2017 May 17 - June 29
2017 October 11 - December 21
2017 Proposal deadline: 08/01/17
2017 BTR deadline: 09/10/17
It is Summer, which means school is out! Teachers are not really requesting equipment from the Lending Library, so what goes on with this program during the summer months? Turns out that shipping heavy equipment back and forth to schools (even all the way to California) throughout the academic year results in a lot of broken items. We often don’t have enough time between shipments to completely fix all of the equipment, so we use spares and place the broken items in a pile until there is a long enough period of time to fix them. Yes, you guessed it, we wait for the summer break.
We have teamed up with the Learning Web, a local agency that pairs youth with apprenticeships around town. An Xraise staff member worked with a student during the summer months whose job it was to get familiar with the Lending Library equipment and troubleshoot many of the broken items we have accumulated. Tasks can be as simple as replacing batteries and fuses in our multimeters all the way to soldering circuits that are not working correctly. This year we have added another component to this apprenticeship and that is to work with the student in a personal project that they are interested in, allowing them to take the initiative in figuring out how to complete it. Tenzin, a middle school student, was interested in coding and working with Arduinos. After spending sometime fixing Lending Library equipment, Tenzin would use Scratch and Hour of Code to get familiar with code blocks, he would also read about micro-controllers and get familiar with the Arduino board. At the end of his apprenticeship he put together a simple pulsating Arduino LED cube that provided a lot of soldering practice, figuring out how to make the code on his computer interact with the Arduino board and using multiplexing to power the 64 LEDS on the cube.
In addition to the summer apprenticeship program, the Lending Library travels locally providing training to science teachers and educators who are interested in borrowing equipment and instructions from Xraise. At the TC3 College Now! Conference (a professional development event for physics teachers who teach college level courses at their respective high schools), we presented the lab activities of “Arecibo’s Giant Mirror” — a lab that studies radio telescopes and focal points and “Discovering Ohm’s Law” where Ohm’s Law is derived empirically — to physics and astronomy teachers who find these resources very useful for their high level courses. This summer we also presented the lab activity “Notebook Circuits” to a group of New York State Cooperative Extension 4H agents during our visit to Camp Shankitunk, who were also very grateful and excited to connect youth to these resources provided by Xraise.
The new school year is starting again this month and we are excited and ready to continue providing educators with the resources and support they need for their classes.
Submitted by: Eva Luna, CHESS, Cornell University