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Controlling the World

Harcourt, Bill
Issue Date: 
Monday, July 26, 2010
“Controlling The World”: Part 1, is a grade 10 interface project involving several units of the TEE20 curriculum. It could be used as a final or summative project. It includes designing and making an interface device (designing a circuit, making a circuit board {etching/routing}, making a ‘D’ shell connector for connecting to a parallel port, soldering components to the board, programming to control the device through the parallel port and reporting on the results. It is possible to do this project a number of different ways (including no etching, little or no soldering) but the resources required for the version provided here include: copper board (and a means to either etch or CNC router it), 8 to 16 LEDs (5 mm recommended, one or two per data line), 240 to 300 ohm resistors (100 ohm if you are running 2 LEDs on a line), 9 solid core wires (small guage, 12 to 16 inches in length, old Cat 5 network cables are perfect), D-sub/D-shell 25 pin connector (any electronics shop), 9 pins for the D-shell connector (for connecting the 9 wires to it, electronics shop), a crimping tool for crimping the pins onto the wires and then a computer with programming software on it that will let you control the data lines of the parallel port. There are resources, a rubric and an evaluation list that help students find their way through the project.
interface device, circuit, etching, soldering, rubric, hardware, logic
Other Disciplines: 
electronics, programming, computer engineering
Education Levels: 
Middle School
High School
Intended Audience: 
Instructional Material : Lesson
CEMCS Summer Institute, Toronto, Ont, CA
CSTA Classification: 


Describe how mathematical and statistical functions, sets, and logic are used in computation.


Describe the principal components of computer organization (e.g., input, output, processing, and storage).


Use Application Program Interfaces (APIs) and libraries to facilitate programming solutions.


Discuss the interpretation of binary sequences in a variety of forms (e.g., instructions, numbers, text, sound, image).

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