New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
A summer camp for high school students was created at XXX XXX in XX, XX to expose them to fundamental concepts involved in microprocessor programming and physical computing. During this intensive five-day camp students were introduced to the Arduino-based Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit (SIK) as the hardware platform, along with Arduino’s Integrated Design Environment (IDE) for programming. This approach facilitated introducing electronics and programming concepts to high-school students, many of whom had little or no previous programming or circuit construction experience.
During the first part of the camp, students worked through the 16 experiments included with the SIK. These experiments exposed students to introductory concepts like blinking an LED, and then moved on to more advanced topics like controlling RGB LEDs, reading temperature sensors, and driving LCD displays. At each step students learned basic principles behind digital and analog electronics and microprocessor programming in a language similar to the C/C++ programming languages. The final SIK laboratory experiment involved constructing a relatively sophisticated “Simon Says” game in order to challenge the student’s circuit construction and programming abilities. During the second half of the camp, students worked in teams of two to three to implement designs of their own selection using their SIKs. As they developed their designs, students were introduced to the engineering design process. Students were required to provide daily design reviews where they discussed the progress of their design, related any issues that were impeding their progress, and then brain-stormed solutions to the problems they encountered. These daily sessions introduced camp participants to the communications and presentation skills so important to practicing engineers. Student projectss ranged from digital clocks with alarm functions, to wireless control of a small mobile robot, to a multi-function calculator with memory.
During the last day of the camp each team provided a final presentation and project demonstration to the entire group. Students also completed an evaluation of the camp and the camp’s curriculum. In responding to the evaluation 15 out of 16 students either Agreed or Strongly Agreed with the statement “The activities conducted during the week met or exceeded my expectations for the camp.” Additionally, 9 out of 15 students either Agreed or Strongly Agreed with the statement “I am more interested in studying computer, electrical, or software engineering as a result of this camp than I was before.” This paper provides details of the topics, schedule, enrollments, and student evaluations of the Arduino-based Summer Camp conducted at XXX XXX in XX, XX during summer 2015.
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