Skip navigation
1 2 Previous

STEM Academy

24 Posts authored by: mikedavis
The ADXL345 accelerometer is a handy 3-axis sensor for detecting acceleration in g's in three dimensions.  The tutorial below shows how it can be used with a smart phone to log data to a CSV file. Materials Raspberry Pi Male to Male Jumper Cables RPi Breakout Kit (includes breadboard and cables) ADXL345 Accelerometer Connect and Set Up the Sensor  I have written another tutorial for setting up the sensor.  It does require some soldering.  Check out the tutorial here.  ...
This game is a variation on the one I posted previously.  In this version, a person is walking around with a MicroBit.  Every time they walk up to a Sign Post, they press a button and then receive instructions on their own MicroBit, making it a transceiver.   Treasure Hunt - Send and Receive   Description: This is another version of the Treasure Hunt Game.  In this version of the game, a treasure is hidden somewhere.  A group of treasure hunters will follow direct ...
This is a Treasure Hunt game that is designed to teach students how to use the Radio functions of the MicroBit, with one Bit sending a signal, and the other receiving it.  Before making anything, I try to come up with an 'I Want' statement, and I try to make it specific.  If it is clear, its makes it easy to create the program.   Treasure Hunt   Description: The Treasure Hunt game consists of two groups.  One group is a set of treasure hunters, the other is a group of ...
This tutorial will walk you through the process of getting data from the BME280 Temperature, Pressure, and Humidity sensor to be displayed on a local webserver.  We will log the data with a Raspberry Pi, keep it in a MYSQL database, and feed to Highcharts using PHP.  This project is the culmination of a *ton* of work and a *ton* of mistakes that I would like to help you avoid. In the end, you’ll get a marvelous graph embedded in a webpage like this: What You’ll Need Rasp ...
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 ...