Author Topic: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?  (Read 4217 times)

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Offline JacquesBBB

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Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« on: March 04, 2016, 07:21:17 am »
I have been asked to supervise a small workshop for total beginners during a science week fair.
They may be of any age. I will have to eventually put some limits there,
but this is to be chosen.  They can be kids from 12  to 16, or adults.
The workshop will be  in two sessions of 2 h during the same week. 

There will be 20 attendees in  10 groups of 2.
A big constraint is the material. Ideally, it should be  < 5 $.

I am asking here for suggestions as I never did that. I see two possibilities :

-A)  I can  go  for  pure electronics, without programming :
   - a small breadboard, some leds, resistors, caps,  555, buzzer, transistor, wires.
   - any suggestions for fun circuits ?

B) I can go for an arduino (ebay source) with usb plug and programming.
like this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-CH340G-Nano-V3-0-16M-5V-ATmega328P-Micro-Controller-Board-For-Arduino-/262123424219?hash=item3d07c609db:g:3rQAAOSwniRWNtSi
+ small breadboard, leds, buzzer, display, temp sensor  : slightly more expensive,  but should still be  < 7$

I will be very pleased to get any suggestions for possible circuits in both cases,  especially if some of you
have  experience in such  performance.

 

Offline FlyingHacker

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2016, 07:28:44 am »
I'd go analog. Why? Because once you get into Arduino shields and add-on modules it is very easy to have no clue what you are doing in terms of actual electronics. My background is more programming, and all that digital stuff is easy for me. I am trying to learn more about analog circuits.

I might add an opamp, and mess with those. For your "digital" maybe a seven segment display and a BCD to seven segment decoder.

Of course kids these days (man, I sound old) are not easily impressed by simple things (after all, they have an iPhone in their pocket). So perhaps the Arduino (nano clones off eBay are ~3-4bucks) is the way to go. But even then, you are not likely to do a lot for a $5 budget. Maybe one of the MAX7219 displays could be fun:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/MAX7219-Dot-led-matrix-module-MCU-control-LED-Display-module-wire-for-Arduino-/191781645249?hash=item2ca713abc1:g:3AgAAOSwo6lWQtph
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Offline Phoenix

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 07:59:57 am »
Is 2 hours long enough for 1 person to supervise 10 people who don't know about programming to create an Arduino program? I wouldn't think so. Perhaps test your idea on someone before the workshop. Also maybe consider a base activity plus an extension for the faster people.

I think the participants need to be able to visually see the result of completing the workshop to get that sense of accomplishment. Means you can't use anything that would require an oscilloscope or multimeter. LEDs, speakers.

For your "digital" maybe a seven segment display and a BCD to seven segment decoder.

555 as clock + counter + BCD decoder + 7seg
Can vary the 555 resistor to change the clock/count rate
Extension - Combine multiple together as a group to count passed 9 (as 2-10 people) - see if they can count to 9,999,999,999

555 to PWM an LED as a dimmer?
Extension - combine multiple 555 do a bi/tri-colour LED to demonstrate combining different colours at different levels (as 2 or 3 people).

Or maybe a brief lesson on logic gates - AND OR etc. then perhaps a challenge to design a simple logic circuit from a truth table (could be quite hard)

Simple light following robot http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Light-Following-Robot/ (plenty of similar circuits).
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 08:01:59 am by Phoenix »
 

Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2016, 08:06:29 am »
Just showing somebody the basic features and functions of a multimeter even a five dollar one can change their life, it did mine and that was over thirty years ago.

I personally believe throwing a complete beginner into even basic circuits or simple programming configurations can in fact have a dissuading effect to some who may not yet comprehend the fundamentals, each to his or her own pace I believe is the key and with your guidance let them unlock the magical world of electronics.

I don't fully understand what the course will entail but you may be able to draw up a quick questionnaire for the participants for you to quickly gauge the levels at which they are at, those that are already up to speed with your intended itinerary could perhaps be deputised to assist with the class, this activity in itself can be extremely rewarding and beneficial for some.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 11:08:11 am by Muttley Snickers »
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Online tautech

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2016, 09:13:38 am »
Just showing somebody the basic features and functions of a multimeter even a five dollar one can change their life, it did mine and that was over thirty years ago.

I personally believe thowing a complete beginner into even basic circuits or simple programming configurations can in fact have a dissuading effect to some who may not yet comprehend the fundamentals, each to his or her own pace I believe is the key and with your guidance let them unlock the magical world of electronics.
+1

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Online MK14

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2016, 09:22:51 am »
+555 on the timer ideas.

Multi-colour leds (e.g. Red/Green) and/or self-flashing leds, can be fun, when first encountered.

Seven segment displays, small motor(s) and LDRs (light dependent resistors) can be fun as well.

Possibly cheap (if still available) music playing chips + speaker (or piezo sounder) (as in birthday/christmas cards, etc), can be a quick intro to the power of electronics, at a low cost.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 09:56:46 am by MK14 »
 

Offline android

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2016, 09:45:00 am »
A simple water level detector like this could be amusing for the younger ones - especially if you can make it go bang when it triggers! You could have them build successive improvements using more complicated sensors (float switches, resistive, ultrasonic etc).
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Offline ade

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2016, 12:01:32 am »
Quote
A simple water level detector like this could be amusing for the younger ones - especially if you can make it go bang when it triggers!
Depends on the age --

For very young kids, electronics + water == bad idea as they don't necessarily understand the dangers of mains vs. battery, etc.
 

Offline nowlan

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Offline Renegade

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2016, 03:58:00 am »
Electronics newb... please be gentle. :)
 

Offline JacquesBBB

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2016, 12:34:49 pm »
Thanks  for the various suggestions.

