ERU1, Fall 2017 – Emily’s Post

By Emily

This week I had the privilege of participating in the workshop Electronics for the Rest of Us: Part 1, where students worked over the course of two days to learn beginner Arduino circuit building and coding.

On the first day, we worked on circuits that incorporated LEDs, buttons, potentiometers, photoresistors, thermistors, all while connecting an Arduino board to a breadboard. We learned about circuit wiring and reading schematic diagrams, which in part felt like a much-needed review of high school physics. On Saturday we applied our new skills in a challenge: we had to design a circuit for a specific proposed problem. Almost all of the code we work with was modified from other sources, but by the end of the weekend, we did understand some simple commands. Most of the concepts were new to me, I never felt overwhelmed by the tasks that our instructors assigned, although I was challenged intellectually.

During the Saturday class, I was inspired by my peer’s abilities (mostly iScis) to troubleshoot problems. By the end of that day, I was happy with my group’s final product, nicknamed comically the “DIY Mommy Monitor,” that had the purpose of measuring the temperature and light levels of a room and relaying this information to the “mom” through light, sound, and
temperature reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed the module. Because I have taken my Arts and Sciences degree in a liberal arts direction, I do not often engage with applied science. This module felt like a refreshingly new way of learning by doing, rather than learning by just thinking. Now that computer science seems a little less daunting, perhaps this is a topic I will continue to learn about, if only as a hobby.

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