Friday, December 1, 2017

Weekly overview - week of 11/27/17

This week, we started wrapping up our Michigan Student Caucus work by posting proposals on the site and rating the proposals of others. For the next few days, students will read through and comment on one another’s proposals in order to determine the top proposals that will make up the Michigan Student Caucus platform. On December 13, we’ll head to Lansing (with other MSC participants) to present the platform to an ad hoc committee of legislators invested in civic engagement.

The culmination of one project also signals the beginning of the next project. Under Sam’s direction, students started working through a set of introductory Arduino exercises in order to get comfortable with the programming environment and learn about the functionality of both the microcontrollers themselves and the additional components (resistors, LEDs, sensors, etc.) that we’ll be using in the next few weeks. Students worked through the exercises and documented all of their successes, challenges, and observations in their engineering notebooks. Eventually, students will work in design teams to build autonomous vehicles that complete different tasks.

In that vein, we welcomed three engineers into our class to talk about their work and the role of documentation in their work. Thanks to Charles Hardin, Sarah Kingham, and Jean-Marie Rouillard for sharing their experiences and stories with us.

We also started reading Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel, Player Piano, which will ask students to think deeply about the potential implications of automation.

On Friday, the eighth graders continued their high school visits with a trip to Washtenaw Technical Middle College (WTMC), located on the campus of Washtenaw Community College.

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