Future technology innovators construct illuminating STEM projects, test conductivity and circuitry at SCORE’s Makey Makey Camp
Rising fourth and fifth graders put their technical and engineering skills to the test by learning innovative ways to use electronics, coding and hardware at Makey Makey Camp held June 20-24 at Auburn University’s Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
Hosted by the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education, or SCORE, the camp introduced students with a love of technology to Makey Makey—an invention kit designed to connect everyday objects to computer keys. Using a circuit board, alligator clips and a USB cable, the device uses closed loop electrical signals to send the computer either a keyboard stroke or mouse click signal. Campers participated in engaging lessons throughout the week that introduced concepts like conductivity and electronic circuitry through fun, interactive projects and daily challenges.
Students learned the basics of how computers work and made bracelets to spell out their names in binary code. Applying these concepts, they examined how the Makey Makey device works. Using cardboard, HVAC conductive tape and alligator clips, students used Makey Makey to test over 30 objects to see if each object was conductive or not.
“We used the conductivity lesson to introduce students to conductors and insulators,” said Shelley Patterson, who served as lead Makey Makey camp instructor and is an educator at Pick Elementary School. “We also discussed where electricity came from and how Benjamin Franklin discovered it.”
Patterson said at Makey Makey Camp, they teach students about chibitronics—a pathway to learn science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, skills in a fun way by blending circuit building and programming with arts and crafts.
Throughout the week, students built different types of circuits using button batteries, copper tape and LED lights. Utilizing the engineering design process, they worked in teams to plan, sketch, test and design illuminated skyscrapers out of construction paper.
“I sketched two different views to show the inside and outside of my building,” said camper Parker Barkley. “This allows me to show where the circuits are and where the lights might go.”
Throughout the week, campers used Makey Makey to make a musical instrument out of a banana and construct an operational arcade game controller from paper. They also visited the Office of Information Technology on campus to get an up-close view of its servers.
SCORE is an Auburn University outreach initiative in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, designed to help effectively develop and deliver robotics education to K-12 students and teachers. SCORE summer camps allow participants to explore STEM in a unique environment on Auburn University’s campus. For more information on SCORE summer camps, please contact Jennifer Spencer, SCORE assistant director, at email@example.com.
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