Skip navigation
1 2 Previous

STEM Academy

20 Posts authored by: mikedavis
A copy of this blog post can be found at my own blow (Faradaysclub.com). As you all probably know, the Raspberry Pi turned 4 on February 29th, and this was celebrated with the release of the Raspberry Pi 3.  What’s new?  Well the big things are: Built in wireless access (no more using 25% of your available USB ports for WiFi). Built in Bluetooth 64 Bit Cortex A-53 processor 1GB of memory Still just $35  (not really new) I decided I would try to play with one of the new ...
I was as excited as anyone else when the Raspberry Pi Zero (RPi-0) was announced over Thanksgiving.  This $5 computer is 86% cheaper than the Raspberry Pi 2 which is already a great deal at $35.  I thought I would try it out as a temperature data logger.  In the end, it worked beautifully, and I hope to build some more probes for my students to use.   Additional HardwareTo run the RPi-0, some additional hardware is needed: A micro-USB power supply. A mini-HDMI to HDMI ...
I have been working on a sunrise project that is heavily inspired by Ken Murphy's amazing History of the Sky project.  I loved what he did, and I decided to use a Raspberry Pi to do something similar using the Chicago Skyline and our daily sunrise.  I was completely sure how to make this project work, and I still have some unanswered questions.  Things are coming along nicely, though.  I thought that I would post my first 30 days of sunrises here for you to see.  You can ...
On Tuesday, June 16th students from the City Colleges of Chicago participated in their first balloon launch.  This is supported by a grant from NASA and the Illinois Space Grant.  With this award we support students with scholarships and stipends as they design, build, and launch experiments to be conducted over 90,000 feet above the earth.   Weather-wise this was a perfect day.  It was nested between two days or torrential in northern Illinois.  Our flight predictions h ...
As many of you know, I am working with my colleagues at the City Colleges of Chicago and DePaul University on some high altitude balloon (HAB) launches.  This activity has been funded by NASA, and we really excited to to do some launches, and share our findings.  The STEM Academy is a great resource as we build our experiments.  Today's post, however, is about launching and retrieving a balloon.   We live in Chicago, which has two airports, lots of people, buildings, and a h ...
With the school year behind me, I finally have some time to work on projects that I have been dreaming up all year.  The abundance of free time also means that I am saying 'yes' to a lot of things, and I will soon start to run out of time again.  Regardless, I will complete at least one project this summer!   One thing I wanted to do was re-create Ken Murphy's beautiful 'Year of the Sky on Earth'. In this project, he put camera on top of the Exploratorium in San Francisco.  ...
My college recently received a grant from NASA that allows us to pursue high altitude balloon projects.  I have written about this before, and asked about some potential ideas for experiments and sensors.   Today, in Lexington, IL we launched a balloon with some payloads on it.  This was our first launch, so our payload consisted of a pair of Raspberry Pi cameras, and an Arduino with the BMP Pressure/Temperature/Altitude Sensor.  Prior to the launch I tested the BMP sensor b ...
It has been an exciting few months.  Don't let the lack of blog posts fool you.  I have honestly just been too busy to write anything.   Earlier this year, the City Colleges of Chicago received a grant from NASA to do some high-altitude ballooning (HAB).  The vast majority of the money we receive will support undergraduates with stipends so they can build and design experiments that will be conducted 30,000 to 90,000 feet above the earth.  We have our first crop of stud ...
A while ago, I posted an instruction sheet for temperature sensing with the waterproof DS18B20 probe.  At the time, I was really interested in how quickly my coffee would cool off depending on the kind of cup I was using.   The program I used involved a gspread library for a python program.  My problem was that I had an easy time getting temperatures, but I had a hard time getting them into some kind of file where I could save them and do some work later.  Finding gspread w ...
Not that long ago, I got a Pi camera, and I quickly became excited about all of the wonderful time lapse projects I could attempt.  I mean the script is so simple and easy to understand, how could anyone not be interested in making time lapse movies.  My one struggle was looking for things that change dramatically but slowly.    Most of the science demonstrations I do change quickly and dramatically.  I do these demonstrations live for audiences of 200 or more at a tim ...
The Raspberry Pi Camera is surprisingly good and easy to use.  I am very happy with how simple it is to take pictures and use other free software to make time lapse movies with it.   During this winter break, I asked the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier if I could use their network and balcony to take some pictures.  They were more than happy to oblige, and I was out there on December 29th getting some photos.  It was about -6C at the time, so I didn't spend a lot of t ...
About a year ago, I got my first Raspberry Pi, and sometime in the past year, I have come to understand it as a powerful computer that I can dedicate to a specific task.  A couple weeks ago I got the Raspberry Pi Camera Board, a simple camera that...well...takes pictures.   The obvious thing to try is time lapse photography since I know I can make the RPi take a lot of pictures, and another piece of software can stitch them into a movie.  So I have the method I used for doing it ...
So I have been tinkering with Raspberry Pis for a little while now, and I am thoroughly convinced of their utility, and I am hoping to spread that out in my classroom.   On example of a project I would like to do is taking temperatures using the waterproof temperature probe.  There are many others, but that is a good place to start.  My students make it a habit to bring their devices (phones, computers, tablets) to class, and it seems like I should be able to get their devices to ...
I did this work in early October when I had some free time on the weekend.  As a reminder, I was interested in how different colors of glow sticks spend their energy.  I know, for example, that blue is an energetic color of light, and that red is a less energetic color of light.  For a light source, giving off red visible light means that energy is being given off in small packets.  Its like spending $100 just pennies at a time.    So I made a simple circuit just ...
mikedavis

Lightsticks and Lux

Posted by mikedavis Oct 2, 2014
I am doing it.  This weekend!  I am done talking about it.  This is the weekend!   For years I have been imploring teachers, students, and parents to expand their mindset when it comes to the science fair.  I see a lot of   Which battery lasts the longest? Which light is the best for plants? Which diaper is the most absorbant? Which music is makes me the calmest?   All of these are not without merit.  They teach process and you might get a good grap ...