Cultivating Curiosity: STEAM and Agricultural Coding Adventures at Westfall Elementary

Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator

This March Westfall Elementary School started spring by hosting Cultivating Curiosity: a STEAM and Agricultural Adventures for students and parents to explore STEAM in their school. The district partnered with OSU Extension, Pickaway County to bring an agricultural coding session for students and parents to learn to code with simulated ground drones working on a simulated agricultural landscape. Click to watch a short highlight video of the shared experience.

Students coded connected drones from Spheros, a robotics company, best known for its programmable robots and connected toys. Students coded both, Sphero RVRs and Sphero Bolt, customizable robots that can be programmed and controlled using various platforms like Scratch, Sphero Edu App, Raspberry Pi, or Arduino.

Our program used Sphero EDU free app available in both Google Play or the App Store. Sphero EDU allows users to program using block code or text.

Spheros are designed to be educational, allowing users to learn about robotics, coding, and electronics in a hands-on way. The Sphero RVR is equipped with various sensors, motors, and expansion ports, making it suitable for a wide range of projects and applications.

You can typically buy Sphero products, including Sphero RVRs, from various retailers both online and in physical stores. Some popular places to purchase Sphero robots include:

  1. Official Sphero website: The official Sphero website often offers a wide range of products directly from the manufacturer.
  2. Online retailers: Websites like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target often carry Sphero products in their inventory.
  3. Specialty robotics or educational stores: Some specialty stores focus on robotics, STEM education, or educational toys, and they may carry Sphero products.
  4. Electronics stores: Stores like Apple Stores, Fry’s Electronics, or Micro Center might have Sphero products available for purchase.

Be Creative, Keep Coding.

Braves Expo Day Career: Careers in Drone Technologies

Logan Elm students are taking the day to learn about career opportunities and personal career journeys from local professionals. Pickaway County professionals are helping students plan and prepare for their future careers!

OSU Extension will highlight local drone programs as well as igniting career paths such as becoming a drone pilot or technician and the transferable skill sets that apply to this growing market sector. Learn more by visiting the Federal Aviation Administration. Presentation link: go.osu.edu/dronecareers.

Remote Pilot Certification Program

Pickaway Pathways to Success has recently partnered with OSU Extension to develop a Remote Pilot Certification Program using the Unmanned Safety Institute curriculum modules which pair its course work with the OSU Center for Aviation Studies. The program prepares students to obtain their Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA (for commercial flight purposes.) This certificate demonstrates that the student understands the regulations, operating requirements, and procedures for safely flying drones.

Drone Careers Impacting All Business and Industry Sectors

Drone growth will occur across five main segments of the enterprise industry: Agriculture, construction and mining, insurance, media and telecommunications, and law enforcement, but will be increasing their presents in all business and industry sectors. Drone applications are everywhere.

Related Drone Ohioline OSU Extension Fact Sheet

Tech Recipe: Starting a Scholastic Drone Racing Team fact sheet is available online.

Ohio Christian University and Pickaway ESC Summit STEM, Session Overviews

Ohio Christian University and Pickaway ESC Summit on November 6, 2021  

Session 1: Learn about OSU Extension’s local hands-on informal STEM learning opportunities and youth career exploration programming in Pickaway County, Hands-on STEM Learning & Career Exploration Programming:

The goal of the Community Development STEM programs is to promote student engagement and interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. participants are engaging in hands-on STEM acNviNes and career exploration with visiting professionals and educators from the community and The Ohio State University. Select programs also involve high school mentor students that assist with program acNviNes while themselves gaining both soX and technical skills, leadership, community service, and college/career exploration opportunities.

Session 2: OSU Extension: Pickaway County K-12 Teacher/Student PercepKons: Virtual/Hybrid Learning Environments Preliminary Results, Preliminary Results K-12 Virtual Hybrid Learning Study:

Prezi Presentation: www.go.osu.edu/remotelearningstudy

The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced educators to reevaluate their programming formats and plan and create more virtual learning and teaching lessons for the current 2020/21 school year forward. The study is led by me, Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator 3, M.R.P. at OSU Extension, Community Development & STEM, College of Food, Agricultural, & Environmental Sciences. The purpose of the study is to measure the experiences of K-12 teachers and 6-12th grade students in virtual and/or hybrid learning environments, to measure teacher perceptions and attitudes of virtual and hybrid learning strategies, and to identify challenges and opportunities of virtual and hybrid learning environments compared to in-person instruction. This session will share out preliminary results of the action research study currently under analysis.

MEGHAN THOREAU, OSU Extension Educator with a unique mix of skills and experience in construction management, planning, and educational outreach and programming. Meghan focuses on preparing Pickaway County youth for STEM careers. She works collaboratively with a team of Extension professionals, volunteers, campus collaborators, and community partners to provide leadership for the development, production, and evaluation of educational programs and applied research to foster STEM educational opportunities that increase career a\ainment in STEM fields. Email: thoreau.1@osu.edu. 

Quadrilateral Sphero Coding Challenges

By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator

Code is everywhere: agriculture, sports, education, art/design, pharmaceutics, robotics, health, entertainment, travel, law, politics, engineering, transportation, meteorology, tourism – you get the point. No youth or 21st-century workforce development program should be absent of code.

Computer Programming with Sphero Summer Camp Program with OSU Extension. Music credit: song,18 anni, by ARIETE from Anzio, in the province of Rome.

 

The highlight video above documents a middle school summer camp program where students learned about geometry, coding terminology, and how a program is written from a series of simple commands or algorithms for a computer to run through and follow. The students also explored computer science careers and had an opportunity to work together on a Sphero Quadrilateral Coding Challenge to explore firsthand how accessible and fun coding can be for anyone that is willing to try and have fun with coding.


Resources

Presentation:

Handout:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quadrilaterals: Sperho Coding Challenge Handout