After everyone finished up working on their cardboard robot creations, we set them aside to be able to showcase them on the museum floor on Day 4. Now it was time for our DATE WITH AN ARDUINO!
Arduino is a accessible, versatile, and resourceful open-source electronics platform. It’s a great transition from Hummingbird + Scratch and we were excited to have the interns start learning how to use it.
First, we talked about the basics of electronics. It was important for them to learn about basic circuitry such as the difference between open, closed, and short circuits. They also learned the basics of switches, resistors, and LEDs. We made sure they had exposure to how breadboards worked and how to read diagrams that we made from the fritzing app, an "open source hardware initiative that makes electronics accessible."
Afterwards, we started working on our Arduinos with the best, most accessible project to work on: making an LED turn on and blink! The interns learned how to use the Arduino IDE and the basics of the code. They learned how to name variables, how to delay the LED blinking, the difference between analog and digital pins, and different functions.
As an added bonus, we threw in how to use a potentiometer to make an LED dimmer or brighter. After several trials and errors, we realized that there was a small problem with our circuit diagram (can you spot it?) that was hindering our ability to make the circuit work. This was a great learning opportunity for our interns to learn how arduinos work more in depth and gave them the sense that nothing always works perfectly and patient troubleshooting is essential.
It was a very productive day today! Next week, we'll be doing much more work with Arduino in preparation for our final project. We can't wait to continue learning more with our interns.