Event Info:
The Browning School,
52 East 62nd Street New York, NY 10065
(212) 838-6280 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (212) 838-6280 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
When: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 4:00:-6:00 p.m.
What: What: Robotics/Electronics/Physical computing projects and Programming projects - a whole meeting about making stuff virtual and real world. - Tim Cooper
(originally planned for March)


Discussion Points:
  • How can we offer challenges in STEM (Sci,math,engineering and tech) to kids - such as programming, robotics, electronics, etc.?
  • How can we as a group foster these ideas in our schools through exhibitions, competitions, and other sharing - in the real and virtual worlds?
  • What are we all doing now and where would we like to be?

Tim Cooper, Friends Seminary, Presenting

FIRST Lego League
Levels of competition
  • Jr - LS/MS
  • First - MS
    • Both of the above levels use the Mindstorms NXT programming environment
  • First Tech - HS
    • $2k to start and $5-600/yr to maintain
    • US First Tech Challenge- HS
    • $20K to start
    • Tetrix robotic system from Lego Education
    • RobotC (Windows only - Mac version in beta)
NYSSL funds can be used for robotics equipment
Robo Expo happened last Saturday, 4/24/10

Development environments for teaching programming
  • Scratch
  • Scratch is a good way to introduce concepts
  • Scratch is used in a variety of programs, grades (4th to 9th and above)
  • Easily accessible (Friends uses scratch to demonstrate a scientific principles in 9th grade physics)
  • Processing is a good follow up to scratch (based on java)
  • Object oriented environment
  • Projects can be embedded on any web page for sharing
  • Online "classrooms" can be created for sharing work at www.openprocessing.org
  • Alice is similar to Scratch
  • Geared toward story telling
  • Built as a way to interest girls in programming
  • Python is a little more complex and/or difficult as an entry point, but it is more in the vein of where modern programming environments are headed.
  • There are communities built around all these programming environment
  • Friends is using Processing as the programming environment for their Intro to Computer Science course.

Arduino Devices
  • Similar to Pico boards (for Scratch)
  • A general hardware base on which to build electronic devices
  • Available for $20 (pre-built) or build your own for $10
  • Programming language is similar to java but runs closer to C
  • They accept sensors
  • Friends Seminary students have built an autonomous blimp
  • Can build wheeled things, game controllers, things with displays, etc.
  • They have USB ports for connecting to computers, as well as other analog ports
  • The system offers "shields" with different functions (motor, GPS, wave, etc.) that plug into the boards
  • Could we organize an Arduino exposition?

Maker Faire is Coming to Queens in September

And, speaking of making things, also see http://mpowercoop.org for green power projects your school can make and how to report on the power your project generates.