A Home for Speck

Carlow’s Outdoor Classroom, located on the campus grounds, is adjacent to the school bus drop off lanes. Members of the community have wondered about the effects on air quality of idling cars, buses, trucks and taxis waiting to pick up students and residents and to deliver produce and other supplies.

Through a partnership with the Sisters of Mercy and other generous benefactors, the Carlow Satellite recently dedicated an Outdoor Classroom where students will be able to explore the question of how plants affect air quality.

Students from Pre-K to 8 are tending to the garden’s plants in preparation for further investigation. Through classroom experiences, they’ll prepare to use the Speck monitors to design an investigation and quantify their findings.

Stay tuned to hear more as the students investigate.


Welcome the new Satellite Network website!

As the CREATE Lab Satellite Network celebrates 5 years of developing, validating, and sharing creative technology best practices in education, the network gets a shiny new website to match. 

Check it out now --> satellite.cmucreatelab.org

The new site is a venue for the Satellite Network to showcase their projects, broad impact, and reach as a mean to better tell our story.

To get the most out of the site watch the filtering tool tutorial below: 

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.


Robotics Session: Poster

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