Simple Machines

I have started to implement my “Cardboard Automata” unit of work at several schools this week. It has been interesting to observe how the students engage with this open ended construction task. At the moment they are in the immersion phase, understanding the relationship between gears and cams and how they could potentially manipulate this information to make something move. Doing this investigation in cardboard has also thrown up lots of interesting bumps in the road for the students.

Their construction skills, their preponderance to eschew rulers and box cutters and use guestimation and blunt scissors is a sight to behold! We will need to have some deep reflection about their construction process and its impact upon the effectiveness of the outcome, before we move onto the meat of the project! Fun to be part of though.

Students at Howick working on their first cardboard automata

Remote Controlled Gate

I spent the last week in Hokitika working on a DT/HM PLD contract. On Thursday I worked with the STEM teacher from the High School who works with the students from contributing schools. We set up the students with an initial challenge to work out how the radio function works on the Micro:Bits so that the students could send “texts” to each other. Once they had mastered this skill we set the students the main challenge to design and build a remote controlled farm gate.

In the first instance we had to show them how to configure the Adafruit Crickit to work with the Micro:Bit. Once we had led them through this task, we left them to the challenge. This is the end result: