Speck Used in Biodiesel Experiment

Students at Paonia High School wanted to test the “green” claims of biodiesel against the “non-green” stereotype of standard diesel fuel. They created two different biodiesel fuels from both used and unused vegetable oil, and also purchased standard diesel fuel. 

They then tested each of the three fuels by burning them separately in a controlled experiment at the school laboratory, and collected data to see which produced the least amount of air pollutants. The Speck air quality monitor from the Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab and air quality monitors from University of Colorado captured the combustion byproducts, documenting produced particulates, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds.

Paonia High School students Cameron Van Vleet and Noah Haswell conduct a "burn-test" on biodiesel in an experiment they made for the science fair

The students’ experiment was successful.  Biodiesel made from unused vegetable oil created the least amount of pollutants, but also did not burn as hot as the other fuels – raising questions of efficiency. Another area of interest is a “lag” between the production of particulates and carbon dioxide, as seen in the following graph. The students continue to analyze these results, but have concluded that a revised experiment design and additional tests are needed.

But those tests will have to wait. This team of student scientists is currently busy preparing their results for the Colorado State Science and Engineering Fair.

More info about Speck can be found here.

Children's Books Come to Life at Bots & Books Competition

The Bots and Books Design Challenge, at The School of Information Sciences (the iSchool) at the University of Pittsburgh, saw eight teams of undergraduate and Masters students design, program and build a robot to illustrate a theme from a children’s book. Their ‘bots were judged by Brian Beaton, Bob Perkoski, Martin Weiss and Corey Wittig. Many memorable presentations took place, including a Valentine’s Day dancing Cinderella and a reenactment of Disney’s The Lion King. The judges had a difficult decision to make, but in the end they selected three winning teams: Team Pizza(Ty Houy, Mandy Kendall and Tom Robinson), first prize for BunniculaThe Carnegie Crew (Michael Balkenhol, Georgiana Deming and Bonny Yeager), second prize for The Invention of Hugo Cabret; and The Notorious Cardigans (Angela Bradshaw, Emily Mross and Jourdan Walls), third prize for Jumanji

Here is the winning bot in action:

 The final parts list for the Bunnicula Bot was 3 servos, 1 motor, 2 single color LED’s for the vegetable and 2 tricolor LED’s for Bunnicula’s eyes.  

March 24th GigaPan Training

Register here.

I would like to invite you to a free Hands-on Gigapan Training

on Monday March 24th, 2014 from 5:00pm – 8:00pm 
Please RSVP by: March 21st, 2014
 
We run this class once a month so if you cannot make to this one, please sign up HERE and I will keep you posted when another class is scheduled. 
CREATE Lab also holds on site trainings for a group of educators so if you are interested please contact us: rachel@cmucreatelab.org 

Carnegie Mellon University
Gates Hillman Complex - GHC 8102

Expectations: 
-Share your knowledge with others.
-Create meaningful snapshots. Find out what this means in class!

Class Requirements: 
-Create a free gigapan account: http://gigapan.com/signup
-Watch at least one of the video tutorials: http://create.posthaven.com/gigapan-beta-video-tutorials 

Looking forward to seeing you in class.
Rachel

Minor Visual Programmer Update

The Visual Programmer software has been updated to enable you to choose the directory where your Visual Programmer files are stored. So, when a student launches the app, the first thing they'll do is go to the settings tab to tell the app where to store and find his/her files. 

For Windows, you will need to un-install and re-install the software to activate these changes. For Mac, you will just need to drag the new software into your Applications folder and let it overwrite the old one.

The Installation and Connection Guide can be found HERE

How Children Can Learn

by Gayle Manchin, president of WV Board of Education, following a recent visit to the CREATE Lab: 

I knew that the CREATE Lab was a visionary “think tank” of young brilliant minds--but that does not even scratch the surface of what is “happening” in this arena at Carnegie-Mellon. 

The opportunities given to children to expand their minds, their explorations, their discoveries, and have it all happen as an everyday experience begins to define what education should mean. Young people create, discover, experiment, and solve problems as engaged scientists. This can and is being replicated in WV in remarkable ways. These students will become tomorrow's teams that find the cure for cancer, temper global warming, and change the way they will leave their land better than we left it to them.

Replicated in WV in remarkable ways. CREATE Lab Satellite Network partners in West Virginia.

However, in addition to showing the world how children can learn, the CREATE Lab is also changing our universe. The entrepreneurial spirit that exists in that facility is changing the scope of mankind in what and how individuals can observe, learn and facilitate the integration of new knowledge into our ever-changing, complex world. These young minds enable all of us to know more quickly the challenges that we face as a society and encourages us to be part of the solution in a more effective way.

The visit in and of itself was a overwhelming experience --- but the opportunities that exist are almost incomprehensible in how far the human mind can stretch. I feel so incompetent in trying to express adequately the experience of spending an afternoon in this lab, but suffice it to say, I left there realizing that I had been a part of an amazing vision of teaching and learning at its finest. THANK YOU for sharing with us!!

I hope that our paths will cross in many ways on this journey to educate for the future.

Gayle C. Manchin
President, WV State Board of Education

Major Visual Programmer Update

The CREATE Lab Visual Programmer for Hummingbird and Finch has been updated. The update can be downloaded at: http://artsandbots.com/visualprogrammer/

Standalone versions are available for Mac, Windows and Ubuntu Linux. The Web Start version has been discontinued. If you have the Web Start version it will continue to work but you will be prompted to download the new version upon launching the program. A zip file version is also available for Linux users and users with complicated installation scenarios.

The software now automatically checks for updates every time the application is launched. If an update is available, the Settings tab (the one with the gear icon) will provide a link to download the latest version. To upgrade, simply download the latest version and repeat the installation steps. Your saved Expressions and Sequences will not be affected.

Java SE 6 or newer is still need to run the software and can be downloaded HERE

An updated version of the Installation and Connection Guide can be found HERE.

Installation Instructions for the Standalone Version:

1. Make sure you have Java SE 6 or later installed.

2. Go to: http://artsandbots.com/visualprogrammer/

3. Click the appropriate Download button for your robot (Hummingbird or Finch) and operating system (Mac OS, Windows, or Ubuntu Linux).

4. Installation:

• Mac OS: you will download a disk image file (.dmg). Double-click it to mount and open the disk image. Once it is open, simply drag the Visual Programmer application to your computer’s Applications folder. Once it has copied, you may eject the disk image.

• Windows: you will download an installer file (.msi). Double-click to open it and follow the installation wizard steps to install the Visual Programmer.

• Ubuntu Linux: you will download a package file (.deb). Double-click to open it and then select Install Package.

5. Running the Visual Programmer software:

• Mac: double click the CREATE Lab Visual Programmer application in your Applications folder.

• Windows: select the CREATE Lab Visual Programmer application in the Start menu, or double-click the icon on your Desktop.

• Ubuntu Linux: double-click the CREATE Lab Visual Programmer application icon.

6. If you run the software and see a screen like one of the ones below, you’re done!

GigaPan Curriculum Collection - Celebrating 41 Educators

For the past six years, CREATE Lab GigaPan outreach has inspired projects in 20 countries, engaging 1,176 educators, 6,371 students, and 153 leading scientists across the globe. 

Today we are proud to announce the release of a GigaPan curriculum collection including 20 lesson plans, based on projects that were developed and implemented by 41 of our partner educators, featuring a variety of content areas and unique approaches to GigaPan. We're proud to show off their work.

The curriculum collection is available on: gigapan.com/cms/use-learn.
Each unit details the related common core and state standards.

In addition to our gratitude toward our partner educators, we dedicate a very special thank you to Jennifer Geist of  Zeitgeist Creations Global Education Tools, who curated all the unit plans and uniformly formatted them for easy reference and implementation. To complete the collection, Jennifer bundled these units with educator guides for online resources, hardware, activity ideas as well as a project design template.

Photography becomes transformative when the image maker is empowered to capture what is most valuable to them, and even more so when they share this perspective with others. By creating and sharing GigaPan images, educators, students, and scientists can share the stories of their own landscapes and ignite conversations with participating groups all over the world. 


We asked some of the educators featured in this collection to share their perspective about GigaPan. 

Here's what they said:


Elizabeth Lallathin, Kellogg Elementary School, Huntington WV, USA

"Using GigaPan in my classroom has allowed all readers access to inferencing skills and to be part of a greater conversation. Images found on gigapan.com have become a virtual window to the settings of books, lessons, and news. Readers are able to place themselves inside of the picture and see it close up. The images grab the audience and hold the attention begging the onlooker to inquire more deeply with every zoom...GigaPan is a tool that I highly respect and enjoy using within my classroom."

Download Elizabeth's projects: World of Diversity and Travels Through Literature


Hari Prasetyo, SMA Al-Izhar, Jakarta, Indonesia


"GigaPan is an amazing tool. Using GigaPan has taught me and my students many things, such as, partnership, exchanging the ideas, and because we are from Indonesia we practice our English conversation by communicating with our partner school. The gigantic panorama produced by the GigaPan enables us to find/zoom in on unique or strange pictures/phenomenon/scene in our daily activities or cultures. We then can discuss these findings within our class or ask for an explanation from our school partner's students and teacher.  So much cultural diversity or biodiversity that we can understand and learn about." 

Download Hari's project, School Daily Activities, here.


David Williams, Huntington High School, Huntington WV, USA

"What I liked about the GigaPan is that it allowed the students to make discoveries without me telling them and it allowed me to see what interested them. It allowed their peers to help them because they were the only ones online to communicate with. It made the students excited and engaged. I had fully engaged students and by being on the computers students that might not participate in discussions could discuss via the keyboard. This project did a good job hooking my students on learning about the Incas."

Download David's project, Inca & Ancient Civilizations, here


Linda Twedt, South Fayette Middle School, McDonald PA, USA

"The magic of GigaPan is as much in what it can show as in what it can 'erase'. With assistance, we were able to peek inside the contents of a frozen food truck seemingly without the doors. GigaPan excites the students with its Facebook-style interface, allowing them to use their foreign language skills to get to know their partners, who may live many thousands of miles away."

