Princeton Day School has launched an Arduino Club, run by math teacher Will Asch. Arduino is an "open-source electronics platform that is based on easy-to-use hardware and software and intended for anyone making interactive projects" (www.arduino.cc), and once each 7-day cycle during the conference collaboration block, a group of self-selected students ranging from 4 to 14, meet in the STEAM Center to experiment.
On a recent afternoon, math teacher Mr. Asch and some of the members of the Arduino Club were gathered around the conference table in the room talking about the Arduinos, probes, and sensors scattered over its surface. These students have varying degrees of experience with Arduinos and programming, but come together to work on problems and programming of the devices. Mr. Asch was explaining a long-term challenge for the students to tackle. They were asked to use sensors, programmed using the Arduino, to keep seedlings watered and alive in the PDS greenhouse.
This project will begin with the new, interdisciplinary, freshman STEAMinar course in which students will be asked to program an Arduino to control a solenoid valve to water a tray of seedlings until a water sensor determines the plants are moist enough. After the freshman class is finished with the project, the Arduino club will take over the seedlings and their care. Their challenge will be to keep the seedlings alive, through the winter, in the greenhouse. The end goal is to be able to sell the seedlings at the Garden Club seedling sale in the spring.
For more on this project, visit the Miss Fine's Center Archives.