eBlocks, Kids, and Engineering Careers

Welcome to eBlocks

Introduction to eBlocks

eBlocks are small electronic blocks that people can connect to build fun and useful systems.
The eBlock systems are capable of detecting motion, sound, and light. They can also respond by sounding
buzzers or blinking lights. eBlocks' ease of use and exciting variety of buildable systems make them an ideal tool to get
kids excited about building electronic systems and can thus encourage kids to consider engineering careers.

eBlocks and Middle-School Kids
The experience of fixing a bike teaches a child the mechanics of how
bikes work; therefore making it possible for the child to choose a career
as a mechanic
Another child might enjoy learning about animals and will be more likely to choose a career as a veterinarian.
Similarly, our goal is to expose a child to the excitement of building electronic systems by working with eBlocks, hopefully causing the child to consider a career in engineering.

eBlocks are like the wood and nails of the electronic world.
A person can use wood and nails to build a variety of things, such as a dog house, fence, skateboard ramp etc.
Likewise, a person can connect eBlocks to build electronic systems like a "sleepwalker" detector,
a "garage-open-at-night" indicator, or a "someone-is-approaching-the-classroom" notifier.
eBlocks are a new technology made possible by today's tiny low-cost computer chips --

10 years ago, those electronic systems could only be built by
experienced engineers!

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Introduction to the Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan Overview

This web page describes a ready-to-use lesson plan.
The project will introduce the students to eBlocks and thus to engineering.
The project can be finished in one 45-minute session, with additional projects possible for those students who are interested.
The project goal is to build a "People Detector" and consists of three group-based exercises.
In each exercise the students will build simple eBlock systems and test their systems by walking near them and seeing how the
system detects other students.

Exercise1: Create a motion detector that beeps when someone passes the system.

Exercise 2: Create a wireless motion detector that beeps when someone passes the system

Exercise 3: Create a wireless motion detector that beeps when someone passes the system
and keeps count of how many times it has detected someone.

Exercise 4: Create a wireless motion detector that beeps when someone passes the system,
keeps count of how many times it has detected someone and beeps if that number is equal to
a specific number chosen by the teacher

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Preparing for the Lesson Plan

Classroom Setup

The desk arrangement for the lesson

Groups and Kits

-Split the students into 4 groups evenly

-Assign each group to a walkway

-Give each group one kit of eBlocks

-The kits contain all eBlocks necessary for the system

-Each eBlock is labeled, making it possible to distinguish between the eBlocks

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The Lesson Plan

Demo the eBlocks

Follow the steps in this section.
It contains the steps necessary to introduce the students to eBlocks

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Part 1:

System That Detects Motion

  • Building Solutions

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    Part 2:
    Wireless System That Detects Motion

  • Building Solutions

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    Part 3:
    Wireless System: Keeps Count Of People That Pass By

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    Wrap Up


      Clean up and put away your kits and return to your seats.


      Tell the students the following:


      Be sure to mention to the students that if they are interested in working with the eBlocks
      some more, to try out the extended projects.

      If a lot of the students are interested in trying out the extended projects portion you might
      consider having another class session to do that.

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    Extended Projects

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    Quick Fixes

    Yellow Status Light is Flashing
    Beeper eBlock does not beep when someone passes through the system

    This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under grant CCR-0311026 and CNS-0311026-005. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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