1. George Barnett
  2. http://iuse.bc.edu
  3. Professor
  4. Strategies: Seeding the Future of STEM researchers through emerging agricultural technologies
  5. http://iuse.bc.edu
  6. Boston College
  1. Christian Asante
  2. PhD Student
  3. Strategies: Seeding the Future of STEM researchers through emerging agricultural technologies
  4. http://iuse.bc.edu
  5. Boston College
  1. Ludovico Cademartiri
  2. http://l.cademartirilab.net/
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Strategies: Seeding the Future of STEM researchers through emerging agricultural technologies
  5. http://iuse.bc.edu
  6. Iowa State University
  1. David Jackson
  2. PhD Student
  3. Strategies: Seeding the Future of STEM researchers through emerging agricultural technologies
  4. http://iuse.bc.edu
  5. Boston College
  1. Rajeev Rupani
  2. http://iuse.bc.edu/
  3. Senior Research Associate
  4. Strategies: Seeding the Future of STEM researchers through emerging agricultural technologies
  5. http://iuse.bc.edu
  6. Boston College
  1. Ben Shapiro
  2. https://www.colorado.edu/cmci/people/information-science/ben-shapiro
  3. Assistant Professor
  4. Strategies: Seeding the Future of STEM researchers through emerging agricultural technologies
  5. http://iuse.bc.edu
  6. University of Colorado Boulder
  1. Helen Zhang
  2. Senior Research Associate
  3. Strategies: Seeding the Future of STEM researchers through emerging agricultural technologies
  4. http://iuse.bc.edu
  5. Boston College
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: George Barnett

    George Barnett

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2019 | 02:54 p.m.

    In this project we working with teachers and youth to design trans-disciplinary learning experiences where youth are applying concepts from physics, chemistry, biology, and computer science to better understand how to do scientific research.   We are specifically targeting teachers (for the in-school portion of this work) and working closely with under-represented groups who have little or no experience in coding and developing support materials to help them to better understand the role that coding plays in the conduct of scientific reserach.

    Central much of our work is that it is grounded in a social justice framework (for example our other project (https://stemforall2019.videohall.com/presentations/1645) which focuses on food justice is naturally grounded in social justice and deeply integrated into the community where youth work and live.  This project we have focused on working with youth and embedded in the materials opportunities for youth to see that they need to have a place at the computational science table given how easy it is for programmers to build into their algorithms biases that can negatively impact low income communities and people of color.  To that end, despite the tremendous value of engaging youth in a truly trans-disciplinary project (and that they can do the same work as graduate students), we are still trying to understand how to best frame the needed conversations around justice-centered computation as it pertains this specific work.

  • Icon for: Judith D TRYTTEN

    Judith D TRYTTEN

    May 15, 2019 | 02:04 p.m.

    Very much enjoyed your video.  This is another exciting project.

  • Icon for: Joseph Kern

    Joseph Kern

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 12:54 a.m.

    I really like the research aspect you use as a motivation to learn physical programming.  It becomes a tool that students need in order to get the data to make the right decisions for their plants.  Our project (Agricultural Applications of Computer Science) has a lot of similarities to your approach.  We started with Arduino input/output challenges for the first year of piloting but are adding Raspberry IoT components at a summer training for our next round.  I am very curious to learn more about your R-Pi content and what sort of training/resources you have developed for teacher support.

  • Icon for: George Barnett

    George Barnett

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 06:43 p.m.

    Nice,  we so far have avoided Auduino's for the steeper learning curve and have settled on wiolinks that do not require any breadboarding or things like that (take a peek here:  https://growthings.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html).  We are about to launch this with close to 800 students starting on Thursday based on an initial pilot.  Our fantastic partner on this project Ben Shapiro is working with Raspberry Pi and creating more sophisticated data tools that we can work with teachers who have no coding experience.  

    I can send a link to a dropbox folder in about a week where the revised curriculum materials are being housed.  We are still in writing/revision mode right now for that above said launch.  I will pop over to your video!

  • Icon for: Joseph Kern

    Joseph Kern

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 10:27 p.m.

    Good call on the avoidance of breadboarding.  Electronics have caused as many headaches as programming has.  Some of our pilot teachers are more traditional computer applications teachers (Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) who want to add a bit of programming, and they aren't fans of fiddling with resistors and jumper wires.  For us, in most cases, both skill areas do need to go together to achieve the full outcome of enabling students to create their own automated systems.  But I have been pondering how to bypass some of the electronics with a plug-and-play system that achieves the programming outcomes quicker.  Your tools might do the trick for them, so thanks for the info.  I'll definitely be looking at your materials.

  • Icon for: George Barnett

    George Barnett

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 06:38 a.m.

    Cool.  We should try to find a time to chat to talk about how to figure out how to work together.  A lot of synergies between what you are trying to do and what we are trying do.

  • Icon for: Joseph Kern

    Joseph Kern

    Researcher
    May 14, 2019 | 09:48 a.m.

    Definitely.  I've already had one of our teachers tell me that he was excited to be able to make his own sensors instead of having to buy expensive ones, so the teachers will benefit from what you are doing.  It may give more direction to how they want to implement our modules as well.  

  • Icon for: Ben Shapiro

    Ben Shapiro

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 12:16 p.m.

    Hi Joseph,

     

    I'm Co-PI on the project. In addition to the wiolink boards, we are prototyping with micro:bits. The reason for this is that here in Colorado basically every school has moved to Chromebooks, and we don't have a good way to make wiolinks work with those. 

    Here's an experiment I did over the weekend, with streaming micro:bit-connected sensor data to Google Sheets. I think it has potential! https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1enl78vy...

     

    Ben

  • Icon for: George Barnett

    George Barnett

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 05:48 p.m.

    Yes, that is a signfiicant issue with the wiolinks.  Can't wait for Ben to get those micro:bit links to google sheets looking awesome :).  

  • Icon for: Mary Murphy

    Mary Murphy

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 04:47 p.m.

    Very interesting! In love the integration of science practices with coding.  I have lots of questions.  Did the teachers you worked with have the freedom to leave their curriculum in order to do this project?  Do you have results of whether students made gains in understanding science practices and specific disciplinary concepts?  What kind of foundation knowledge did the student need in order to understand coding and building the sensors?  Were students able to apply ideas to growing food?  I would love to know where you observed significant gains.

  • Icon for: George Barnett

    George Barnett

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 06:50 p.m.

    Cool  In terms of curriculum, mostly.  some teachers are squeezing it in.  Others only will do it post testing season.  One teacher is so excited and her school got excited that she is creating a full semester long course around the many and varied research projects one can explore.  

    We do around practices.  What is a really interesting and challenging design problem is that we are targeting teachers who do not have any experience with coding (or very little).  In the very initial pilot we found it was difficult for students and their teachers to really blend them well.  So teachers would either focus on the coding or the plants.  Those lessons learned led to a wonderful re-design of the work.  What we say mostly is that students were engaged in what would mostly be considered "engineering" related practices.  But we are striving for youth to see how coding is just a part of doing science and that it can help one ask better questions.  

    We are using grove sensors (https://growthings.readthedocs.io/en/latest/index.html) and a fantastic student (Paul Xu) who worked on this project built a fantastic set of libraries that reduce the complexity of the coding. 



    Not yet on the food, however, we have another project that this project serves as a feeder (or so we hope):

    Changemakers: Food Justice  that also has a video.  That one is much more focused on food issues.

  • Icon for: Helen Zhang

    Helen Zhang

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 08:03 p.m.

    Mary, thanks for the great questions! Our curriculum is module-based, which offers flexibility to teachers to integrate it into their curriculum. Some of our partner teachers spend one or two days every week on this curriculum. This would allow adequate time for plants to grow and the sensors to collect data for students' scientific research. 

    We don't have results of whether students made gains in understanding science practices and concepts yet as we are in Year 1 of the project. As Mike mentioned in an earlier post, we are going to run the project with approximately 800 students starting this Thursday. The teachers are excited to spend three weeks on it. We will have results on student gains after this May!

    Coding in this project is very easy and simple, thanks for the set of micropython libraries Paul created. Most of the sensors can be programmed using a few lines of code. The curriculum engages students in the use-modify-create progression where students are first given the code and learn to interpret it. They then learn to modify and ultimately create the code to answer their own scientific research questions. 

  • Icon for: David Campbell

    David Campbell

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 05:30 p.m.

    I'd love to see what these students will be doing five years from now.  Will they pursue careers in CS, agriculture, marketing, hydroponics, etc?  I hope you have a way of following them after they complete their projects.

  • Icon for: George Barnett

    George Barnett

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 06:40 p.m.

    Some of them we will be.  We won't be able to follow all of them as carefully as we do in our pathway program that we have at Boston College but those students we track.  I'm curious as well as we specifically focus on recruiting youth who aren't particularly interested in science in that program but over time and exposure to different types of sciences they find an interest.  This is why I really like this project, there is a bit of all kinds of science from plants, to physics, to coding... as I don't know how you as a kid or anyone, gets interested in something if you are not exposed to it.

     

  • Small default profile

    Zina Hodge

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 14, 2019 | 08:52 a.m.

    Awesome work, keep it up!

  • May 14, 2019 | 01:18 p.m.

    Really interesting synthesis of wet lab work, inquiry/active learning, and coding. Two things. First, is there somewhere we could learn more about making your transparent soil? It would be a great add-on to one of our existing project. Second, are students collecting their data and archiving it, or only recording observations directly?

  • Icon for: George Barnett

    George Barnett

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 05:49 p.m.

    Yes, I will post a link to a dropbox of the protocols for making the soil both by our wonderful partner Ludo at Iowa State and our fantastic Ph.D. students and one that one of our partner teachers developed.

  • Icon for: George Barnett

    George Barnett

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 05:50 p.m.

    Chris Asante, below is our lead on the making of the transparent soil below (so feel free to nag him :)).  

  • Icon for: Jacob Grohs

    Jacob Grohs

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 05:37 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing!  I really like how you've integrated the making of the transparent soil, building of the greenhouse, and sensors and monitoring all combined.  As teachers and students have done this work, which aspects seem most engaging or resonate most with folks?  Which aspects seem to require the most scaffolding or is there more resistance to?

  • Icon for: George Barnett

    George Barnett

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 07:09 p.m.

    So far it is definitely the coding aspects.  The science teachers have no real conceptual challenges with the transparent soil.  The students also seem to get the conceptual foundation of the transparent soil pretty well.  It is the coding aspects.  Though there has been nearly no resistance from any teacher as they have all been *really* excited to test it in their classrooms.  In fact, we about to launch the next pilot with 700 students tomorrow!

     

  • Icon for: Christian Asante

    Christian Asante

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 10:55 a.m.

    Thank you for your kind words and interest. Yes, we have developed curriculum materials and protocol for making transparent soil.  Based on recommendations by Prof Barnett, I would be happy to correspond in that regard.  

  • Small default profile

    Poonam Rupani

    Parent
    May 17, 2019 | 06:47 a.m.

    Super environmental work being done. All the best to the whole team. P

  • Icon for: Ed Geary

    Ed Geary

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 20, 2019 | 12:44 p.m.

    This is a very interesting project... with potential applications to STEM teacher preparation. We would be quite interested in your thoughts on how CS activities and resources can be effectively integrated into our current Mathematics and Science Education programs, to help preservice students experience cross-disciplinary learning and teaching.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.