For 4 days, we asked questions, imagined answers, made a plan, created, tested and improved. We did that over and over...sometimes taking steps backwards, other times totally changing what we wanted to do. In the end, we had a creation that did what we wanted it to. We used modern technologies (MakeyMakey, Scratch) as well as simple machines (like ramps, wheels and axles). We were kids again...we were students...we had the freedom to try things, to fail and try again. It was process and project, and it was a great experience.
This was our group and our creation: All 4 of us are from 'Iolani and it was great to work together. We started out thinking about sustainability (which is an important theme at 'Iolani) and how we could create something along that theme. We came up with making a Rube Goldberg machine that, when it sensed that sunlight was bright enough, it would turn off the lights. So we used a Lego Mindstorm light sensor and robotic arm to activate the machine and drop the ball. The Rube Goldberg machine was a series of ramps which dropped the ball on a switch. The switch was made with Legos (using a wheel and axle, lever and fulcrum) which activated a Scratch program via a MakeyMakey switch. The Scratch program showed a "movie" that turned off a light when the sun came out. We also had a visual alarm which was blue when the room was dark but turned red when the sun came out. This was made with a Lillypad board and program. We also used the Lego Mindstorm program to collect data about how many times the sun came out and how long we had the lights on or off.
The institute also invited some great speakers to motivate and inspire us. Dr. Mitchel Resnick, who, among other things, is the head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. Dr. Edith Ackermann, who is currently a Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Siena, Department of Communication. We also heard from Pete Nelson, the preeminent treehouse designer and star of the hit TV show "Treehouse Masters" on Animal Planet. Our last speaker was Cam Perron, a rising Junior at Tulane University. Cam came into the national spotlight on the show HBO Real Sports, which highlighted his amazing contributions to the Negro Baseball League research and it's players.
I would like to thank Dr. Gary Stager, the founder & host of this amazing event and the wonderful faculty he put together to help us all in this learning experience...I had a great week on so many levels.