Monday, February 28, 2011

Sensors and graphing to support STEM learning

Jan Mokros at the Maine Math and Science Alliance advocates use of charting real-time sensor data to help students develop understanding of charts as symbolic representations of physical phenomena. Unfortunately, at Mt. Ararat Middle School, our sets of probes and sensors are aging and replacements are expensive. So, I have been exploring alternatives that ITeam members could help to implement and in so doing learn and share their learning.

From bottom clockwise: Physical data board, the flex sensor, board application, laptop application and visual display.

Demonstration of visualizing physical computing. A bending sensitive sensor (Piezo) connects to an Arduino Uno input pin. The Arduino Sketch outputs the measured values of bending. The Processing Sketch reads the stream of inputs and changes the location of the dots. The visualization is one that came with the sample code. Its meaning is in demonstrating capacity of these tools for interesting work. I wonder whether the Scratch or html5 crews are up to creating more meaningful charts of displacement v. time.

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