Our Eclipse Diorama

We recently made a made a diorama (3D model) of the Loki Lego Launcher and the solar eclipse at Tech Tales, a program run by the University of Washington, Seattle Public Libraries, and the Pacific Science Center.

Using Scratch, a block programming language, we made the styrofoam moon orbit the Earth on a rotary motor. A light sensor embedded in the Earth checked if the flashlight/sun’s light was blocked by the moon, meaning a solar eclipse occurred, triggered two elements. One was a multicolored LED that changed from red to green signifying an eclipse, and another motor that moved in a semicircle, showing our launcher launching and landing. We learned to program in Scratch in school, so we knew what to do when we needed to make the programs.

We also had a little paper car stuck to a stick, which we connected to a rotary motor. In this way it would look like the car was driving around in a circle. The car was connected to a dial, and when we turned the dial, we could change the speed of the car. The point of having this is to show our road trip by having a map of Yellowstone National Park, and the car driving around it.

A few of the challenges we had in this project included figuring out how to connect the Hummingbird Duo (a type of Arduino computer board) to the computer, because the program has to go through something called the BirdBrain Robot Server, and that kept dropping the connection. Also, it was challenging figuring out how to mount our computer board to our diorama.

It was a lot of fun to make!

 

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