Today, campers wrapped up their work and presented their projects to each other.
Creative Coding Here are some of the creative coding projects from the Bits Group. Many campers would like to continue their work or make changes. You will need the Scratch Jr. app to open these projects or to create new ones.
The Bytes Group all have their own login credentials to access their Scratch projects at home. Have your child show you all their hard work. Many campers still have more ideas they'd like to add to their games. If they would like to view the projects of the other campers they can do so here.
littleBits The campers finished their projects with littleBits. Their goal was to “make something that does something.” Creations wowed everyone. We had a lot of cool inventions including a working alligator, a light up piggy bank when money was inserted, and even a remote prank on Mr. Falkner where campers made a box with music played and lights lit up when remotely controlled. To see the littleBits inventions click here.
This afternoon all the campers were fortunate to meet James Macanufo, a Wilson dad and app developer. He shared with us how he creates apps and how he chooses what apps to make. The students got to see some of his apps and ask him questions. He spent some time in the technology lab with the Bytes group. The students showed him what they were working on and some even asked him advice for coding issues that stumped them.
STEM Challenge Our last STEM Challenge was a good one. The students were given two feet of tape, string, a cup, and scissors. By using some or all of these materials they had to create a slingshot. It was great to see that no two designs were alike and that each group had success with their design.
We want to thank you all for choosing to send your children to Think Camp at The Wilson School. The campers explored, experimented, and collaborated as only Think Campers could. It was a wonderful week!
Thursday @Think Camp
The highlight of our day was our visit from Pixel Press. Pixel Press is a technology company focused on building engaging gaming experiences for both sides of the brain: the analytical left side and the creative right side. This is a local company whose mission "is to develop boundless experiences that empower people of all ages to create, share and play." Josh Stevens, one of the co-founders of Pixel Press and its Community Director, spoke to our campers.
The campers played with Bloxels, one of their latest apps. With it, campers used a grid and colored centimeter cubes to design a room in a game. Each colored block represented something different: green made terrain, blue created water, red created a hazard, purple created enemy, yellow created coins, orange created exploding blocks, pink made power-ups, and white made story blocks. Once created, a picture of the board was taken with an iPad, and just like that, a room in a game was born! The campers were able to ask questions and give suggestions directly to the developer. Pixel Press left with some great ideas from our students. They were very excited and engaged in this experience. At the end of the their visit each student was able to project their game on the immersion wall. It was great fun seeing the variety in design. To learn more, please visit: http://www.projectpixelpress.com
During our Creative Coding and littleBits sessions today the students worked on refining their designs. They continue to solve problems they are encountering and are hopeful they will get things working the way they want tomorrow. They all have some great work to show!
We ventured into the sprinkler during our recess today. The students had a wonderful time getting wet and building everything from umbrellas to forts to protect themselves from the water (even though they really wanted to get wet).
Wednesday @Think Camp
We began our day discussing the many uses of 3D printing. We watched this video of a middle school class that was able to help an injured duck by design 3D printed feet for it. The students brainstormed and jotted down their ideas of what they could 3D print to solve a problem. They had great ideas such as 3D printing any species of animal (and including tiny cameras) to embed with the real animals so scientists can learn more about animal behavior.
Creative Coding The students in the bits group have all become adept as using all the coding blocks available to them in Scratch Jr. They are not able to create their own games and animations. They are doing a wonderful job being creative and solving problems to create their own Scratch Jr. activities. By the end of the week each student will have a project to share with the class.
The students in the bytes group have been working hard to create their own scratch projects. Today they are beginning to see how complicated their coding can become. They are starting to become better at computational thinking, meaning when you change one thing you have to understand how it might change a host of other things in your code. This is quite challenging and I am proud of the students for problem solving.
Little Bits Both groups of students continued to refine their designs today. They had to problem solve and work with the littleBits to get to their desired outcome. They have great ideas and and a lot of grit as they design, redesign, and redesign some more. One of the positive comments today made by a student was, “I realize that I have more success working with a partner. He is good at designing and I am good at sculpting!”
Think Centers Today we had fun deepening our knowledge and expanding our many creations. We had open time to explore more in our Think Centers. Students were very creative with the Pro-Bot and were able to create some great fireworks looking designs with code. A new Brain Game was introduced with Breakout EDU. Some students were able to breakout today and the rest will have a chance in the coming days. Students were able to make Romo follow a line and chase something of a certain color. We were able to successfully design a circuit that played music. So much thinking and fun in Think Centers today!
Stem Challenge Today’s STEM Challenge was to create unpoppable bubbles. The students were given water, dish detergent, and corn syrup. With these ingredients there were to create a bubble recipe. Each pair of students created their bubble solution and tested it out. Was it too thick? Was it too thin? Did the bubbles pop too quickly or never form at all? Take a look at our pictures to find out.
Tuesday @Think Camp
We began this morning learning about iteration in design. The students shared their paper chair designs from Monday afternoon. They discussed how many times it took them to get it right and what they might change to improve it next time. We watched Amazing Design for Crutches, a video showing how crutches have just recently been redesigned for comfort and efficiency after being the same since the civil war. We asked the students to think about something that exists today that needs to be improved. They had great ideas like an automatic bike rack that mounts the bike on your car for people who can’t lift them or have arthritis.
