Go hands-on with robotics using everyday materials on STEM Saturdays, coming to Microsoft Stores

The Hacking STEM team is proud to bring STEM Saturdays back to Microsoft Stores for the months of April and May. STEM Saturdays offer free drop-in sessions that give people a chance to engage in fun and hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math projects, hosted by their local Microsoft Store.

This month’s STEM Saturdays will celebrate engineering and design skills, with participants building a sensor finger that controls a robotic finger. First, participants build a sensor using everyday materials like cardboard and copper tape. Next, they connect the sensor to control a robotic finger and measure real-time flexion and extension, displayed in Excel.

This learning by doing activity is a part of our Building Machines that Emulate Humans lesson plan in which students build robotic models from cardboard and straws to understand the anatomy and biomechanics of the human hand. Next, they conduct trials to visualize data in Excel and generate new ideas for improving its performance. This lesson plan celebrates real-world scenarios in which scientists and engineers build tools that allow surgeons to perform remotely controlled surgeries, or enable astronauts to control rovers in space.

Find your nearest Microsoft Store for more information about STEM Saturday events taking place throughout April and May. Anyone, including teachers, students, and parents, can attend STEM Saturdays or the entire range of free programs hosted by Microsoft Store year-round. Our goal is to empower youth by providing direct access to technology and hands-on learning.

 

What is Hacking STEM?

 

At Hacking STEM, our mission is to democratize STEM education by removing the economic barriers to entry. Through our website (aka.ms/hackingstem), we are helping educators build devices – made from inexpensive, everyday objects like drinking straws and paper cups – that can study phenomena. When connected to a microcontroller, these projects stream and visualize real-time data into customized Excel worksheets.

We have published eight complete lesson plans on our website, ranging from building anemometers, to tuned mass dampers, to robotic hands. These free, inquiry-based, middle school lesson plans tuck mechanical, electrical and software engineering into each project, and bring data science to life through a set of interdisciplinary, standards-aligned lesson plans. They are written in collaboration with teachers, for teachers.

Please check our Hacking STEM website for more.