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An Arduino-Based Summer Camp Experience for High School Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Use of Technology and Tools for K-12 Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


John E. Post P.E. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott

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John. E. Post was born in Midland, Texas in 1958. He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University in 1981, the M.S. degree in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 2005.
He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army in December, 1981 and served on active duty until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in June, 2006. His military service included two tours as an Instructor and later Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. His final military assignment was as Chief of Engineering with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Test Division at Kirtland AFB, NM. After retiring from the military, he joined the Computer, Electrical, and Software Engineering Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ, where he is an Associate Professor and currently serving as Chair. His research interests include design and optimization of planar microwave circuits and devices, optimizing the design of low-noise microwave amplifiers, and engineering education.
Dr. Post is a member of Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi. He is currently serving as the faculty advisor for the Embry-Riddle IEEE Student Chapter and AZ Delta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi. He is also a Registered Professional Engineer of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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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.

Post, J. E. (2016, June), An Arduino-Based Summer Camp Experience for High School Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26571

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