Bruce D. Williams
School: Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School of the Arts
Location: Trenton, NJ, USA
Grade Level(s): 6-8th
Courses Taught: Robotics/STEM Club
What are the main learning objectives in your course(s)?
The STEM Club covers engineering skills such as programming the BASIC Stamp 2 Microcontroller Module and the activities included in the BASIC Stamp Discovery Kit - USB. In addition, students must select a project that can be automated and displayed in the STEM showcase. Previous projects included K'nex rollercoasters, hoberman spheres, Teddy Bears, etc.
Our STEM club aims to motivate and build confidence in young people who struggle with STEM subjects, and provide an extra outlet for students who already show aptitude and are interested in furthering their learning.
The club meets twice a week for 1.5 hours in the Fall and Winter months, and once a week in the Spring.
Which Parallax items do you use in your course?
BASIC Stamp 2 Microcontroller Module and the activities included in the BASIC Stamp Discovery Kit.
Describe the experience for you and your students.
Outstanding Experience!! When I tell the students that their projects will be controlled by a single switch that is connected to a microcontroller, the students get really motivated. When they see their operating projects on display for the entire school to admire, that is a paradigm shift toward STEM careers.
What is your favorite Parallax product and why?
Definitely the BASIC Stamp 2 Microcontroller. I grew-up using Radio Shack's 150-in-1 electronic kit, but with the Stamp 2 module, simple coding replacing hours of hard wiring.
Any tips for other teachers?
Students will ascend to your expectation of excellent!!
Any other comments?