Morse for Makers

Introduction: Morse for Makers

Step 1 Story Time! Understanding the problem and activation of the thinking process

Important links:

Learning environment: Google Site (No account required)

Deliverables page: Google Classroom

Lesson topics: Story with h5p self-assessment materials

Age group: 10 - 13 (US)

The story in the google site environment provides a back story for the "problem" students will have to find a solution to.

It also includes h5p interactive self-assessment content that will enable the readers of the story to be guided towards critical thinking on the problem. The end conclusion that students must come to is:

- The child is stranded on the island

- The current solutions (smoke, the message in the bottle, and lighthouse) are not working

- A solution needs to be made

Note on h5p: h5p does allow for the tracking of responses on its dedicated platform provided that the materials are created by a premium user.

Step 1: Identify & Brainstorm

Step 2 guides learners through the brainstorming and prototyping steps of the design process

Important links:

Learning environment: Google Site (No account required)

Deliverables page: Google Classroom

Lesson topics:

  1. Morse Code
  2. Brainstorming
  3. Prototyping

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1. Morse Code

Brief introduction to "Morse Code" to provide some background information and inspiration.

2. Brainstorming

In this step, learners will come up with ideas to use items from the "list of supplies" found on the island to solve the problem at hand: communicate with the mainland.

Google's Jamboard is used to brainstorm ideas in this case.

Tip: For instructions or ideas about how to facilitate a brainstorming session check (DT link)

3 Prototyping

After selecting one idea learners should proceed to design a prototype in Jamboard, or elsewhere and paste the link there, and answer a couple of questions about their product.

Tip: For different approaches to prototyping check //////

Step 2: Designing and Prototyping

Steps 3 and 4 introduce circuitry, programming, and flowcharts to students.

Important links:

Learning environment: Google site (No account required)

Tinkercad.com (Students will need separate accounts to access Tinkercad.)

Deliverables page

Lesson topics:

Step 3 contents:

1. Introduction to programming

2. Circuits

3. Flowcharts

4. Exercise: Building and programming with Tinkercad

Step 4 contents:

1. Design and build your circuit

2. Design your algrithm and code

3. Put it all together

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1. Introduction to programming & Programming languages


In the programming sections, the students are introduced to programming languages. The bjectives is to explain the differences of the languages. Programming can be done in different programs, so called IDE's (Integrated Develpment Environment). A handy list of the most popular ones can be dounf HERE.

Tinkercad allows the use of visual code blocks, and text based programming. In the course, we will use visual code programming, as it is more beginner friendly. Students familiar with programming should be encouraged to try completing the task without examinig the code given. Image 1 (under Step 3) shows just how different the two types of programming are.

Common challenges: Simple things, such as a word type, or missing collumn can cause an otherwise correct text code to not work. Programming is logic - students need to be able to verbally communicate what the code does.

2. Circuits and components


For the purpose of this course we will introduce only the neccessary components. The objective of this sections is to make students understand why each component is important, and how the removal of any component would affect the rest of the circuit:

a) would it work in a limited way (missing Arduino)

b) would it break (missing resistors)

c) not work at all (missing Arduino - power source, wrong or missing wires).

Students should try to interact with resistor components and see how changing values influences the LED lights.

Common challenges: Students may not be able to program before the Arduino component is placed onto the workspace.

3. Flowcharts


Tip: Students need to enable 'electrical' diagrams in the 'More shapes' tab in diagrams.net

Through flowcharts we help the students to visualise their thinking processes. Students can draw their ideas in a logical and organised manner.

Flowcharts help develop a number of skills in the classroom. Some of those skills included:
- Understanding what a sequence is

- Understanding the different stages in reaching their goal

- Understanding the link that the different stages have

- Understanding the final goal

Common challenges:

- Flowcharts tends to over-simplify a process

- Factors that affect the sequence are not depicted

- The process of creating a flowchart may seem futile to some students, thus reducing their attentiveness and enthusiasm in the task.

More on flowcharts

4. Exercise


In the exercise we use components to create the circuitry, and with programming we make it behave in a certain way. In the excercise, students wil learn to write a simple code to create a sequence where LED's turn on and off, one by one.

For advance students, the added challenge may be to include more LED's and make them turn on and off in a different pattern.

Common challenges: Students may correct wires incorrectly. Students may misstype the code.

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