Download Linda's project, Alimentation/Nutrition, here


Briana, student of Brandon Keat, Propel School, Pittsburgh PA, USA

“I must admit Gigapanning for me became a new craving! All I thought about when I walked around was 'this would be a great place to do a GigaPan.' I learned it all – how to set the machine up and how to adjust everything correctly and take awesome pictures. It was an amazing experience and I'm glad I got to be apart of it!"  

Download Briana's classroom's social studies project here


Khosi Ntuli, Tlhatlogang Junior Secondary School, Soweto, South Africa

"I am an educator teaching Life Orientation at Tlhatlogang Junior Secondary in South Africa. Students are faced with challenging dilemmas. Life is all about choices and priorities. My subject aims at equipping them with skills and techniques to face their challenging background. Meeting with other educators made me realize that one way or the other we are all the same. We are faced with the challenge of changing the minds of those kids that God has placed to our care.”

Download Khosi's project, Global Health, here


Becky Severino, Beverly Elementary School, Beverly WV, USA

"The Self-Portrait GigaPan project sprang from a discussion with a preschool teacher about found objects. We decided that we would ask our students to go on a treasure hunt at home and bring to school any small treasures they could find. We used the objects as springboards for creative play. When it seemed that the students had exhausted all possibilities, we introduced the concept of self-portraits. Using the GigaPan site, we visited museums and art galleries to see original self-portraits by famous artists. We used our found treasures to build faces, working without glue so that we could change our work, revisit it, recreate the faces depending on the objects chosen. Finally we created our own self-portraits. We then created puppets from our objects and wrote stories about their lives.

We were so fascinated with that GigaPan that we decided to create our own using the self-portraits of famous artists. We made small thumbnail copies of their works and placed them in various spots around our classroom. We then made larger versions of the same pictures and used those to cover our faces and placed ourselves in the GigaPan.  We were very pleased with the outcome of our work!"

Download Becky's project, Beautiful Stuff: Self Portraits, here


Bonnie Conner, Milton Middle School, Milton WV, USA

"I created the project for a classification unit I do near the end of the year. My students are always amazed at how the GigaPan works. Students enjoy trying to find the organisms and classify them. I even taught a student teacher how to use the GigaPan last year and used it in my digital imaging club with 6, 7, and 8th graders."

Download Bonnie's project, Nine Phyla of the Animal Kingdom, here


Marti Louw, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA, USA

"Gigapixel technology brings a 21st century spin to the natural history diorama. Explorable images not only make accessible the remote, rare and hard to see, the technology enables learners to explore, observe and discover meaning in their own way."

Download Marti's project, Stories in Rock, here


Jason Jackson, Beverly Hills Middle School, Huntington WV, USA

"The projects main focus was to broaden the horizons of children. Many places around the world seem so similar to us here in the US, but the differences in everyday activities, like grocery shopping, can be surprising. During this project we took time to look at local prices for a gallon of milk and compare that mathematically to the price of a gallon of milk in other locations. We started our investigation by asking family and friends who lived in other states what a gallon of milk cost. Then, we explored the GigaPan site and other internet sites for the price of milk per gallon. After locating several outlets, a convenient store in the middle east, a European Sweet Shop, an Asian open market, and grocery stores in the United States, the data comparison assignment started. As a culminating assignment, students had to use the information that we had learned to create a visual representation of how the prices varied among other objects located in our class' original GigaPan. Most students chose a spread sheet which related back to our math basis."

Download Jason's project, Nutrition & Markets, here.


View the full curriculum collection here

SPECK - Air Quality Test

Running a test last Friday, we created a 12x12 grid of air quality monitors.  This enabled us to see how the monitors compared to one another given the same input.  Seeing how differently each monitor reacts will help us create a calibration so that they react more consistently to one another.  The other thing the test accomplished was that it provided data for us to use to create some sort of visualization.  This visualization will create an individual graph to illustrate what one air quality monitor has been exposed to.  Also, the visualization will assist us in creating a collective result so that air quality can be monitored and recognized in different regions of the city, and hopefully world.  

With the 12x12 grid in place, we performed a common household activity, we vacuumed.  We started vacuuming along one edge of the 12x12 grid and got a very nice, or terrible if you are concerned about air quality, spike in the particles in the air.  We could see the spike, and then the slow decline as the dust settled, across all of the Speck air quality monitors.  This data is a great way to tell the story of how the air quality impact some of our daily activities make as well as providing some very nice data for our visualization experts to start digesting and creating.
For more details on the speck project: 


GigaPan Time Machine at MozFest 2013

The CREATE Lab will be heading to London on October 25-27 to take part in MozFest 2013. Every year Mozilla brings together webmakers, educators and innovators from around the world who all share the aim to make the web more open and encourage people to become webmakers, not just consumers. CREATE will be showcasing Time Machine and will be focusing on the interactive Google Earth Engine Landsat Timelapse. We'll explore through space and time our changing planet and create and share tours about the last 29 years.