Minecraft Level 3: Programming Turtles


Skill Level: Level 3

Badges Earned: Minecraft Level 3

Description: Level 1 & 2 barely scratch the surface on what is possible with Minecraft. In level 3 you will explore Minecraft Computer Science capabilities using the ComputerCraftEdu Mod.

Background Info: ComputerCraftEdu expands on ComputerCraft adding a Beginner’s Turtle which is simpler to use.

Installing the Mod:

What are Turtles: Check out the trailer below for an introduction to these little robots. Think of them as Spheros for Minecraft!

Programming the Turtles: Click here to view a tutorial series on Beginner Turtles.

NOTE: On video 5 “Taking It Further”, the video mentions the coding editor. This is a preferred method for the more advanced coders as it can be faster to type commands than drag and drop. If it sparks your interest and you want to experience what “real” coding is, you can find a reference of commands available (API – application program interface) by clicking here.

What’s it going to be?

Your job is to brainstorm and find innovative ways to solve a problem using Turtles. As a starting point, think of how we use robots in the real world to solve problems. Then share it! Create a YouTube Screencast of your demo, using Screencastify for Chrome.

As Always, Fill Out a Challenge Proposal

Ideas:  Think outside the box. Who is your audience? Has anyone done this before? If so, how is your idea different? Could this be a service learning project or idea?

Some tips along the way: Take pictures of your final project, and get an instructor to visually check out your project, if you can. Create a video “demo video” of all of your projects. Why? They can be used as evidence of completion. One demo video can be enough evidence to receive numerous badges. Only needs to be about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Earn Your Badges:  When you’re done, earn your badge!


Minecraft Level 3 Badge

Virtual Reality: Create a Virtual Room Using Blender

Image via Wikimedia
Image via Wikimedia

Skill Level: Level 3

Badges Earned: Virtual Reality Level 3

Description: Now- big deal here. You’re going to create a 3 dimensional room using Blender, which is available for PC or Mac. Blender is animation program that allows you to create Hollywood-style special effects with 3D. Now- with Google Cardboard- we can export those experiences, upload them to YouTube for viewing in Google Cardboard.

How awesome is that?

Part 1: Get Your Idea ON! Fill Out a Challenge Proposal

So- you need to create a simulated room- what’s it going to be?  And how is it going to solve a problem? How does Virtual Reality solve problems? That’s going to be your question to help you as you create your Challenge proposals.

Fill That Out Now! 

Part 2: Getting Started with Blender

You’ll need a PC or a Mac, and a GREAT idea! Now that your idea is good, start digging in on the Blender Tutorial. You don’t have to go through the whole thing, if you think you’re getting the hang of it.  YouTube also has some great getting started tutorials, if you want to find one of your own.

Getting Started with Blender (link)

Part 3: Create a Room with Blender

There are many tutorials for Blender, and some are going to be way more complicated than others. Here’s a couple of links that will get you started, but keep in mind- they move FAST. Don’t forget to pause, rewind, and ASK question when to have them.

Blender Architecture Tutorials. Use these to help you create your room. Keep it simple.

Create a Never Ending Room in Blender (subway).  This one moves quite fast, but if you pause, you should still be able to follow along. It’s a little more advanced, but the instructor does explain everything very well.

Part 4: Add some basic animation to your room. 

This tutorial shows you how to create a basic moving ball. You can certainly get more creative, but this should give you the knowledge to get moving on an animation of your own. What will it be?

Part 5: Export Your 3D Animation to for YouTube:

Part 6: Upload to the Quest STEAM Channel- and test it out! 

This is what a final Blender Animation looks like in 3D video:

When you have Google Cardboard, you’ll need to get the app:

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.samples.apps.cardboarddemo&hl=en

iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-cardboard/id987962261?mt=8

Some tips along the way: Take pictures of your final project, and get an instructor to visually check out your project, if you can. Always create a “demo video” of all of your projects. Why? They can be used as evidence of completion. One demo video can be enough evidence to receive numerous badges. Only needs to be about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Earn Your Badges:  When you’re done, earn your badge!




Machines and Robotics Level 3: Autonomous Robot


Arduino UNO
Arduino UNO

Skill Level: Level 3

Badges Earned: Machines and Robotics Level 3

Description: Now that you have experience programming a robot to complete a simple task using a couple of sensors, it is literally time to take it to the next level. Your project for level 3 is to create an autonomous navigating robot using and Arduino UNO and multiple sensors. You will complete this level in parts.

Part 1 – Arduino Basic Badge: To help you get familiar with Arduino, watch the tutorial below on how to get your Arduino Basic Badge.



