The 2015 Inno/Vention competition for the students of the 2014 RET Site teachers is scheduled on May 7, 2015, and is expected to draw significant interest from the RET Site participants and their students. Below we provide illustrative examples of how the participants from the 2014 summer workshop have integrated their RET Site experiences in their classroom activities.Prasad Akavoor
and David Arnstein
engaged 65 female students in a science course on two 10-day long engineering collaborations, including a fictitious "restless baby syndrome" challenge and a global sustainability/energy use challenge, with both projects including research, presentation, prototyping, peer evaluation, engineering design process, and creative problem solving.
Prasad Akavoor and David Arnstein write that they have been making progress "on implementing engineering projects at Chapin that have been inspired by our work at NYU Tandon this past summer in the RET program. It has been a busy year for us at Chapin, and we have taken the inspiration and direction of the RET program to heart." There are four specific areas where the RET experience has impacted their work, although there is a broader shift towards Engineering/Design principles in their teaching that is also underway. Since Chapin is an all-girls school, the curriculum changes and projects Prasad and David have integrated into their work provide a direct impact on a targeted group-young women in STEM. While specific demographic information about students is private, students at Chapin come from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and New Jersey. Young women of color make up 38% of the student body and 21% of the girls receive tuition assistance. The four specific areas the two teachers have focused on are as follows.
- Revamping the 8th grade science course to include two 10-day long engineering collaborations. The two collaborative engineering projects had an impact on the entire 8th grade (65 students). The first project involved a fictitious engineering challenge we created called the "Restless Baby Syndrome (RBS) Project." A website was developed (work on this began at NYU Tandon in summer) that described a malady called RBS. Students, working in teams, had to design a solution to this syndrome. The second project was designed to integrate into the school's International Week programming (although the project spanned a little more than two weeks). Students had to identify and research a real-world problem related to Global Sustainability/Energy Use and develop a solution to a problem they identified. Both projects had multiple components including research, presentation, prototyping, peer evaluation, engineering design process, and creative problem solving.
- A new Upper Level Engineering course was developed and offered to students for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year. This course is intended to challenge young women who intend to pursue careers in STEM to "College Level" engineering and design challenges. The intent of the course is to ultimately replace an AP Physics course with an alternative that provides real-world challenges, a broad look at various engineering practices, internship and research opportunities, and an inspiring curriculum that deals with modern practices and inquiry. While this course is expected to have a small enrollment next year, the plan is for enrollment to grow to 12-18 young women/year.
- A new engineering-based unit for current physics students. This unit has been planned for the Spring 2015 and it is based directly on inspirations and work completed during the RET program at NYU Tandon. The unit involves study of electric circuits in detail and motors in particular. More specifically, students will be investigating the effect of load on motors as they begin to learn electromagnetic induction and Faraday's law.
- Extra-curricular work in Robotics at Chapin. The two teachers coach robotics teams at Chapin - Prasad works with the school's FIRST Robotics program (open to grades 9-12) and David launched a new RoboSoccer Jr. team (for 6-8 grade). These teams meet regularly after school for the entire school year. While the numbers of students are currently modest (12-15 students) these are high profile programs that build upon a much larger Robotics program in grades 4-6 (80 students enrolled).
With resources from Code.og, Lee Hollman
is engaging students in an after school club to build and program robots. In collaboration with a social entrepreneurship company, Uncharted Play, he conducted a pilot program for 40 students and has prepared four lessons.
Lee Hollman has introduced advanced robotics and social entrepreneurship to a variety of students this year across multiple classes. For his 4th/5th grade special education class, he taught the fundamentals of electrical engineering by using some of the RET lecture slides and a Snap Circuits kit to create a working circuit board for school's science fair. The circuit board and slides were also used at the school's Student Enrichment Model (SEM) program, in which teachers lead extracurricular clubs, impacting 15 additional students from general education and gifted classes. The Boe-Bot was also introduced during SEM program to bring coding to the robotics club for the first time. Students built remote-controlled and programmable robots as before, but Lee also used resources from code.org to introduce coding concepts for the Boe-Bot. The school's technology teacher plans to introduce the Boe-Bot to her upper-grade classes, impacting at least 50-60 more students. Lee also partnered with Uncharted Play, a social entrepreneurship company that is developing a curriculum for schools. (The inspiration came from RET instructor Dr. Nov's entrepreneurship module.) Lee ran a pilot program with 40 students, a team of six from this group will introduce an invention and business venture concept at NYU's Inno/Vention contest. Uncharted Play has invited Lee to help revise their curriculum for teaching social entrepreneurship, and he has written four lessons. Meanwhile, he plans on continuing to teach his social entrepreneurship curriculum to at least 30-40 new students next year.Louis Morgan
is engaging students in the school's Science Bowl Club and the Amateur Radio and Wireless Technology Club. In addition, his AP Biology class students will be presented a mechatronics lesson and will have option to perform a mechatronics project.
