CONTESTS, ROBOTS, ELECTRONICS, GAMES, etc . . .
- Arduino www.arduino.cc Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators. excellent tutorial
- Blogs: A great way to express yourself and become more computer savvy is to create a blog (or mini-blog) with free, easy to use blogging platforms and hosts: Kidblog or Blogspot or Wordpress or Tumblr
- Food Intake App for NASA: http://www.topcoder.com/iss/fit/
- Equal Futures App Challenge http://equalfutures.challenge.gov/ This one is over, but an interesting venture. From the White House Council on Women and Girls -- successful apps promote civic education and inspire girls to serve as leaders in our democracy.
- National STEM Video Game Challenge www.stemchallenge.org/about Middle and high school youth are encouraged to submit their original game designs for the opportunity to earn recognition and prizes. Opportunities for mentors to get involved through a new website featuring toolkits resources and curriculum. Goal: to motivate interest in STEM learning among America's youth by tapping into students' natural passion for playing and making video games.
- CSUnplugged www.csunplugged.org is computer science without the computer... a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.
- DIY DIY.org is a new website(for profit, but currently free) for kids with lists of projects to do to earn cool patches. One of the topics, called n00b, presents 7 challenges in elementary computing. Here's the link to the n00b challenges.
- Hummingbird www.hummingbirdkit.com Create your own robots from craft materials, then program them. Cool kit ($199) developed at Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE lab summary from CMU article
- Lego Robotics mindstorms.lego.com
Build robots using special Lego pieces and then program the robot on
your computer and download optically to the NXT "brain" -- expensive
equipment, but lots of opportunity for learning and fun. In the
Minneapolis area, kids can take Lego Robotics classes at Leonardo's Basement, The Works or The Bakken.
- NetLogo website a programmable modeling environment for simulating natural and social phenomena that lets students open simulations and "play" with them, exploring their behavior under various conditions.
- Raspberry Pi www.raspberrypi.org/faqs Can a $35 computer put the fun back into programming? Can it transform coding education for kids? summary
- SketchUp www.sketchup.com/ Not coding, but way-cool software to build and control. With this free 3D modelling software you can design a building, or a video game landscape or program a laser printer to cut two dimensional pieces for your project, or many other applications.