Part 2 – The Coding Environment:  In the tutorial below you will be taking a look at codebender.cc.

Part 3 – Arduino Tutorials: Check out these cool arduino tutorials by Jeremy Blum which will help you understand the arduino better.

Bump switch with wires soldered.
Bump switch with wires soldered.

Part 4 – Building your Bot: Essentially you will be building a robot similar to the one shown in the video below, but with a couple of changes. The robot in the video uses only one sensor which helps it detect something that is in front. You will improve your robot by adding at least 3 bump switches to act as bump sensors so that your robot can “feel” if it is about to crash on its sides or on its back. As for the body, you will design it and have the option to 3D print it or laser cut it.

But before you create anything, fill out a Challenge Proposal.  What spin can you put on this robot that solves a problem?

Some tips along the way: Document and take pictures of your progress. Also, not that you are dealing with several components it is key to trouble shoot each part thoroughly before going on to the next. For example, test your motors and and each sensor individually, before testing the sensors and the motors together.

Earn Your Badges:  When you’re done, earn your badge!






Media Comm. Level 3: The Cell Phone Movie

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Skill Level: Level 3

Badges Earned: Media Communications Level 3

Estimated time to completion: 15-20 classes (two months). 

Description:  If you’ve completed Level 1 and 2, you’ve gone through creating a basic zoetrope or flipbook, you’ve created an animation, using a handful of different kinds of animations programs. Now- it’s time to take storytelling to another level: The Cell Phone Movie. The device on our pockets can be a very powerful tool. I’d like you to take a moment (put on some headphones), and watch this film:

Now- keep in mind- this film did not use a spoken script. It did require a soundtrack. Did it need dialogue to convey a story? Part of the problem with cell phones, is that the audio is horrible for creating movies- so this filmmaker, instead, simply used music and text. It’s a strong message.

Where could you take this idea? Think about that.

As always fill out a challenge proposal. Remember that just like any problem, stories have solved LOTS of problems, so what problem will your story tackle? 

Step 1: Write a story treatment / script. Create a Google Doc, and write a one-paragraph outline of your story. Stories follow dramatic structure. This is dramatic structure. If your movie is going to have dialogue- write a script. There’s a great ADD ON for Google Docs that helps you do this. Create a new Google. I wrote an example script using this tool. It’s fun- you’re a screenwriter now!

Step 2: Create a Storyboard. All great movies take some planning. You can create a storyboard a number of ways. I’ll outline two. Watch this video as I explain a basic storyboard.

A. Storyboard option #1. Use Showme on the iPad. Like what I did above, you can use the Showme app to create your storyboard. Use stick figures, that’s fine, but every storyboard will have:

  1. Dialogue
  2. Basic action or stage direction (what are the characters doing in this scene?)
  3. Possible camera movement
  4. Shot number (every shot of your movie)

B: Storyboard Option #2: Draw your storyboard using this template. Download this template, and print out a few sheets.


Just like above, you’ll need everything from 1-4 on the above list.

STEP 3: Film your video. 

For any video that you’re filming, I suggest using Google Drive to back up your clips. That way you can clear your device and free up storage when you need to. Also- keep in mind- a telltale sign of amateurish video is handheld cameras. Handheld can work as an effect, when it’s necessary, but use a tripod whenever necessary.

That means whatever device you have, you should have the app for iPhone or for Android. Want to use an iPad? That’s okay- but keep in mind- the camera quality is better on the new smaller devices like iPhone or Android.

You’ll need actors!

Depending on your story, you’ll need people. You’ll want to ensure that those people are consistent in the story- so you’ll want to make sure that they wear the same outfits in the same scene. Little mistakes like this can ruin a movie. If you plan things right- perhaps you’ll only need the actor for one day- and this won’t be anything to worry about. The Mankind is No Island movie didn’t have to worry about this because it didn’t use actors in traditional scenes.

4. Assemble your film (edit). Using one of the Macbooks in the classroom, use iMovie to import your video and edit. If you saved it to Google Drive, you’ll have to download all of it. This should be a fine editing tool for this movie. Add Title Cards, credits at the end, and use text overlays where you see fit. Keep in mind- iMovie titles and text are very noticeable to the seasoned media person. If you can use title cards that were made from scratch- or from say Google Drawings- your movie will have a better quality. Also- don’t ever use the iMovie music. If you want music, you can find royalty free music on iTunes. Talk to your instructor.

Notes:  Remember that you want this movie to speak to the largest audience possible. Gear your movie to a wide audience.

