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How to invest in middle school tech survey course products?
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How to invest in middle school tech survey course products?

by VDub46 on Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:21 pm

I have a very unique challenge that I need some expert advice approaching. As a result of some media exposure we were given last year with a 3D printing-related project, I have had some amazing equipment placed in my middle school STEAM lab to teach budding innovators to reach their own particular flavors of awesomeness. The new stuff is awesome, but goes way beyond my knowledge base and I'm crawling through the learning process on much of it. I have a couple nice 3D printers, a Dobot Magician, a Farmbot, TETRIX robot kits, and 2 sewing/embroidery machines. We have about 15 individual computer stations in the room as well as lots of open floor space.

In addition to the big equipment, I've also been given a budget to add in even more options for small scale electronics applications. This is where you folks come in. I want to give my students the ability to work on a variety of small group projects that would harness the power of Adafruit's unique product offerings that can -- but don't have to -- utilize the equipment listed above. I have a startup budget of $1000-$1500 to invest in Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, Circuit Playground, etc. (with a consumables budget in the future), but I'm at a point of information overload on what would be a sensible investment in small scale projects in circuitry, electronics, programming, e-textiles, and the like. I don't have a ton of money, but this small amount, invested wisely, could lead to a lot bigger investment in time, curriculum, and project offerings in the future. I just don't want to throw money away on something that is unlikely to pay off in my setting.

In other words, if you folks had your choice of what to put in front of groups of 2-4 middle school kids at a time that would give them a wide variety of creative high tech STEAM applications, where would you start? I'd like to have some projects that go home with the kids when possible, but will hold onto the more expensive stuff, of course.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate any feedback you might have.

VDub46
 
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.