Sunday, August 25, 2019

Summer PD In Electronics

This summer I did some self-guided PD in basic electronics guided by my son's interest in learning about it. It has been a wonderful thing to do together, plus I've learned a ton. I probably would have covered what we did this summer in one week in Electronics 101 in college but the time has given us the opportunity to really let things sink in and follow up on our own questions. Here is the website that guided our experiments. This All About Circuits textbook written by Tony R. Kuphaldt explains things well but most importantly asks the learner to find their own resources for the experiments, which has been one of the most enlightening parts of the experience. Below I outline our activities and learnings, and some reflections.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Raspberry Pi Classroom Table Timelapse Documentation

After trying to document spring plant and tree growth with a Raspberry Pi timelapse setup I found the variation in lighting over long periods of time produced a lot of bad footage. But I figured using this in the classroom to do timelapse recordings of students working at the table could be useful and not face the same problem of changing lighting conditions. So I created a mashup of my old Replicator 2 3D printing monitor with the timelapse program that conveniently attaches to our hanging outlets and managed to bang out a pretty quick set up for this. I start the program by logging in to a headless Raspberry Pi Zero wifi and the pi waits for a button press to start snapping pictures at 5 second intervals for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Minecraft with Python: RaspberryJam Mod on Linux

The steps to set up Python coding in Minecraft on Linux were a little tricky to figure out so here they are for reference:


Ubuntu 18 installed on PC
Install Python 2.7 or 3

Monday, June 17, 2019

Reinventing the Mallet

I've been making scrap wood mallets for a couple weeks now and I can't stop. For one thing I do like them as a tool; multi-purpose, perfect for knocking things that a hammer would damage or require careful aim for. But also they are simple to make, yet require enough forethought to meet some basic requirements; that the head not fly off, that it satisfy size and proportion constraints, that it not split apart. There are many videos on how to make an awesome mallet and I did watch them. But obtaining just the right heft by filling inner pockets with BBs or creating interlocking parts with dowels is not what I'm after.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Raspberry Pi As Media Server

I'm mounting my media hard drive containing music, photos, and file backups to my Raspberry Pi 3 B+. I'm putting some resources here to remember how I set it up and some leads to fix a bug I'm experiencing, namely that the Raspi won't encode accented characters and replaces them with question marks, so iTunes can't find the files for those songs or the artist folder in the library.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Makerspace Project: LED Side-lit Acrylic Signs

One of my favorite projects over the last couple years to do in our maker-space classroom is side-lit acrylic signs. The project has evolved a bit as I have improved the design of the signs and workflow for students and it is now in a place I really like. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Use Scratch to Make Interactive History Timelines

An 8th grade history teacher I work with wanted his students to make their own timelines of world historical events as a way of tying events together over great spans of time and constructing their own trends. It took a while to find the right software platform because I didn't think Scratch would be capable of representing such a dense amount of visual and text information. He also wanted them to use a slider as a tool to navigate through the information and I thought that would be hard in Scratch. But after playing with it I found it was absolutely possible.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Learning With Mycelium, Packaging of the Future

Corinne Takara and Chris Sweeney are exploring opportunities for learning with so many different materials and creative approaches, one of the most exciting of which for me is bio-fabrication with mycelium. I ordered a couple bags of hemp substrate from Grow Bio and followed the schedule and steps they recommend.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Timelapse Camera With Raspberry Pi

I thought I could make quick work of getting some timelapse footage around the house by connecting up a new Raspberry Pi 3 B+ with a v1.3 camera module I had. Being lazy and impatient I wanted to avoid writing a whole program for it in Python and just start captures by running raspistill commands in terminal with a headless setup.