Week 1 Power of Sensors Go back ◀

Within this module we will be talking about sports and technology. Some of the activities within this module involve using sensors. Oftentimes when people think about sensors they think about robots. We want to start by helping you all think about sensors a little differently. Please take a few minutes to watch this clip from a movie you might recognize.

Spiderman Video

There is a lot happening in this video. In terms of the storyline Miles Morales meets Peter Parker for the first time, and sadly watches as Peter Parker is defeated by Kingpin. But when Miles and Peter meet, they both realize that they have Spidey Sense, the ability to sense when danger is approaching. This is a pretty cool sensor. So, robots are not the only things that have sensors. Miles and Peter also have a special sensor for danger.

But there is more here to think about. People also have a kind of spidey sense. Have you ever done something you weren't supposed to and started feeling nervous? Or gotten a bad feeling before you have to make a big presentation or talk in front of an unfamiliar crowd? These are ways that our bodies are programmed to try to prepare us for tough situations and help us avoid things that might put us in danger.

And there's one more thing to point out. How did you know that Peter and Miles had Spidey Sense?

Right, you used your own senses to see, hear, and, maybe, feel what was happening in the different scenes.

So while superheroes and robots use sensors, humans are also full of different kinds of sensors. These senses help us navigate and explore the world around us. They also help us experience different contexts. To explore this some, we have a couple of activities for you to complete.


Activity 1:

The first one is a game that you can play with a family member or friend. You will want access to a smartphone, iPad or computer where you can record a video of yourself. Think of three short phrases, one that is funny, one that is serious, and one that you read from a favorite book. You will record seperate videos of yourself saying each one of these phrases. An example phrase might be 'I like worms in my ice cream' or 'they all lived happily ever after'

Once you have recorded the phrase, turn the sound all the way down so you cannot hear anything. This is what you will show your friend or family member and have them try to guess what you said in each video. You can play each one for them multiple times.

After they have tried all three, let them hear the videos with the sound, and ask them what they were paying attention to when they watched the video. Write how this went in your journal.


Activity 2:

While we often think about verbal communication as just being about our mouths and our ears, we can also interpret what people are saying using our eyes. But that is not the only way. Researchers are developing new technologies that can potentially enhance our existing human senses. Take a look at this video to get a sense of one of these ideas.

This kind of technology has a long way to go before it becomes available for everyday consumers, but it is a neat example of how complex and sophisticated our bodies are, and the ways that using technology might give our bodies additional superpowers. In your journal reflect on whether you might want a technology like this. Add what excites you and also what questions you have about this technology.

Next time you think about sensors, remember that you are full of sensors, and that those sensors help you day in a day out to do amazing things.

So to get started with microbit, let's open our kits. Inside you'll find a small electronic device, a battery holder, some batteries, and micro-usb cable.

We can set the battery holder and batteries aside for a moment and start looking at the Microbit and the micro-usb cable.

If you are using your iPad, you won't need the microusb cable. Instead we'll connect wirelessly with Bluetooth.

You can either follow the video, or the text-based instructions below.

1. Go to https://microbit.org/get-started/user-guide/mobile/ and download the app

2. Click on “Choose micro:bit” Tab from the home page.

3. Click on “Pair a new microbit” tab

4. Follow the pairing instructions.

Technology used: Computer (laptop, chromebook, tablet, smartphone)

Our bodies are equipped with lots of useful sensors. There also are lots of sensors in the world around us that we might interact with on a regular basis. Take a look at this video to get some ideas on common places where people might find sensors.

As you go through this upcoming week look around for different technological sensors that you might encounter on a daily basis. You might start by walking around your neighborhood, your home, or a specific room in your home, like the kitchen. Invite someone else that you know (friend/family member) to participate in this activity with you. Write down or draw some ideas of objects with sensors in your Data in Motion Journal. When you write down the different devices, try to think about how that sensor works, and whether or not the sensor is trying to emulate something that human bodies can sense. Do not worry about making sure everything is explained perfectly.

In your Data in Motion Journal, respond to the following prompts: