Build a Windmill

I made this WindMill using MicroDuino’s 8 in 1 Itty bitty city, mCookie kit. The motor is activated when the microphone hears a noise. Then the motor turns the windmill blades.

Uses of windmills : Windmills convert kinetic energy from wind into mechanical power, which in turn can be used for pumping water, or a generator can further convert it into electricity.

Old Windmills
modern windmills

Every time I see a Windmill, it reminds me of Cervantes’ Don Quixote fighting a windmill thinking it is a giant!

Sorting is fun!

Organizing stuff would be the last thing I wanted to do. My house was always a mess since I would be very busy at work. I took a year off after having my son, & decided to stay home with him. That is when I started to find more time to take care of my house, and put things where they actually belong. I started noticing the beauty of symmetry.

When I started working as a STEM instructor, part of my job was to organize the STEM toys after everyone was done working with them. And I realized how quickly I would be able to put them away. This came from the practice of organizing my son’s toys & things at home!

Now I find it oddly comforting to put away the Legos and puzzles in their respective boxes.

At the end of the day, after completing each build, it is essential to put away the parts properly so that the day after I can find the parts needed for my next project. And I try to instill this habit in my students too. Not only it makes my work easier but they also get to learn an important lesson, of taking care of their study materials.

What are you sorting today ?

Build a Piggy-Bank

Have you ever thought why we call a Piggy bank as such?

During middle ages, people used some thing called “Pygg pots” which was made of orange colored clay to store money. It looked something like the image below. And gradually the name changed to Pig Pots / Pig banks.

Pygg Pots of middle ages

While I grew up, my Piggy bank looked like this. The only way to get money out of it was to break it. Sometimes we would make DIY ones as well. We would take an empty talcum powder box and make a slit through it with something sharp. The money would be a little more accessible then to spend towards candies!

Indian Piggy banks

Now a days we get way cooler ones which are shaped like pigs in various pretty colors.

I decided to upgrade my son’s piggy bank to something waaaay cooler ! His is made of Legos.

Itty bitty city Piggy Bank

Not only it is made of colorful legos, but it also flashes light & plays music when a coin is dropped. I used mCookie’s 8 in 1 itty bitty city to make it.

Circuit inside the Piggy Bank

What are you upgrading today ?

Building a Lighthouse

Point Reyes Lighthouse

We as a family love to take road trips. This weekend we decided to go see the Point Reyes Lighthouse. My husband told my almost 4-year old, we are going to see a light house. His excitement knew no bounds. I asked my boy, so what is a lighthouse ? He took a moment and said, a house that has light ? Seems like a perfect answer yeah ! He is a curious boy and has an appetite to learn, so I started looking for ways to show him an hands-on example of a lighthouse.

Itty Bitty city (8in1) from mCookie(Microduino) came to my rescue. I installed the Microduino IDE on my mac & followed the steps written in the booklet to build the Lighthouse project.

I made a light house for my boy to look at it. I used the remote to change colors & the whole experience was pretty exciting for him.

I love that this kit helps us to see how things we use/see in our daily life actually work.

The next day we drove to Point Reyes, but it was closed off due to the on-going restoration project. But at least we got to see the circuit version of it working at home!

Build a Catapult

I built this Catapult using Microduino mPie 7 in 1 kit.

Parts needed:

On the board put together the pieces as shown in the picture below. The first yellow piece is the Power, next is button, then timeout, Slide dimmer & Servo at the end.

Attach the Catapult arm to the servo with help of a rubber band.

Attach the above part onto the black block and connect the wires to the servo block.

Complete the catapult parts with help of the cardboard pieces. Slide the switch of the slide dimmer to move the catapult.

Congratulations! you just built a Catapult.

Build a Desk Lamp

I build this Desk Lamp using the 12 in 1 Microduino mPuzzle kit.

Learning Objective: Like turning a knob on a water facet, sliding the switch back and forth changes how much power it lets though, changing the brightness of the bulb.

