Magical Micro:bit Forest - WICO Summer 2019 3.4
For the last two days of the 3rd week of WICO summer camp we introduced a longer term project for the group that allowed learners to combine the ideas that we explored during the week of coding, cardboard construction, collaboration and creativity.
Instead of a computational zoo, we created a new theme of a ‘magical microbit future forest’, a eclectic topic that combined robotic creations, woodland animals, fantasy creatures and sci-fi themes. As well some of the campers had the idea of an ‘elf supervisor’ to guide the process and approve the designs.
We started by doing a collective brainstorm of the projects, getting a few ideas from each of the campers and putting them up on the white board.
Then campers got into small groups and started working on projects. The groups of 2-3 tinkerers came up with the idea for a castle theme with a flower, windmill and butterfly, a dancing potato, a turtle with a giant eye, a slithering snake and the elf supervisor.
There were some really great explorations and engineering on the first day of building. One of the campers constructed a giant flower (taller than her) and made it stable and sturdy. Another group created a really nice servo powered switch to control a RGB light play light.
Along the way, there was time for the group to explore technique for using the box cutter to shape cardboard and practice programming continuous and positional servo motors.
At the end of the day the groups reconvened and chatted about the plans and priorities for the final day of camp to bring their projects to a shareable place.
On Friday it was so amazing to see the campers come in and want to just start up working on their projects. As well we had a new elf supervisor/consultant with Saskia Leggett from Scratch/Anki/WICO CCPD workshops helping out in place of Sarah.
Campers put in so much hard work on both the coding side and the construction side of the projects. As well it was great to see how they responded if something didn’t work perfectly, focusing on the process more than the outcome.
One group that epitomized the collaborative process was a team of three working on a snake (and rider). They had some amazing innovations like embedding the color changing LED in the face of the character and using radio functions to remote control the snake. Both their building process and code was amazingly complex and even though they could have used another day to get everything working perfectly, they were really proud of their accomplishment!
Another team split a castle/garden project into three parts that each came together beautifully. There was a spinning windmill, a beautiful butterfly and a giant flower with a light sensing element.
Sometimes in these projects the story really takes over like for the group working on the dancing potato swamp band player. They made such a funny character, refined the movements and then embellished the story with interchangeable cardboard instruments that could be swapped out with velcro.
It was cool to see parts from previous activities integrated into the final projects. The group with the elf supervisor continued exploring LEDs in multiple ways, creating a scene with the light play lights and adding a microbit controlled LED to the end of the elf’s wand.
And there was a really nice moving turtle that featured a carefully formed cardboard/foam shell, a color changing giant eye and two fins attached to DAGU gearbox motors to propel it around the floor.
At the end of the day special adults came by to check out the creations that their campers had worked on over the course of the week. I love this moment of sharing, questions, and idea generation as a large group and it’s always great to see the campers become teachers, showing their parents, siblings and friends the different components. It was truly a magical microbit forest experience!