Louis Morgan has engaged his school's Science Bowl Club to learn from his RET site experience. For example, he has brought the Boe-bot kit to the club meetings for students to experiment with the robot. For the club's research and career day event, he plans to give a talk on mechatronics and demonstrate various activities. He has also planned a trip for the club's students to NYU business incubator. These activities are impacting approximately 40 students. In another activity, he is working with his school's Amateur Radio and Wireless Technology Club. The team has developed wirelessly operated vehicles by integrating the use of Raspberry Pi single-board computer. Louis is now working with the students in club to investigate the use of Arduino for Ham radio. This activity is impacting about 5 students. For his AP biology class, he had developed a mechatronics lesson that will be implemented after the AP Biology exam in May 2015. The students also have an option to perform a mechatronics project. This activity will impact over 100 students. Finally, he is collaborating with a colleague and RET Site attendee, Dr.Walcott, to mentor a student team for the 2015 Innovention contest at NYU SoE for the students of RET Site teachers.Horace E. Walcott
has been a multi-year RET Site participant. In 2011, Mr. Walcott of Brooklyn Tech. H.S. was selected as one of 20 Siemens STAR teachers nationwide. Since 2012, he has annually served as a research mentor in a program wherein students conduct multi-year research and participate in the national and international STEM talent search contests. In spring 2014, 13 classes, consisting of 33 students per class, will conduct experiments with H2Go Cars to solve problems in electrochemical thermodynamics of hydrogen combustion and its interfacing with applied mechatronics.
Since 2012, Horace E. Walcott has served as one of the five mentors for the Weston Research Scholars Program at the Brooklyn Technical High School (BTHS). The program enables 20 gifted students each year to conduct multi-year research and participate in the major national and international STEM talent search contests. The students also publish their investigations in peer-reviewed journals and present papers at national and international conferences. In 2014, three papers were presented at the International Fuel Cell Conference in Boston, MA. Tameem Ahmed, a Weston Scholar under Horace's mentorship, represented New York City at the NAACP sponsored ACT-SO talent search competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tameem has been developing a low-temperature solid oxide fuel cell that requires mechatronics for its operation. He was the first place (i.e., Gold Medal) winner in the 2014 Spring NYC ACT-SO talent search contest and will participate in the 2015 Google World Science Fair. Reaz Mohammad, a senior at BTHS and a Weston Research student, has been developing an in-pipe water turbine, which will be used in developing countries for energy harvesting of the hydrokinetic energy from water flowing from the roofs of houses due to rainfall. Reaz participated in the Intel Science Talent Search contest and will be participating in the Google World Science Fair. He participated in the 2015 New York City Science and Engineering Fair and won the Environmental Quest Award. Reaz will also represent BTHS at the 2015 Innovention contest at NYU SoE. RET teachers Mr. Morgan and Horace are the mentors for Reaz as he prepares for the Innovention contest. In Spring 2015, 13 classes consisting of 33 students per class will be conducting experiments with H2Go Cars. They will be able to solve problems in electrochemical thermodynamics of hydrogen combustion and its interfacing with applied mechatronics. Two abstracts from three Weston Research students at BTHS have been submitted for publication and presentation at the 2015 International Fuel Cell Conference in San Diego.Sarah Wigodsky
and her 15 seniors from the advanced electronics course visited mechatronics, composites, and incubator labs at NYU SoE on a field trip.
Sarah Wigodsky co-taught the senior Engineering and Entrepreneurship course for two months. The course had 9 students, 7 boys and 2 girls. She taught the students about entrepreneurship using her RET Site experience and supported them through a project in which they worked to redesign an existing product. She also incorporated her mechatronics experience and content when teaching about capacitors in her electronics course, which had 12 students, 10 boys and 2 girls. A group of 15 seniors, from the Advanced Electronics course and Engineering and Entrepreneurship course, visited NYU SoE on Tuesday, October 28, 2014. They visited Dr. Kapila's mechatronics lab, Dr. Gupta's composite materials lab, and the SoE incubator. Jared Frank demonstrated the CAESAR robot that he has built and programmed and talked about his experiences as an engineering student. Steven Zeltmann and Chongchen Xiang taught our students about composite materials and performed a dynamic compression test. Sarah showed the students her research poster from the summer and discussed the project she had worked on with RET teacher Charisse Nelson. The group also toured the incubator, learned about how it supports new green companies, and heard from entrepreneurs about their experiences.Michael Zitolo
created an eight-week curriculum, offered to 30 seniors (11 females, 19 males), on physical computing. As a Master Teacher Fellow, he led 8 workshops to introduce 40 NYC teachers to Arduinos.
Michael Zitolo has created an eight-week curriculum on Physical Computing using Arduinos that is being implemented with his Physics II classes. In total, 30 senior students (11 females, 19 males) will create interactive systems as the culminating project for the course. In a style similar to the one used with teachers in the RET program, in each lesson students are given a task and then asked to reflect on the current outcome and make modifications to achieve new outcomes. This process of inquiry leads students to construct an operational understanding of physical computing processes. Then, through questions that push them to engage in guided research, students gain a deeper understanding of the fundamental concepts. The introductory lessons have students explore the basics of Arduinos, such as controlling simple actuators (like LEDs and piezo buzzers), collecting information from sensors (like photo-resistors and force-sensitive resistors), and engaging in serial communication. At the end of the introductory lessons, students decide upon a final project idea. Students then choose from the remaining lessons to learn about things relevant to their project, such as more complex transducers (like servo motors, IR sensors, and ultrasonic range finders) and other circuit components (like transistors). All curriculum materials for this unit can be found on Michael's course website here: http://sofphysics.wikispaces.com/Arduino+Page. The impact of this program extends well beyond Michael's physics classes though. Michael also runs an after school science club. Approximately 15 students (6 female, 9 male) meet once a week after school to learn about topics that interest them. In the spring semester, Michael and his co-advisor teach students the basics of physical computing following a similar structure described above. Michael is also a Math for America (MfA) Master Teacher Fellow. Through MfA, Michael has led a series of eight workshops to help over 40 NYC teachers learn how to use Arduinos.