Think Centers Our time in Think Centers was wonderful today. The students built mazes and challenges for some of the robots to attempt. They had to program the robots properly if they wanted them to complete the mazes. Many students experimented with the Makey Makeys and even played the piano on the bananas. Bloxels was a big hit again and students are really getting into creating their own levels of the game. Our Brain Games with Breakout EDU continues to be highly popular. Today all of the students completed the first challenge in groups. A new breakout will be offered tomorrow. Students continue to be amazed to see what is inside an old computer we are taking apart. Finally, several of our students took some time to figure out how to program our Pro-Bot to draw a star. It was a wonderful accomplishment.
Creative Coding The Bits group explored some more complicated concepts today. Through their coding they learned that code can be based on conditions. For example, a character might jump only when something bumps into him. They also explored the concept of levels today as they completed a challenge that had them animate the sunset and then a moon rise on the next level.
The Bytes group worked hard to think through everything needed to create a game. They needed to answer questions like:
What is the story in your game?
What problem is getting solved or goal is being met by the player?
What does the player sprite want to touch? What happens when the player touches this sprite or color?
What does the player sprite want to avoid touching? What happens when the player touches this sprite or color?
How does a player win? What happens when the player wins?
The Bytes have begun some very creative games using Scratch and I can't wait to play them myself, especially the one that ends with the player winning a pile of bacon. They had to spend some time thinking about the instructions they would like to provide their players as well.
littleBits Electronics The campers began designing their project that simply "does something." It was wonderful seeing the brainstorming happening by the campers and the redesign process taking place as they created their self-directed projects. So far, we are seeing a dog bank whose tongue shakes and lights up when money is added, some super cool flashlights, a dog that moves with a wagging tail, and egg land! We will be posting finished projects as they are completed.
STEM CHALLENGE Today’s stem challenge was to create an unsinkable boat with one piece of aluminum foil. The passengers of the boat were Abraham Lincoln (pennies). The students designed and redesigned their boats to make them hold the largest number of passengers.
RECESS Today’s recess was amazing. The students created a large obstacle course and improved its design over and over again as they took turns and got feedback. Check out the included pictures and videos.
Monday @Think Camp
To kick off Think Camp, the campers took a peek at some famous journals - ranging from people like Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, to Taylor Swift. Each camper was then presented their very own Idea Book to include all their wonderful ideas throughout Think Camp. They all agreed that sometimes if you don’t write or sketch your idea it’s gone forever.
Campers were shown a video called Kids vs. an 80’s Cassette Player where children from today struggled to understand what a walkman is and how it functions. Our first question for them to ponder was, “What technology do you use today that you think kids of the future won’t have a clue about?” Responses included, the Wii, wi-fi, and cars with human drivers.
New this year are Think Centers! In the middle of each day the campers have a time where they can choose a center. Our centers include:
Bloxels Game Design: Bloxels is a hands-on, brains-on, creativity and technology experience. Bloxels uniquely unlocks kids’ innate creativity by leveraging something they love: video games. Kids can play and create fun games and channel their creative potential as they gain greater understanding of important topics like design logic, and computer science and demonstrate their knowledge of history, science and mathematics and more through the games they create.
Code-a-Robot with Sphero & Romo: Two different robots that inspire a love of robotics, coding, and STEM principles... all through play.
Brain Games with Breakout EDU: Games (Breakouts) teach teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting participants with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve.
Roaming Bots with Bee Bot and Pro Bot: Award winning programmable floor robots, perfect for teaching control, directional language and programming to young children.
Making with Makey Makeys: It’s an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It's a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween.
Circuit Works: Build exciting projects such as a flying saucer; alarms; doorbells and much more with Snap Circuits!
What’s Inside?: Use tools to take apart broken electronics.
Campers also participated in two sessions: Coding & littleBits Electronic Creations. We have two groups for these sessions. Campers in 2nd-4th grades are the bits group. Campers in grades 5th-6th are the bytes group.
Creative Coding The bits group used Scratch Jr. to explore some basic coding concepts. We learned that the sequence of the code really matters. The children put together code that allowed a car to drive across the screen, made characters dance until they disappear, and created an animal race.
The bytes group got started with Scratch today. Scratch is a visual programming language designed for older students by MIT. The campers chose a type of program to start. They could choose art, sports, game design, music, or storytelling. Most of the students chose game design. Campers spent some time thinking through their game ideas and create a game design they will follow while coding this week. The bytes groups will have a treat on Friday. James Macanufo, a Wilson parent who has created several apps, will stop by to share a little about his role as an app designer and to see what the kids have made in Think Camp.
The campers have some great ideas and I can’t wait to see what they have accomplished by Friday.
littleBits Electronics The students engaged in design challenges and free experimentation with small bits that fit together in various series. They learned that order matters and that each bit has a function. Starting with a battery, wire, and power bit, the campers then found countless number of combinations to make things light up, move, and produce sound. Now that they know the basics of what the bits can do, their challenge is to make something that does something. Some ideas that came up in brainstorming included creating a toy car with lights and tires that move, making a pet dog that wags its tail and barks, and building a piggy bank that sticks out its tongue when money is inserted. We will see where their creativity and knowledge take them!
STEM Challenge of the Day We end each day with a STEM Challenge for the students. Today each students worked with a partner to create a chair with a stuffed animal that could be built only from paper and tape. They were so inventive!
We are excited to announce the app developer, Pixel Press, will be coming to Think Camp to do a Bloxel building session with us!