bots

This past summer - graduate students at Carlow University programmed hummingbird kits using visual programmer for an Arts & Bots project in a course entitled Developing Logic and Mathematics in Early Childhood Education. This was the first attempt at computer programming for these students.  The students explored how this type of project connects science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics and how integrated projects can fulfill multiple Next Generation Science Standards and address practices, crosscutting concepts, and core disciplinary ideas in creative and innovative ways.


And here are their bots in action.

High School Freshman Mentors and Engages Elementary Girls In STEM Robotics

For 14-year-old Fox Chapel Area School District freshman Annika Urban, teaching comes naturally. Annika is used to public speaking, and when she does have a podium, it is usually to share her knowledge and passion for STEM with others. Being interviewed for videos and in the media, speaking in front of her peers, teaching classes, presenting at conferences, showcasing her work at national competitions, and even meeting the President, these are all part of Annika's repertoire.

As part of the Fox Chapel Area School District's focus on encouraging STEM, Annika, along with two of her friends, co-taught an elementary summer programming class last summer. Wanting to continue teaching STEM classes to young students this summer, she started a new outreach program called SENSE (Student Exploration Network for Science and Engineering). SENSE is supported by the District and funded from Annika's $1,000 2nd place award in Engineering at the 2014 Broadcom MASTERS competition. The first course series would be focused on teaching robotics and empowering girls in STEM-related fields.

“I love teaching younger kids skills like robotics and computer programming-- watching the kids learn new skills and become so excited when they accomplish the task that they have been working so hard on is amazing.”

On August 18-20, 2015, Annika hosted eight young girls in O'Hara Elementary's Digital Dream Studio maker space. The girls, entering grades 4-6, begin exploring the world of programming, robotics, design, and STEM career pathways. Focusing on girls was a special priority as fewer women pursue science and engineering majors than men (AAUW, 2010). Annika and the District hope that these sessions could be a bridge to closing that gap.

Using the Hummingbird Robotics Kit and encouraging a positive growth mindset, the young female students were able to move through the process of understanding both the technical challenges of programming and building, as well as begin to understand how robotics interface with and affect the real world.

Students explored how they currently interact with robots and learned about the initial programming and sensor interaction process, servo manipulation, and the design process. During the three-day series, Annika guided the students to areas of deeper learning and strengthened their individual and group confidence through challenges and activities that fostered supportive conversation and constructive critique. On the final day, students were asked to consider human-controlled interaction (HCI) and create their own original robot moving from initial design, to programming, building, prototyping, showcasing, and sharing.

Annika and FCASD plant to continue the SENSE series in programming and robotics throughout the year and into next summer.

Resources:

Robotics Session: Poster


Written by Scott Hand, Reposted from FCASD.edu with permission

June Harless Center Hosted “Camp CREATE” In Gilbert, WV

Gilbert, W.Va. - The June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development, part of the College of Education at Marshall University, offered “Camp Create” at the Larry Joe Harless Community Center in Gilbert, W.Va., July 14-17th. “Camp Create” – which was held in memory of James H. “Buck” Harless - focused on engaging children with real technology and creative robotics while integrating the arts. This year’s theme was Jurassic World; the children created dinosaur robots.

Arts & Bots is a program created by the Carnegie Mellon Create Lab at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. The children used the visual programming software to program their robots to move, light up, and audio voice-overs. Each child created his or her own robot, which was displayed at the community center. A showcase of the creative robots was held for the families and community. 

Tytus Endicott works during Camp Create using Visual Programming software to program his tetradactyl robot.

Madelyn Billups uses the visual programming software to program the tree in the dinosaurs environment to rotate 360 degrees.

During the showcase, Jaelyn Blofsky, demonstrated the program she created for her dinosaur robot to move.

Family and community members watch as Eli Hagy programs his tyrannosaurus rex.

Left to right clockwise: Issac Jewell, Jonah Mahon, and Ben Wilson work during Camp Create to build and program their robots.

Grace Ellis created an environment for her dinosaur robot. Community members observe and interact with camp participants during the showcase.

Jaeden Osborne created a sequence on the visual programming software to go along with her dinosaur robot.

Read more »

STEAM Showcase @ Carlow CREATE Lab Satellite

The projects on display in this showcase represent learning experiences constructed by our faculty to prepare students with 21st century skills.

JOIN US TO LEARN MORE ABOUT…
•       Student science research projects
•       Robotics activities
•       CREATE Lab Satellite Projects
•       The 1-to-1 Computing Initiative
•       Interdisciplinary Projects in Fine Arts, Language Arts, Math, Religion, Science, Social Studies

Family Night
JANUARY 28, 2015
6 – 8 pm
Meet our student scientists

St. Agnes Center, on the Carlow University Campus
3333 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

We recognize the value of interdisciplinary investigation,
and the inspiration that results from the convergence of different disciplines.