The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center’s Maker Group has received a one year, $13,195 grant from the Raspberry Pi Foundation to engage local educators in the St. Louis region to develop an educational package that introduces students to electronics, plant science and computing.
A portion of the funds will support the Danforth Center Maker Group’s first community event, St. Louis Raspberry Pi Jam, to be held on Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 1 P.M. – 5 P.M. The event is free and open to all ages, families and educators and will include demonstrations and activities to explore the use of Raspberry Pi microcomputers to construct low-cost hardware and software engineering tools and other maker projects for plant science and beyond.
The Maker Movement is a growing trend with a global community of hobbyist and professional inventors, designers, engineers, artists, programmers, and tinkerers. Maker spaces are popping up across the country in libraries, museums, community centers, and schools—giving people of all ages access to mentorship, programs and tools like 3-D printers and scanners, laser cutters, microcontrollers and design software.
The Danforth Center’s Maker Group was founded in 2013 as a forum for all members of the Center to explore constructing low-cost hardware and software engineering tools. The Group focuses on supporting projects that will directly benefit a wide range of research at the Center but will also help connect the local maker community. By promoting custom engineering projects at the Center, the Maker Group serves as a significant source of cross discipline training to the postdocs, graduate students, undergraduates, technicians and staff.
“Many educators in our area are finding new ways to incorporate educational hardware into their curriculum. This grant will assist our goal of demonstrating how low-cost computers can be used for hands-on education,” explained the Center’s Maker Group cofounder, Malia Gehan, Ph.D. “We will leverage input from educators with our combined expertise in computing and plant science to develop lessons for Raspberry Pi-based kits that promote the integration of computing in STEM fields through inquiry-based and active learning.”