Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy WaterBot Expedition!

Taiji and Sage installing the first WaterBot.

Hello CMU Create Lab! I was involved in the installation of WaterBots in Frick Park, and was asked by Jessica Pachuta to write an entry for the blog. I hope this is okay!

On Saturday March 24th, after being delayed by torrential downpour and flood warnings, we were finally able to install the final 5 WaterBots in the 9-mile run watershed. Jessica from CMU’s CREATE lab, Taiji from PPC, and myself (Sage, a high school student externing at PPC) spent the entire afternoon setting up the bots. The adventure took 5 hours of tromping through the creek in (leaky) waders, countless zip-ties, and a pit stop at McDonalds, but the weather was great and we all enjoyed being outside!

I’m a senior at the Ellis School, and this year I had the opportunity to have an externship with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. This spring, in addition to being a crew leader at several of the PPC’s volunteer work days, I am going to collect data and monitor the WaterBots. So far, there have been some technological issues which hopefully have already been solved! A far more concerning issue is the missing WaterBot. WaterBot 0009 has mysteriously disappeared, though fortunately all the others are exactly how we left them. Hopefully a reason other than theft will present itself, but considering how well it was anchored down, other explanations seem unlikely. But despite this dilemma, I'm very excited to get to work with the CREATE Lab's WaterBots this spring!


-Sage Lincoln

WaterBot featured on The Climate Code blog

in a guest post by Prof. Illah Nourbakhsh

"Six counties are preparing to take on WaterBot on a larger scale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, epicenters of the Marcellus Shale drilling controversy. As schools and citizen groups take this on, adopting local waterways, measuring them and sharing the data using Fusion Tables, we believe citizens’ abilities to directly impact policy will be greatly amplified, armed as they will be with real data that is easy to visualize and communicate in powerful ways." read the full post

Arts and Bots-Robotics in Pre-K!

The Marshall University Early Education STEM Center is one of the Professional Development Schools piloting the Arts and Bots project.  The project, originally started for middle school girls, has expanded to include both genders as well as other ages.  This is the first time the project has been used in elementary grades as well as pre-k. Many thanks to graduate assistant Lee-Dorah Wokpara for taking on this task and being creative and flexible with the curriculum. Children were encouraged to make a plan and draw a design before creating their robot.  We can't wait to see what the children come up with! 

Harless CREATE Satellite Holds Arts and Bots Training

Teachers from Huntington High School, Ceredo Elementary, South Point High School and the MU Early Education STEM Center took part in a 2-day training on arts and bots on February 17th and 18th on Marshall's campus.  The 8 teachers agreed to pilot the project and integrate it into existing classroom curriculum and will be using it in a variety of subjects including engineering, physics, chemistry, science and math.  Jenn Cross from CMU's CREATE Lab was on hand to help train the teachers on equipment use while the Harless CREATE Satellite team assisted with curriculum. The project will expand to include additional schools and teachers in the fall and a summer training is planned.   We look forward to seeing what the teachers and students come up with!

Ellis Students Gigapan Places of Worship

Ellis students have been Gigapanning different places of worship. Here you see two students pretty well soaked by the rain at the Hindu Jain Temple in Monroeville, PA.
We were treated to a nice tour, but we were not allowed to photograph inside. However, the outside of the temple is also quite beautiful.

Posted by Karen Kaighin, the instructor of students at the Ellis School.
The students are Valiha (with her coat on her head) and Annie.

Connecting Somali students from Pittsburgh to Nijmegen, Netherlands

Journey To A Notherland is a project that connects students in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with students in Nijmegen, Netherlands. We exchange ideas, artwork and creativity with one another. Although the two groups of students live across the world, many of the students come from very similar backgrounds. We talk about community, food, clothing, and music as the main sources of our work. The students in the Pittsburgh group come from various backgrounds: Some are 100% Pittsburgh, and have lived here their entire life. Others have moved from other places. Many of our students come from Africa, with a large population of Somali refugees now living in Pittsburgh. The parallel group of students in Nijmegen consist primarily of Somali refugee  and 1st generation students now living in the Netherlands. To learn more, visit http://journeytoanotherland.wordpress.com/

This is an ongoing project between Nijmegen and Pittsburgh. We have recently received some exciting letters from our pen-pals in the Netherlands. For now, we wish to share some of the activities we have enjoyed together thus far! 

The Pittsburgh group decided to take photos outside of Arsenal Middle School, at the beautiful park behind it. We took two trial photos. Unfortunately, I was having trouble setting up the automatic button shooter, so I had to take each photo manually. This meant I could not join our students in jumping into multiple frames of the photo.


This photo, as you can tell is somewhat inside out, but it has a cool effect. It is taken at Arsenal Park, showing our students playing in the Autumn park before Sunset!



This was our Pittsburgh student's first try at the GigaPan. After selecting a scene and setting up the height and width that would be the GigaPan, the students jumped into frames as I tried to direct them. A cool lesson we learned from this activity was that some time accidents help you discover something new, or make something beautiful. In these photos, we are collaged over each other and blending into one another. In the second GigaPan, the finished product has the sky up top and below the ground. What does having the sky above you and below you make you think of? For one, it reminds us of our relation to the sun, and that our friends in the Netherlands are in a different timezone 6 hours ahead, where the sun may have gone down just that much. It also makes us think about the way we are constantly moving, from classroom to classroom, from block to block, or the way we have moved from country to country and are now standing on a new ground.

Hines Ward, Clairton and USA Network!

Hines Ward and students at Clairton High School involved in Hear Me 101 will be featured in “NFL Characters Unite,” a documentary that premieres tonight at 7 p.m. on the USA Network.

Hear Me connected USA Network producers with Clairton City School District through Hear Me 101 in advance of the filming. Common themes among the students are a desire to raise their community up, become role models and to be seen and heard as positive people.  Hines Ward and students at Clairton High School involved in Hear Me 101 will be featured in “NFL Characters Unite,” a documentary that premieres tonight at 7 p.m. on the USA Network.
Watch the trailer!


Gigapan in Antarctica

I am a first grade teacher on a scientific research team deployed at Palmer Station, Antarctica.  We are here studying a wingless fly called Belgica antarctica.   It is the southernmost, free-living insect in Antarctica and it's the largest animal that remains on land throughout the year.  As the team's educational outreach coordinator, I used Gigapan technology to connect students in my school district as well as nationally with scientific research taking place at the bottom of the world.  Antarctic Gigapan images can be found on my team's outreach blog at www.crestwoodexplorestheworld.org along with descriptive information and scavenger hunt challenges.  Gigapan gives (preschool-grade 12) students an opportunity to explore detailed images of the Antarctic environment, provoking thoughtful questions and higher levels of learning.

My Gigapan Experience


My class and I tried out Gigapan and it was a great experience. Working with the camera was fascinating and I personally enjoyed exploring how a Gigapan imager works. I amproud of my students work in taking the picture, which came out very well. It is nice to see how enthusiastic the students are about interacting with others through The Painting on the Wall project.  Gigapan offers an exciting opportunity for students to interact with each other as part of a global community.

Alejandra Lorenzo-Chang

International Program Coordinator

Waldorf School of Baltimore

UNESCO Associated School

Maryland Green School

410-367-6808 ext. 367 


"When we went through our city to look for meaningful street art, it really changed the way I looked at Baltimore City. I think it was a wonderful idea, and it enables us to see interesting parts of other peoples home cities"  (Sam)

"I liked working with the gigapan taking pictures of graffiti"