Pondering Bird Boxes and monitoring

It seems most of my recent posts have begun with an apology for not having written for sometime, or presented themselves as "false starts".  The last year has seen my output diminish considerably, not because I have nothing to say, or share or because I have ceased working with young people,  but rather the steep personal professional learning curve presented by new challenges.  Working cross curricularly with older students has required more time focussing on the day to day, learning to adapt to life in a secondary classroom. But hey!
The Summer is here, and its time to unwind, reflect, review, refocus and reconnect.

To start the ball rolling I thought I'd share the Bird Box design created by a group of Phase 3 students for me during STEM Week.  As members of a small company know only to us as "Avian Abodes" quality "Builders of Bespoke Billets for Birds," the students were challenged to  research available bird box designs, identify and discuss the pros and cons of particular features of bird boxes, construct birdbox kits, identify the types of creatures that might be atrracted to or use their paricular kit, and to present ideas using their prototypes about how the kit might be customised using materials avalable around the home of a prospective customer.

Using ICTs to research and present our ideas and briefs, lead to discussions around how ICT might be included in the design, since several students had encountered camera kits.  They were stunned by the cost, especially when we discovered the cost of building our box was around £3.  One kit the students found including camera, and not disimilar to our own came to around £180, "thats way too dear," came one chirpy response. "What does it cost without the camera?" I asked.  Around £60 was the reply.  We couldn't identify how the box differed so enormously as to warrant this, and began wondering whether we could adapt our boxes, to use cheaper WebCams?  How would we install them so that we wouldn't disturb the nesting birds and how would/could we establish a link between the box and a computer? Where would we need to site the box?  How could we site the box to enable this? I really enjoyed the conversation, largely because it began engaging the students naturally with functional skills, as they created a possible new purpose for the kit, identified by them the audience.  No conclusions were drawn from this but it was exciting to hear discussions as they began thinking outside of the box.  The idea didn't fade, like so many often do, and periodically raised its head thoroughout the day.  The opportunity to talk about monitoring systems, came and went, though I thought about a call out on Twitter. This is blocked in school, mentioning this as a shame, we again wended off the track, puns were raised about broadband links and how our feathered friends might atually like the opportunity to tweat with their mates...  A half hour or so later and this bespoke billet of a slightly different kind appeared from beneath the pen of a group of Y7s, A bespoke twitter box for tweat clients of a different kind, and especially presented for a Geaky Teach to surf among his feathered friends.

Just pondering the possible mileage in considering how this discussion might be extended into a control and monitoring project for phase 3 any thoughts gratefully received :o)

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