We’ve spent the last three days going over the curriculum for our Web Controlled Arduino Robotics summer camp, and now it’s time to talk about day four–the day we finally start building robots!

We’ll tell the kids they’ve been “hired” to work on an exciting project by a big company. The company has set out some parameters for the project: a garden gnome designed to monitor a community garden. The gnome will be the voice of the garden, sensing the soil and sending out Tweets when the garden needs to be watered. It will also send out Tweets when the garden has been watered, keeping community members in the loop.

Kids will then be divided into five teams:

Team One: 3D Design & Printing

This team will design the physical body of the gnome using either Tinker Cad or Inkscape, the program used by our laser cutter. They will be asked to start with a cardboard prototype and to work with the hardware team to make sure all the sensors will fit in or around the gnome. The particle electron, battery and charging circuitry come with their own enclosure, which does not have to fit inside the gnome. A functioning solar panel must be part of the gnome’s design. The gnome does have to look good, but it doesn’t necessarily have to look like the gnome.

Team Two: Hardware Electronics Team

The hardware team will make everything work. They’ll be given four sensors to wire up: a light sensor, a moisture sensor, a tilt sensor and a temperature sensor. This team will also be in charge of making the gnome communicate with the cloud, using what we call a “If This, Then That” code.

Team Three: Web Development

This team will create a basic web page with the following information:

  • Why the gnomes were created
  • Where gnomes exist
  • How gnomes can be maintained
  • Where you can see what maintenance has been done
  • An embedded Twitter feed for the gnome
  • A link to the data visualization page
  • A picture of the gnome

Team Four: Data Visualization Team

The Data Visualization team will create a web page that displays the gnome’s sensor readings. They will have to choose the most interesting data to be displayed on the page and create infographics representing data from the various sensors. If there’s time they’ll also be asked to create a Google Spreadsheet visualizing the data gathered by the gnome. The Data Visualization team will have to work closely with the hardware and web development teams to make sure everything works.

Team Five: The Pitch Team

This team will create a presentation, including an infographic and a business model canvas, that answers the following questions:

  1. How can we encourage people to do the gardening tasks required? Can we measure individual contributions?
  2. What is the value proposition? What problem does this gnome solve?
  3. Who are the customers of the gnome?
  4. How do we engage with the customers/community?
  5. Who are some of the key suppliers to the gnome project?

At the end of the day this team will be asked to share their presentation.

And so our tour of the Web Controlled Arduino Robotics class comes to an end. On day five participants will start working on individual robotics projects.

Does this sound like something your kid would enjoy? We still have spots left, so register today!