Parts needed:

Steps to build the Desk Lamp:

  1. Place one 3-point wire component & bulb on the board as shown in the picture below.

2. Place two 1-point wire components, & the sliding switch on top of the pieces from step 1 as shown below.

3. Add the graphic panel & the battery.

4. Flip the switch to the “ON” position.

Congratulations! You just built a Desk Lamp.

Build a Solar controlled Light

I build this Solar light using the 12 in 1 Microduino mPuzzle kit. Solar Energy is a type of renewable energy, which means the energy is collected from a source that can be replenished on a human time scale.

Learning Objective: A light sensor is a kind of switch that can help turn things on & off. When there is light, the circuit is on, when there is no light the circuit is off.

Parts needed:

Steps to build the Solar controlled Light:

  1. Place the NPN, two 1-point wire components & one 3-point wire component on the board as shown.

2. Place two 1-point wire components on the top and bottom most part of the left most 3-point wire component. put one 2-point wire component on the bottom of the NPN circuit across the 1-point wire component. Put the light sensor in the middle and the yellow LED on the top part of the npn circuit.

3. Add the graphic panel & the battery. Place one 2-point wire component on the left most side as shown in the picture.

4. Turn the switch to “ON” position & block the light from the light sensor in the middle. The light turns off.

Congratulations! You just build a Solar controlled light.

Build a Magnet Detector

I build this Magnet detector using the 12 in 1 Microduino mPuzzle kit.

Learning Objective:

A magnet has attracts to another magnet if the opposite poles are brought together & repels when same poles are together. This is called magnetic force. When the magnet is moved closer to the magnetic switch , the magnet pulls on the switch with magnetic force.

Parts needed:

Steps to build the Magnet detector:

  1. Place one 3-point wire component & the buzzer on the board.

2. Place the magnetic switch across the top and the two 1-point wire components on the bottom as shown below.

3. Place the graphic panel first & the place the battery across the bottom.

4. Place a magnet near the magnetic switch, and the buzzer will make noise.

5. Congratulations! You just build a Magnet detector.

Build a Solar Fan

I build this Solar Fan using the 12 in 1 Microduino mPuzzle kit. Solar Energy is a type of renewable energy, which means the energy is collected from a source that can be replenished on a human time scale.

Learning Objective: A light sensor is a kind of switch that can help turn things on & off. When there is light, the circuit is on, when there is no light the circuit is off.

Parts needed:

Steps to build the Solar Fan:

  1. Place the NPN, two 1-point wire components & one 3-point wire component on the board as shown.

2. Place two 1-point wire components on the top and bottom most part of the left most 3-point wire component. put one 2-point wire component on the bottom of the NPN circuit across the 1-point wire component. Put the light sensor in the middle and the motor on the top part of the npn circuit.

3. Add the graphic panel & the battery. Place one 2-point wire component on the left most side as shown in the picture. Add the fan on top of the motor .

4. Turn the switch on the battery. The fan starts moving. Cover the light sensor and the fan stops moving. Because when there is light the circuit is on.

Congratulations! You just build a Solar fan.

Build a Stop Light

I was driving today, and the light turned yellow. I hit the accelerator and my 3 year old retorted from the backseat, mama, go slow! So I told him, I am sorry and to make up for it, we can go home and build a Stop Light.

Learning Objective: In this project you learn about LED, which is a Light Emitting Diode. It emits light when current is applied to its leads, releasing energy in form of photons.

Completed Circuit of a Stop Light

Parts needed:

Steps to build the Light:

  1. Place two 4-point wire & two 1-point wire components on the board.

2. Place the red, yellow & green LED and two 2-point wire on the board as shown below.

3. Add the graphic panel and battery. Then flip the switch on the battery to “ON” position.

4. Congratulations! you just built a Stop Light.

So, did you slow down at the yellow light today ? 🙂 Let me know in the comments!