Class 04 – Base of Understanding

Tonight, I think I learned more than the students did. On Monday I had originally intended for the class to take a group survey to gauge the understanding of basic engineering principles needed to do these projects. After our conversation and asking students multiple times about multiple concepts, “Is this something we understand?” and getting head nods, I falsely assumed a level of understanding that, tonight, I think created frustration for many students. Based on this false assumption, I planned tonight’s lesson. You can find the Powerpoint here.

This evening we gathered around for a quick agenda review and HTML/CSS overview which didn’t end up working because of differences between my paid and the students’ unpaid WordPress sites. That was OK though, because we had plenty planned.

Originally, I planned for students to be split into two groups, one with Andrew to review through-hole soldering, the other with me to build a blinking LED circuit with transistors, capacitors, resistors, and LED’s. Halfway through, we would switch. It immediately became clear to me that the nods and smiles I got last week when chatting about circuitry were not a clear indication of level of understanding and so we decided not to switch and extend the split groups to the end. What we were able to achieve was a basic intro to electrical components and soldering and a good understanding of where we need to start next week.

At the end of class we put on the Adafruit “Ask an Engineer” live-stream show.

For next Monday, I will have all students taking a survey of their knowledge of understanding, I will develop a soldering and circuitry cheat sheet, and we will revisit the concepts in depth over the next week.

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