With school back in session, WMSI's science van, now artistically decked out in fancy decals, is once again touring the North Country, bringing innovative challenges, creative problem solving, and loads of fun to students around the North Country!
WMSI Mobile Lab has been edited and shined up in many areas, particularly in regards to our curriculum. WMSI has added units in animation, videography, and robotics, to name a few! We're very excited about our brand new robotics session: Robotic Art Drawers!
As we were brainstorming year two curriculum, we got really excited about de-mystifying the 3D printer and making it more understandable for students. a 3D printer is really just 3 motors which allows side to side and up/down movement as well as codes that give the machine coordinates to follow. We simplified this idea to two motors, more basic code, and a marker instead of a plastic melter. The main take away? Machine artistry is fun and we can build these artistic machines without having a Masters in Engineering!
After introducing these main points to students, our STEM Explorers raced into the project with enthusiasm and excitement! First, they practiced a skill every designer needs to know: following poorly written blue prints (hmm I wonder who wrote those...). They patiently built, following instructions and thinking critically whenever details were vague or unclear (ok ok, I wrote them!).
After building, we talked about another key part of any designer's job: making your own creations through trial and error! Students fired up laptops and began to code their robots, putting together loops with motor commands that would run the robotic scissor arm of their builds. They next explored different speeds for their two motors and how those speeds would effect their designs. Soon, students had discovered motor speeds that would draw complex shapes such as hearts, skulls, spoons, and the coolest doodles the world has EVER SEEN!
All in all, it was a great show of creativity in coding for our STEM Explorers across the North Country! We can't wait to see what these excited students dream up in the coming weeks!