In June 2015 I had the opportunity to work as an Arduino project instructor for the Women in Science and Engineering’s annual Girls in Science in Engineering summer day camp at the University of Michigan. The camp included different workshops for girls in grades 6-8, one of which was an Arduino workshop!
This was a perfect opportunity to combine my love of teaching and technology. As a woman studying Electrical Engineering, I know firsthand the lack of diversity in STEM. While this is unfortunate, there are many groups proactively trying to change that. I was eager to jump on board and do what I can to get young girls involved in STEM!
I worked with several other Arduino project instructors to develop a project plan to teach to our classes. Together, we put together a project that would teach the students how to set up an Arduino UNO, build simple circuits on the breadboard, and write simple Arduino code.
First, we taught the students about basic circuitry. We then assisted them in setting up basic LED-resistor circuits, and controlling them through through the Blink-LED tutorial on Arduino IDE. After that they learned to add a button and a transistor to the circuit, and adjust the code to match. Finally, the girls added a battery and a small fan to the circuit, and adjusted the code to power on the fan and LEDs when the button was pressed. They were able to decorate their own blow-up plastic animal, and use the fan/button circuit to blow it up. This was our inspiration for the project.
The Arduino project was a hit with the students! They enjoyed working on the circuits, coding in Arduino IDE, and decorating their blow-up animals. I think the most exciting part for them though, was watching the project come to life.
The students rated the Arduino project as one of their favorites during the camp. It was a great experience for me to work with younger students, and try to get them involved with my passion–Electrical Engineering! I really enjoyed teaching the students, and working with them while debugging their circuits and codes, and answering all their questions about engineering and college life.
I was asked to return as an instructor for the next year, but was unable to do so as I was implementing The Fanoos Project in Iran.