Feb 23, 2007

Datalogging + Robotics

Tufts University’s Center for Educational Engineering Outreach held their first LEGO Engineering Symposium in January. For three days, 70 people from 8 countries gathered to explore and develop new ideas and activities that bring datalogging into the classroom or other educational settings.

The CEEO students and staff have published all of the materials generated here. Included are:

- A list of 71 Things to do with LEGO Mindstorms and Data
-
The presentations from the Symposium
- Documented activities generated by the Symposium participants

3 comments:

Hans Mundahl said...

This looks great - it's just the kind of resource I was looking for - thanks!

Brian Davis said...

Very interesting! I wish I could have attended, as not only is it an interest of mine, but even a semi-professional interest of mine (when I'm not playing with LEGO or raising kids, I teach college-level physics). The article on "Beyond the Black box" was enlightening, in that one of the cases (the girl with the marble machine science fair entry, and the teacher who tried to discourage her because it did not adhere to the "scientific method" parallels current events in my life rather nicely. My son decided to make a NXT-based line-follower for the science fair, but some people were concerned because he was not following the "scientific method" seemingly required. Well, I encouraged him to do it anyway, and at the end we tacked on a "tuning" experiement, where he varied a number of parameters to see what works best.

The result? For his school science fair, (3rd through high school), he placed first in his division, and took best in show as well. I'd blog on this formally, but the project is currently on display at his school, before being sent on to the regional science fair at Notre Dame.

As a scientist, I can honestly say... we are not remotely constrained by the "scientific method". You experience, question, and learn from the world around you, with any and every tool at your disposal.

In the "71 things to do..." document, they list playing with an accelerometer... but they miss swing sets and merry-go-rounds :-).

Excellent link! Thanks! How do I get invited :-) ?

--
Brian Davis

Larry Langellier said...

Hi Brian,

I lucked into getting invited this year myself. I ran across an invitation to participate on the CEEO website in the middle of November. There was a simple application to fill out and I got my acceptance on the same day that I applied.

The conference was free this year, but I believe there will be a nominal charge next year. The best way to get invited would be to check CEEO's conference schedule at http://ceeo.tufts.edu/content/view/40/57/ periodically or to email Morgan Hynes at morgan.hynes@gmail.com and request to be put on CEEO's conference notification mailing list.

I hope to attend again next year and would love to meet you there!

I love the story about your son's science fair line-follower project. I am developing an "Intermediate LEGO Programming and Sensors" class for this summer and one of the main types of activities I plan are what I would also term "tuning" experiments. In other words, give students a simple challenge and then have them conduct a variety of experiments to determine ways their robot design can be improved to more reliably and effectively solve the challenge.

If you download the "Datalogging Activities" Development Lab Outcomes zip file, in the Session 2 folder you will find a file called "Measuring Speed of a Motor" that I think you will find in line with this general idea. I collaborated on this with Denis Coffey from the Rhode Island School of the Future and James Isom from Lego Ed West.

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