Concerning the age, as I said, it is  at least  12, and I may put the threshold at 14 if needed.

For the groups,  I have also the possibility to  make 5 groups of 4,  which  will double the budget
for each group, then,up to about 10$.

These young and not so young science amateurs, come for a general science fair, with a large part on astronomy.
Electronics/arduino will be one of the  various possible workshop they can attend. Others could be mini rockets,
or various astronomy projects.

I am still open to suggestions, or  helpful links 
 

Offline onesixright

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2016, 01:02:49 pm »
Whats the context of the workshop?

IMO their is a very big difference between Programming (MCU's) and Electronics. Throwing a LED + Arduino has not much todo with electronics, also, quickly the accent becomes programming (which is fine if that's the context). If not, i would go with Analog, its also a better foundation. But thats just my thought.

 

Offline JacquesBBB

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2016, 02:55:11 pm »
Whats the context of the workshop?

There is no apriori context.  Many people come,  they go to conferences of general audience science,
and they choose to attend the workshops they wish. They are eager to learn, normally with no apriori. I see it as  a way to discover something they may wish to investigate deeper after the fair.
For young people, it may be the start of a vocation.

So the idea is to give them something that will  raise their interest, but also that will be fun ( this is vacation time ! ).

 

Offline Renegade

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2016, 03:50:06 pm »
For the groups,  I have also the possibility to  make 5 groups of 4,  which  will double the budget
for each group, then,up to about 10$.

Have you checked out the various kinds of DIY projects that you can get ready to go?

Here are a few examples:

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Voice-control-switch-suite-DIY-kits-selling-electronic-circuit/32338281477.html?ws_ab_test=searchweb201556_7,searchweb201644_1_505_506_503_504_10032_10020_502_10001_10002_10017_10005_10006_10003_10021_10004_10022_10018_10019,searchweb201560_9,searchweb1451318400_-1,searchweb1451318411_-1&btsid=c48208d8-4325-4087-8040-b02aaa2d2792

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1set-TDA7297-amplifier-board-spare-parts-dc-12v-grade-2-0-dual-audio-encoding-15w-electronic/32511967000.html?ws_ab_test=searchweb201556_7,searchweb201644_1_505_506_503_504_10032_10020_502_10001_10002_10017_10005_10006_10003_10021_10004_10022_10018_10019,searchweb201560_9,searchweb1451318400_-1,searchweb1451318411_-1&btsid=c48208d8-4325-4087-8040-b02aaa2d2792

Flashing LEDs

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/5MM-LED-Simple-Flash-Light-Simple-Flash-Circuit-Production-Board-DIY-Kit-Set-Top-Sale/32613430838.html?ws_ab_test=searchweb201556_7,searchweb201644_1_505_506_503_504_10032_10020_502_10001_10002_10017_10005_10006_10003_10021_10004_10022_10018_10019,searchweb201560_9,searchweb1451318400_-1,searchweb1451318411_-1&btsid=5120f831-a64a-41a4-9ffe-ee6cee702339

Doorbell

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Perfect-Doorbell-Suite-Electronic-DIY-Kit-for-Home-Security-6V-PCB-3-9-x-3-5/32614748764.html?ws_ab_test=searchweb201556_7,searchweb201644_1_505_506_503_504_10032_10020_502_10001_10002_10017_10005_10006_10003_10021_10004_10022_10018_10019,searchweb201560_9,searchweb1451318400_-1,searchweb1451318411_-1&btsid=5120f831-a64a-41a4-9ffe-ee6cee702339

Those require equipment though (soldering iron, etc.), which could present an issue.
Electronics newb... please be gentle. :)
 

Offline JacquesBBB

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2016, 07:56:26 pm »
Thanks !  this is a good idea. These kits are incredibly  cheap.

I thought  at the beginning of using breadboard,  but it may be nice to do a real thing
that  the participants can bring home.

The soldering iron could be an issue, but I have already  4  of them (or nearly, one is in pieces) that I could bring.
 

Offline LordHexahedron

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2016, 07:30:20 pm »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_Punk_Console

Thanks for the idea, I'll just need to order some 555 timers (what, 10pcs for $0.74? No objection here, I was considering building 'em but at that price... just no way)
The diagram says Output, I assume it's a speaker or a 3.5mm jack, given that it's sound related.

Perhaps I should look up a more detailed diagram than the wikipedia one.
la $a0, "NO U" ;cheating, 3 lines prevents me from declaring a proper message.
li $v0, 4
j $01 ;harhar, supposed to have a syscall first but 3 line limit... also jumping to $01 only works in the contrived example - joke code is joke, enjoy.
 

Online MK14

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2016, 07:53:54 pm »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_Punk_Console

Thanks for the idea, I'll just need to order some 555 timers (what, 10pcs for $0.74? No objection here, I was considering building 'em but at that price... just no way)
The diagram says Output, I assume it's a speaker or a 3.5mm jack, given that it's sound related.

Perhaps I should look up a more detailed diagram than the wikipedia one.

Yes, it does indeed look like the speaker output.

 

Offline LordHexahedron

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Re: Suggestions for a small beginner workshop ?
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2016, 08:14:44 pm »
got it, thanks (and thanks for the schematic, I guess I'll get to test it when my 555's arrive in a month or so - found an even better price, $1.50 for 50PCS - that's some 3 cents/chip vs 7.4 cents per chip for the 10PCS deal, and either one would take just as long to arrive)
la $a0, "NO U" ;cheating, 3 lines prevents me from declaring a proper message.
li $v0, 4
j $01 ;harhar, supposed to have a syscall first but 3 line limit... also jumping to $01 only works in the contrived example - joke code is joke, enjoy.
 


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