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DonkeyCar: Raspberry Pi Controlled Robot Car

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Last summer, I worked with students at Waupaca Middle School to create robotic cars. We started building from instructions from donkeycar.com, to build cars powered by Raspberry Pi computers.


This process was technical, but my students did much of the heavy lifting. I created the disk images for the students, and my 3d printer was printing some of the largest parts ahead of time for our two week course. We were successful in creating drivable cars, within a week! 
Here is a list of what the students did: Disassemble necessary parts of the carAssembly.Mounting battery.Finding the codes for calibrating the cars.3d printing parts.programing in their codes, launching the driving website.designing a road course for the cars.connecting a tablet to drive their car.driving the cars.and learning to fix the cars... when they didn't work so well. Here is the process that we followed.

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We have more work to do... but the platform has options to expand.  Looking in the future to work…

Robotics Club

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Waupaca Middle School Robotics Club This year, my students have been asking me for an after school club. Students loved working with video cameras, and exploring the various robots I have in my classroom.  I partnered up with my Tech Ed Teacher,  Mr. Michael Waldschmidt, and we opened the labs for students to create.

Our new after school club has been working to build STEM skills in our Middle School students. The first project was working to create a hydraulic arm, using syringes, and rubber tubing.

The slides below are a bit of a log of what our students are up to, which run on digital signage outside of the lab.



Currently, students are learning about coding, using Ozobots and Spheros. Students also are learning to manually fly light drones, such as the Parrot Mambo and the Tello Rize.
Students are beginning to work through the Apple Swift Playgrounds app, to learn ways to code the drones and robots.

Chicken Feed

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Chicken feed! UPDate: We tried, but the eggs didn't hatch!

Lesson: Failure is ok. The eggs were fertilized in winter, and I guess that this makes the eggs less likely to hatch. This was a first attempt, and I guess we didn't get spring chickens!

But, we learned about live streaming, chickens, and some changes to try next time.
Original Post:
My students were interested in hatching chicken eggs. We talked through the problem, and decided to create a live stream, similar to the April the Giraffe baby watch.


So, we are currently on Day 1 of our 21 day hatch. Incubator is set up, student jobs decided, and the live feed is up!

Join in the chicken fun!




3D printed Tripod adaptor for Microphone.

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I work with multiple iPads in a classroom where Green Screen editing happens regularly.  I struggle with finding ways to attach a microphone to the iPad. My RODE mic has what is called a 'cold shoe' on the bottom of it. Which attached nicely to my iOgrapher case for iPad mini.



My problem is that I only have one iOgrapher case, and 10 iPads. I needed a way to attach the Mic to a tripod when the iOgrapher is not available.

So I came up with this, that I made in TinkerCAD. I finished it off with a few bolts and wingnuts. Depending on the size of your tripod, you might need to wrap some cardboard around the pipe that the mount connects to...




Let me know what you think!

NASA Mars Rover project.

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This school year, I am looking to develop my school's interest in Robotics. I stumbled across this project in my feed. It is a miniature version of the NASA JPL Mars Rover.

I plan to build and program a robot with my students at Waupaca Middle School. Students will learn to work design and build, program, and find solutions to robotic exploration. We will follow the Stanford Design process, and create tools for the robot to be able to find information about it's environment.

I am developing the unit now, but I will post links and resources as I create them.




Getting Started with Green Screen

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Over the last year, I worked with students to create a broadcast studio for my school's announcements.  We worked with a live recording, where our 'anchor desk' could record the pieces together.

There were a lot of pieces, but we were able to get some nice results.

Items needed:


Green Screen or Painted Green wall.  I used a Matte Finish green paint from my local paint store.  Lights.  I found mine on Amazon. Video Camera or Digital SLR with an HDMI output.  I had a Nikon D3300 and a Samsung Video camera.  Having the ability to zoom is a good idea for larger groups. HDMI Capture Card, and a cable to suit. I use the Blackmagic UltraStudio Mini Recorder, which outputs to Thunderbolt on my iMac.  But the Elgato Cam Link looks good too. Check the connections on your computer, because this is the device that connects your Camera to your computer.  Software.  OBS Studio is a great piece of open source software. It runs on multiple operating systems.  It connects to almost everythi…

Adobe Spark for Chromebooks

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Adobe Spark is a great way to create video with a Chromebook.  It is simple, scaffolded, and works. 8th grade students at my school are currently using it for Social Studies, but it could be used for many applications.
Here are my tips for getting started with Adobe Spark Video on a Chromebook.  Full video above, but my tips are linked below by topic.

Finding and Inserting Pictures: Start 2 minutes in. Creating Map images with Google Maps to insert: Start 5 minutes in. Starting to record your voice overs : Start 6 1/2 minutes in. Downloading and Sharing: Start about 7 minutes in.
Hope this helps!