Categories: Culturally Situated Design Tools, Libby Rodriguez
Tags: arduino, CSDT, Fast Track, Libby Rodriguez, Sensor, Skateboarder
So these past few weeks I have been going to Hackett Middle School twice a week to host an after school session to get the kids acquainted with the skateboarder CSDT. It’s been going well. I’ve mainly just tried to let the kids play around on it so that they come across things they don’t understand and then I can explain things to them.
This week I wanted to try something different, however. I borrowed a group of students’ past project from Ron Eglash called the Fast Track. It’s a hot wheels track wired with an arduino and four sensors and measures the speed a car takes to finish the track (http://pdi-studio5.wp.rpi.edu/fast-track/). I put the opensource code onto my laptop and took the track to the school today. Through this project, the kids learned about speed (being equal to distance over time) and about how gravity and mass help to increase speed. It was a success as there was 100% participation and the competition really excited them. Through our talks about speed, they learned ways to increase speed without changing the track (i.e. taping weights to their cars). But this could also be a negative if the weight is too great, so they had to find that perfect balance.
A cool thing I noticed also was that we encountered other interesting aspects to explain to the students through this exercise as we ended up talking about wind resistance and extraneous data. My main goal in this project, however, was to give them a physical way to think of the skateboarder CSDT. We talked about how they could increase the mass in the CSDT as well as changing the angles of the arcs and line segments to increase gravity. So my plan was to get kids excited about the project using toys and to help them understand real world applications for the CSDT. So I can reference that next week when we go back to working with skateboarder.
Categories: Culturally Situated Design Tools, Libby Rodriguez, [Lessons]
Math: Geometry, Algebra, slope, graphs
Science: Friction, Energy, Wind resistance, acceleration
Materials Needed: glue gun, cardboard, toy cars, finger skateboards, scissors, marbles, computers
Prep: Run Skateboarder CSDT – may need to install java on computers and download SB applets to computer hard drives. Optionally, you can just open in a browser: http://csdt.rpi.edu/subcult/sb/index.html
Open the Skateboarder application for each student, spend a few days letting them play around and experiment with the software, asking questions wherever they find the need to. During that, spend days on lessons talking about circle degrees for using the arcs for ramps, moving segments programmatically using translation or rotation, and elasticity and friction.
- Create your own skate park (to be referenced when you create your cardboard model).
- Try to get your boarder to stop on a ramp.
- Change the background of the application to a picture of your face and create a skate park so the skater skates around your face!
- Once you are content with your software skate park, create models out of cardboard mimicking the software models and compare what the software skater does compared to how a marble/finger skateboard/toy car behaves on the cardboard model.