Last Friday at Skyline High School, rather than taking a traditional final exam, students in the Introduction to Electronics class with Ms. Vadovzski prepared poster presentations of projects that they created during the semester. Each project was required to demonstrate some type of interactivity using an Arduino and traditional electronics.
Skyline High School is one of our local high schools that we’ve partnered with over the past couple years. Last Friday at Skyline High School, rather than taking a traditional final exam, students in the Advanced Engineering Electronics class prepared poster presentations of projects that they created during the semester. Students in this class were required to arrive dressed in professional attire and present to their teachers, peers, and invited guests.
Before jumping into the projects, I want to give a little background on this class. This class is a one semester Junior elective that is part of a sequence of classes within Skyline’s STEM Academy Program. Each of these classes are modeled after the GEEN 1400 - First-Year Engineering Projects class at the University of Colorado - Boulder.
Across the four years, the format of each class is fairly similar. Each class generally has two design projects – one smaller / introductory project, and a second, larger-scale in-depth design project.
The first project allows students to navigate basic concepts, design principles, and team dynamics. These projects usually last 2 - 3 weeks – allowing students to learn skills such as project management, requirements assessment, presentation skills, constraints, and budgets. Woven into this first project, the teacher is able to integrate technical concepts of engineering and design.
In this electronics class, students started with their first introductory project prompt: “To Design and construct an Original Musical Instrument utilizing a MaKey MaKey Board and the program Scratch to perform a short (1-3 minute) composition.”
In less than two weeks from the start of the school year, students in this class had rigged up a variety of interfaces to their Makey-Makey from: fish bowls filled with water to aluminum foil covered paper plates to the traditional fruits and veggies. It was really impressive!
With this introduction to circuits, electronics, and basic programming, the class jumped into Arduino and circuit building with the Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit.
The class spent the remainder of the semester working through various circuits in the SIK learning basic programming principles and electronics. Starting in mid-October, the students were introduced to their final design project for the class:
The initial project proposals varied from group to group and included:
- The project is a bike jacket with turn signal LEDs and other lights to draw attention to the bicyclist.
- A heartbeat sensor that registers heart beats their speed and the absence of one as well. When too fast, the lights/display will freak out.
- The project is an electronic version of the classic dice game “Liar’s Dice.”
- A box LED that changes color based on temperature, changes the brightness, and acts as a motion sensor as well.
- This project is called Power laces. The whole purpose of this project is to hook up an Arduino to a shoe in order to tighten up you shoe laces.
- Game of Simon with a scoreboard, tracking the player’s score
- A reactive LED coffee table that senses when an object is on it and lights up where the object is.
- A halloween based project that has three different sensors that makes the head which is the main prop do something.
- A tweet and you have your choice of decaf, regular, or pumpkin spice waiting for you when you get home.
- An LED cube that lights up in different arrays when a button is pressed and the temperature sensor is pressed.
Here are what the final projects ended up looking like - we hope that these projects will inspire you and your own students:
Simon Says with a Scoreboard Counter
Interactive LED Cube
Twitter counter / bell ringer (rings the bell each time a tweet comes in)
Halloween-based project (Head spins on a servo and LEDs change blinking based on flex & soft potentiomenter
Interactive Coffee Table (turns on LEDs when you place an object over a photodetector)
Magic Crystal Mood Lamp
Liar’s Game w/ two LCD displays utilizing shift registers for addtl. I/O
Interactive LED Lamp
Pretty awesome and inspiring! Congratulations to all of the students at Skyline High School in Longmont, CO and to Ms. Vadovszki for an amazing semester.
What cool projects are you doing in your school? If you have photos / projects / ideas to share, please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you all are enjoying the time away from school. Happy Holidays!