((Fighting with Element 14   ))

 

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The think|haus entry into the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge sponsored by Element14 is finished. Mostly.

think|tubes are an educational tool for use in a K-12 school setting.  They function as a multimeter for the real world. Learning concepts  such as mechanical advantage is much easier if students can see and  measure the effects of gears, levers, pulleys, etc. Other concepts are  difficult because processes occur over time, and are not easily  observable. Data logging allows long term observation, making time  elapsed changes visible and measurable.

Our concept for think|tubes was to make an expandable, modular system  which allows the measurement and recording of various physical  phenomena. We’ve built some sample exercises, such as a device to  measure how hard someone can punch. This fun activity engages students,  while teaching concepts of levers, acceleration, and force. Other  sensors, such as light, temperature, barometric pressure, etc. are  easily added to the think|tubes, allowing for customized usage. Any  lesson plan that would benefit from experimentation and measurement can  use think|tubes.

Beyond measurement in the classroom, however, think|tubes can be used  throughout the school. An applause meter at a school talent show, a  game show buzzer system for fun quizzes, or a timing system for track  and field – all of these uses are easy to add to think|tubes due to its  modular design, standard Arduino hardware, and the bus which allows  communications between modules.

One of the great strengths of the think|tubes system is its  flexibility. It can be used by anyone – no technical knowledge is  required. The various measurement tasks are menu driven, and can be  operated by staff or students at all levels without any specialized  training. However, for those more technically inclined, the system has  limitless possibilities. Additional sensors can be added, new code can  be written to accommodate almost anything educators and their students  can dream up.

think|tubes make learning tangible. They provide a hands on way to  interact with the physical world. Think it, do it, measure it, learn it.  With think|tubes.

Project Details on the think|haus wiki and videos on the think|haus vimeo site.