Summer camp ideas?

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arpruss
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Summer camp ideas?

Post by arpruss » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:35 am

I'm wondering if anybody has knows any ideas for what material one would include in a one week, 1.5-hours per day, gifted student (grades 6-7 and 8-12) summer coding/eletronics camp based on the stm32f1 (or another MCU; but the black pill seems ideal for cost reasons)? Is the C/C++ based Arduino environment too hard for this?

In past years, I've been teaching a software-only camp, either using AgentCubes (a graphical agent-based system) or Minecraft+Python.

Ollie
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Re: Summer camp ideas?

Post by Ollie » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:12 am

For low cost, you could have an ultrasound sensor mounted on a servo and do a sonar mapping. The numeric results could be moved into Excel, Python, or Processing for rendering. If there would be more time, there could be a real-time sonar display. For fun, there could be a competition to recognize some objects.

You should check the EmBitz as an alternative for Arduino IDE. For that, you need an ST-Link dongle (few dollars) to download programs and do debugging.

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RogerClark
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Re: Summer camp ideas?

Post by RogerClark » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:20 am

I think you may be better off buying the cheapest Arduino Uno clones you can find.

STM32 boards are excellent and cheap but not 100% compatible with all libraries.

AVR hardware is a much safer bet.

Re:IDEs

I think coding in C at year 7 may be a stretch.


You may want to look at using Scratch, which I think is compatible with Arduino, ( but I dislike graphical programming environments as things seems to get messy as soon as you have to code for complex real world problems

racemaniac
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Re: Summer camp ideas?

Post by racemaniac » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:17 pm

maybe start out here: http://teachingkidsprogramming.org/courses/
Saw one of the people who started it give a presentation about this, looks like a decent free curriculum to help kids start out in programming.
Unless you've got a lot of experience in teaching, taking such a course as a basis is probably highly recommended :)

arpruss
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Re: Summer camp ideas?

Post by arpruss » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:07 pm

RogerClark wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:20 am
I think you may be better off buying the cheapest Arduino Uno clones you can find.

STM32 boards are excellent and cheap but not 100% compatible with all libraries.
It does depend on which libraries I'd actually want to use. I am thinking that one would probably just use some simple sensors and LEDs.
I think coding in C at year 7 may be a stretch.
Yeah.
You may want to look at using Scratch, which I think is compatible with Arduino, ( but I dislike graphical programming environments as things seems to get messy as soon as you have to code for complex real world problems
That might be worth looking at.

But I'm still short of ideas as to content...

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mrburnette
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Re: Summer camp ideas?

Post by mrburnette » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:26 pm

I looked at racemaniac's JAVA learning classes: I do not think this is appropriate for a beginner's class. I have not taught children, but I was a course developer and trainer for adult training specific to use of PC-based application software ... so, I do have an opinion as adults are often grown-up children in class.

I'm going to suggest you stay with Arduino for a number of reasons, but primarily because:
  • The IDE is free and runs on multiple OS platforms
  • The IDE and official hardware is well supported and documented
  • The IDE will download consistently on official boards
  • Arduino libraries for AVR are very mature
  • Lessons learned can be leveraged at home for students wishing to continue experimenting
  • Kids love blinky lights and weird sounds
All of the above can be done with a UNO clone for under $5 USD.

The "well supported" by the Official Arduino.cc forum is beneficial to both students (support if they continue beyond the class) and to the instructor as s/he prepares class exercises and handouts. No matter how well an instructor prepares, there is always the chance of getting a question that needs to be put in the "parking lot" for some research (yea, you do not know the answer.) UNO and the IDE are the subjects of books and numerous online articles.

Arduino has their own ideas here but I think such programs are best for in school programs and not for a summer course.

Based on years of adult experience, I would recommend an "incremental" approach to programming, where concepts are explored and students given a boiler-plate on which to expand the lesson. Expect a variety of approaches from the students. At the end of each lesson, reset the expectation by providing a completely working example so that all students may start the next lesson with the same base code template. In this manner, you can drive the lesson forward without some students being left behind. Often, students may be a lesson or two forward when a spark goes off in their brain on a concept covered in a past lesson. A summer course is not-for-credit, so it is important to remember that students should all be taught concepts collectively - but, it is important to give quick learners time to play outside of the sandbox, too. So ensure that advanced students have an opportunity to go beyond the materials at hand - I like to do this in a separate class and with my adults, it was after dinner when I would return to the classroom and allow those desiring more time to have an extra hour or two. Generally, my experience has shown that only less than 10% of the class will avail themselves of this opportunity and the day-to-day return rate will be inconsistent; that is, some evenings no one will show and I would have my own personal quiet time.

Limor has an online basic Arduino course that could be plagiarized into a few lesson plans :lol:

Ray

arpruss
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Re: Summer camp ideas?

Post by arpruss » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:23 pm

I didn't know the Uno clones were so cheap these days. Looks like less than $3 on Aliexpress, and I wouldn't have to install bootloaders or solder headers. So, yes, a better bet than stm.

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zoomx
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Re: Summer camp ideas?

Post by zoomx » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:47 pm

Scratch for Arduino exists
http://s4a.cat/
never used, anyway.

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mrburnette
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Re: Summer camp ideas?

Post by mrburnette » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:52 pm

zoomx wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:47 pm
Scratch for Arduino exists
http://s4a.cat/
never used, anyway.
My old cat used to scratch and he could not program worth anything ...

I'm old school, Arduino language is just well documented and supported. The concepts learned apply to many languages but there are far more Arduino examples and the formal Arduino.cc forums are well vested with working examples and solutions to common problems.


Ray

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RogerClark
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Re: Summer camp ideas?

Post by RogerClark » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:27 pm

Ray, you link is $5 for the USB cable not the uno

I did a quick search on Aliexpress and found some boards at $2.60, however beware that some did not appear to have the headers soldwred on.

I have one of the cheap Uno boards as it came with a 3 wheeled robot kit ( it was cheaper to buy the whole kit including the Uno ( which I didnt want) than to buy the "robot" on its own.

It seems to be well made, but uses a CH340 for USB to Serial and has a SMD ATMega328

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