The Middle School Engineering Club is a new program for a dozen middle schoolers that is a year-long alternative to the First LEGO League (FLL). They meet once a week for 3 hours. Rather than focusing on a competition, they are taught a wide range of engineering skills including programming robots and microcontrollers, basic electronics, computer-aided design, and fabrication using plastic, metal, and wood. These skills will ultimately be used towards a single large-scale team project that will be of long-term utility to the school.
Programming: Students learn how to program beyond drag-and-drop programming, including with Java, Python, and C-style languages. They also learn how to design an algorithm for solving a maze, and then turn that algorithm into code in these various languages.
Robots: In addition to Mindstorm EV3 and NXT, the students get to use the Scribbler, Pololu, Arduino-based mBot, and Sphero.
Microcontrollers: Students learn how to program Arduinos, reading various analog and digital sensors, control LEDs, servos, and motors using simple electronics like transistors and resistors. Multimeters, logic probes, and oscilloscopes are used to understand and diagnose circuits.
Fabrication: Students learn how to design using CAD software, and manufacture their parts with a 3-D printer, as well as other fabrication techniques.
NCA Engineering Club Coach:
Mr. Jonathan Bloedow