One of the stories from our schools is a story about students from elementary school "Matija Gubec" from Donji Tavankut who at the end of November in Zrenjanin won the third competition in programming on the micro: bit devices.
Students Ognjen Berberovic and Stefan Saulic made a winning project called Clone of the Gupce's Linden - phenological meteorological measurements.We talked to students about their project, micro: bit computers and plans for the future. Here's what they told us:
What did you think when you first saw the micro: bit computer and did you know what can be done with it?
Last year, in the second semester, the teacher of engineering and technology showed us the micro: bit for the first time. He told us about micro: bit – that it is sort of a small computer, that it has sensors built in to measure temperature and light, an accelerometer sensor, a compass, that we can communicate with it wirelessly and that it can be programmed to perform certain tasks. We wondered, can such a small device do all this? We had no idea what could be done with it. We signed up for the Programming Club section organized by the teacher and slowly discovered the possibilities of the micro: bit.
How long did it take to master the use of micro: bit?
In our programming classes, we already learned Scratch and Python, so we had some prior knowledge of the block programming on which MakeCode is based. And through the tasks we had in the programming section, we slowly began to relate programming to the capabilities of micro: bit to communicate with our environment through sensors. The more demanding the tasks, the more we learned, but we cannot say that we have completely mastered the use of micro: bit. There is much more to learn.
Can you tell us something about your project and how long it took you to get it ready?
We designed the project to accelerate and automate the phenological and meteorological measurements that students were required to take in biology classes to track the growth of the Gupce’s linden clone. The project consisted of designing a mini phenological-meteorological station, as we felt that we could make the most of the sensory capabilities of the micro: bit device. We started work on the project at the end of May 2019, with a break during the summer, continued at the beginning of the new school year in September and finished the project in early November. Although we cannot say that the project has been entirely completed, we plan to extend the existing seven measuring sizes by four more. So, with a total of eleven measuring sizes, we would fully cover all phenological and meteorological measurements.
What is Gupce’s Linden Clone?
Our school is the only one in the Republic of Serbia named after the famous peasant rebel leader. A living archive of Gupce’s linden was established in the native village of Matija Gubec to preserve the gene pool of Gupce’s linden tree. The establishment was preceded by the cultivation of rootstocks, two-year linden seedlings, grafting, and cloning. The school has already renewed its cooperation with all schools named Matija Gubec in the Republic of Croatia, and the Croatian Forestry Institute Jastrebarsko has donated one clone of Gupce’s linden to each school with that name. So, in 2010, our school planted a clone of Gupce’s linden in the atrium, for which we have a certificate of origin.
Where does the need to program phenological meteorological measurements come from? What problem did you solve?
It is the responsibility of all schools that have been donated the Gupce’s linden clone to monitor the increase of linden through phenological measurements, the impact of weather on growth through meteorological measurements, and to exchange the results obtained for comparison. At school, the measurements were made by students with the support of a biology teacher, and consisted of measurements by standard methods manually. The measurements were uneven and often imprecise, which is why we needed to solve this problem by speeding it up and automating it.
How did micro: bit devices help you?
We used a total of eight micro: bit devices for the project. Seven of them were used to collect environmental data using sensors - air temperature, soil temperature, and humidity, light, rainfall, wind speed, and direction, while the eighth micro: bit collected the data obtained from them and displayed them on a computer as a diagram. The collected data can later be tabulated and forwarded to other schools for comparison.
What conclusions have you reached?
We learned a lot about designing a project, solving sensor-gathering problems, making parts of the project manually or using a 3D school printer ... It's good that the school is better equipped, the technology is advancing, and the school needs to keep track of that progress, and we are more interested in working when teachers use such interesting devices as micro: bit.
Are you planning a new project?
Work on the new project is already underway. We are currently assisting our friend in designing a project that is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, namely Global Objectives 14 (Life bellow water) and 15 (Life on land), to register on time for the Do Your: Bit competition organized by BBC micro: bit. The competition is open until 2/28/2018 and maybe we'll join. The idea is the basis of everything.
How did your classmates greet you after the competition?
The friends congratulated us and were happy about our success. Maybe others, encouraged by us, will design their project next year