Here is a link to the PowerPoint slide set used for our presentation to the Summer 2016 Washington ACTE conference.

Lesson 11 has been updated to be about standard servos instead of continuous rotation servos.

When the lessons for this website were first written we used continuous rotation servos to power a rolling robot. This robot is the integrating activity for the first semester of the class we teach.

So, Standard Servo Top Viewnaturally Lesson 11, Servos and Helper Methods was written to teach how continuous rotation servos work, and how to control them through an Arduino sketch.

Later, to improve the performance of the robot and to expand the class content these servos were replaced by brushed motors. With this came the opportunity to add content about the H-bridge and the management of electro-magnetic noise.

This year in our class we have added aircraft in the form of a simple airplane based on the design favored by Brookyn Standard ServoAerodrome. and the quadcopter. The airplane is controlled by a pair of standard servos, each connected to an aileron. Moved together they control the craft's pitch while independent movement controls roll.

The problem is, the programming of standard servos is similar to that of continuous rotation servos, but not identical. For this reason we have re-written Lesson 11. In it we have kept the content about helper methods but changed just about everything else.

The old Lesson 11 will reappear soon as "retired".



CTE Logo Washington

It's no secret that a major goal for us with this website and the class we teach is to connect studentsto Career Pathways, as defined by the STEM Career Clusters. Here in Washington State information about Career Clusters and associated Pathways may be found on the website of our Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Of particular interest is how we connect kinesthetic learners and concrete thinkers to these careers. This is important because job opportunities for these students has been shrinking for many years. Systems such as automotive ignitions, hydraulics in aircraft, home heating and air conditioning, metal working, and manufacturing now all have at their centers small computers.


A kinesthetic learner can be given a mechanical part, such as a car distributer, and he or she can figure out how it works just by inspection and some thinking. But a computer cannot be understood this way. It's just a box with wires going to it. What is connected may be visible but what it does is totally opaque.


This past June and July we offered an intensive, 3-week version of our basic class, lessons 1 through 18. This was through the Washington Network for Innovative Careers (WaNIC). Attending were about 60 high school students, earning at their choice either science or career credit. As is usual the final assessment was the requirement to significantly enhance their rolling robots to make it excel at robot soccer, robot sumo, or robot rally. An enhancement must be both something tangible and accompanied by enabling Arduino code. Students had access to a laser cutter and a 3D printer. For the first time we also awarded points for aesthetic enhancement. To our surprise and pleasure the students rose to the challenge. Here are a few of the final robot bodies. We care about this because we are considering adding aesthetic design to an engineering pathway for our school. This is still a long way from product design but it is an encouraging start.

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The material on this website has been used many times to teach computer science and engineering concepts and skills to high school students. But what about teaching similar material to a continuing education or college class?

Certainly content overlap between high school and college is common. Examples are chemistry, physics, calculus, and all the College Board’s Advanced Placement classes.

But college expectations and student capabilities are different. For this reason, in the next few weeks we will be adding material specifically for college-level students. As with all material on this website, this new content will be consistent with both the spirit of Career and Technical Education with the intent that any college-level use will fit comfortably as a step on Computer Science and on Engineering pathways.