By Clint Hayes, Teacher, Eaton School
Eaton School has been awarded the Callysto Technology Award!
The award, funded by the Callysto project, will go towards the purchase of Raspberry Pi’s and sensor kits in order to teach computational thinking and coding skills and to build an automated greenhouse. The total dollar amount will be just over $1,000.00.
Callysto is a federally-funded initiative led by Cybera and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) that helps Grades 5-12 teachers and students in Canada learn data science skills – coding, data visualization and analysis.
“We’re excited to support the Eaton School’s project,” says Dr. Byron Chu, Callysto project manager. “It’s a creative, innovative way to teach students in-demand digital workforce skills, such as coding. We look forward to seeing how students build these skills through automating the greenhouse.”
Automation as an industry is growing exponentially right now and giving students exposure to the skills that drive this scope is a vital component of education today. In this proposed activity, Eaton School students in grades 5 and 6 as well as Practical and Applied Arts (PAA) students in grades 7-9 will work together to learn the fundamentals of coding and electricity. They will be able to create an automated greenhouse using a Raspberry Pi single board computer as well as a variety of sensors. In doing so, students will take an in-depth look at how programming languages such as Python can allow computers to communicate with peripheral components to accomplish useful tasks.
This project will be an extension from some of the things we have been doing in Science and PAA classes at Eaton School, which include learning about computational thinking and the basics of coding using block coding programs such as Scratch and Codingville.ca. They will be building on these skills to learn the programming language Python and how Python can be used to control the Raspberry Pi computer and its peripherals. Eventually, they will be creating an automated greenhouse to be used in conjunction with an outdoor classroom. The automated greenhouse will use a variety of sensors to monitor factors such as soil moisture, levels of sunlight, heat and humidity and will respond accordingly when values fall below programmed thresholds. It will perform tasks such as activating a pump to water the soil or engaging an actuator to open a window.
Eaton School would like to thank Callysto, Cybera and PIMS for their generous donation to our project.
Pictured above: The Raspberry Pi and some of the sensors that Eaton School will acquire through the Callysto Technology Award.