Creative, Project Spark

Intuition in Kids

Some time ago, we were testing a STEM related product for kids at a low income school. The purpose of this project was to find out if kids could program using block programming. Another interest was to see how intuitive it was to use a plug and play hardware without much intervention.

The kids really did a good job at expressing their creativity by making fun projects! Due to the success, a newer version of the prototype was developed.

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Project Spark

Project Spark: Electronics Everyday

This was a bit advanced than the previous workshop. The kids used an integrated circuit, the 555 timer. They learnt to operate it in both monostable and astable mode. In the monostable mode, a push button was used to turn an LED on, where as in astable mode, the circuit operated on its own.

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Further more, some of them modified the astable circuit to alternatively blink two LEDs. A short video summary of the workshop is below:

Project Spark

Project Spark: Fun Electronics

So, the second Project Spark workshop was on basic electronics. It was conducted on January 21st 2018. The kids learnt things such as Ohm’s law and it’s application in building simple circuits.

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They also learnt about special types of resistors, such as light dependent resistor and potentiometer, and also about the bipolar junction transistor. They built a circuit to control the brightness of LEDs using these elements.

 

Creative, Project Spark

Project Spark: Mars Lander

On November 5th, we had a Mars Lander developing workshop. Of course, we were not actually going to build a lander, but use the concepts to build something which can be dropped from the 4th floor (5th for the Americans) of a building. With 18 participating kids between the age of 10 and 13, grouped into 6 teams.

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At the end of the workshop, the kids learned about using fundamental concepts of physics and creative thinking to develop a surround structure of a fragile payload. The payload was a light bulb wrapped inside a plastic covering. Each team had the opportunity to build a prototype which had to use at least two of these concepts:

  1. Create an external casing to protect the payload from impact
  2. Use a material to reduce the drag of the falling object
  3. Build a surface at the point of contact to reduce the impact

Ultimately any combination of these had to be use, with making sure that the total weight of the prototype including the payload is the least. The kids were given only a selection of prototyping materials: masking tape, ice cream sticks, plastic straws, balloons, thread, plastic bags, papers, and barbecue skewers.

The great thing is that we had also built a structure. the tetrahedral pyramid using straws and showed the kids when we began testing all the

prototypes. All 6 prototypes were tested, and none of them broke when thrown from the height. Below are the 6 teams with the prototypes, and after that, the testing video.

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