Some tips along the way: Upload your final video to a YouTube Channel (like this one).  They can be used as evidence of completion. One demo video can be enough evidence to receive numerous badges. Length needs to be long enough to communicate your idea.

Earn Your Badges:  When you’re done, earn your badge!



Computer Science Level 3: Create a Javascript Interactive


Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 10.20.15 AM

Skill Level: Computer Science Level 3

Badges Earned: CS Level 3

Description: To earn your Computer Science Level 2 badge, you will need to complete one course in Codecademy.com and create an Javascript Interactive. This course is Javascript Basics You can preview the course here. One you’re done, you’ll use Mozilla’s Thimble website to create your choice of a number of Javascript interactives. Upload your evidence of completion for both the course (Codecademy profile link) and link to your thimble project, and you’re done!

[Note: if you already HAVE your Javascript badge- great! All you’ll need to do is go on to Part 2. Woo hoo!

Part 1:

Go to www.codecademy.com, sign up/in with Google, and start your learning adventure- now! Complete the Javascript course- and ask questions along the way. This can be done from anywhere (not just during STEAM time).

Part 2:

Go to https://thimble.mozilla.org/ and sign up (using your Google Account).

Now- choose one of the following fun Javascript interactives to complete:

Back to School Postcard. 

Homework Excuse Generator 

For each of these, to get your instructions, click on the Tutorial tab. It will walk you through each project.

Some tips along the way: Always document your process. Take pictures, screenshots, and video, if you can. Why? We suggest creating a “demo video” of all of your projects. Why? They can be used as evidence of completion. One demo video can be enough evidence to receive numerous badges.

Now go get your badges!

56fb28287e5241079386c7993349ad14_13  9ea0fddcb46418d2355b20fabb691f50_13

Consumer Science Level 3: Create a Manifesto With Vinyl


Skill Level: Level 3

Badges Earned: Consumer Science 3

Description: Almost every company has what is called a mission statement. Quest Academy has one hanging up on a sign in the foyer and also on its website.  Google’s mission is on their About page. More and more, companies are going beyond missions, and creating what is called a Manifesto. Manifestos are culture documents- that encompass many different beliefs by an entire group of people. These manifestos have evolved into works of art. You can google “company manifesto” and get treated to lots of interesting ones. Check out these:

Company Manifestos:

Lululemon: http://www.lululemon.com/about/manifesto 

A Video Manifesto from Acumen: http://acumen.org/manifesto/

Community Manifestos: 

How about a manifesto that represents a community? Like Women Business Owners? Or a group of innovators?

Women in Business Manifesto

The Expert Enough Manifesto

Personal Manifestos:

The Linchpin Manifesto

Holstee Manifesto

Part 1: Get Your Vinyl Cutting Badge 

If you haven’t got your Vinyl Cutter badge- GO HERE and get that badge!

Part 2: Decide on a type

After looking at all the above options, decide whether you’re going to create a personal manifesto, a community manifesto, or a company (or organization) manifesto. If you want to do a Company manifesto- are there some local companies that you could reach out to, to help them create theirs? Family member that has a personal business with a decent customer base?

We recommend creating a community manifesto or one that represents a group. How about one that represents “young women of the future” or “innovative kids.”

Part 3: Create a Survey

If you decide to go a Community, Group, or Company manifesto- create a Google form survey with three fill in the blank questions. Example question:

What is one word you would use to describe Quest students? ________________

You can then use those survey quotes and one word responses to create a Manifesto Graphic like above. If you make a community or group manifesto – you absolutely have to get words and belief statements from the groups you’re representing. For

Part 4: Create Your Vector Graphic. 

Before we dive into a graphics program, let’s make sure we know what vector art is:

Using Adobe Illustrator on a PC, Pixlr, Google Drawings or Corel Draw- create a piece of vector art. SKETCH THIS OUT FIRST. This will be one color artwork that will cut out nicely on the vinyl cutter. It should have clear edges and not extremely small lines (as those may not pull out of the vinyl printer very nicely).

Remember that the output size of your final piece of artwork doesn’t have to just conform to one sheet of vinyl paper (12″ x 24″), but could use multiple sheets to fill up an entire doorway, large plate glass window, or other large wall.

Some tips along the way: Take pictures of your final product, and get an instructor to visually check out your product, when finished. Create a “demo video” of all of your projects. Why? They can be used as evidence of completion. One demo video can be enough evidence to receive numerous badges. Only needs to be about 30 seconds to 1 minute. What’s the best way to show this off?

Earn Your Badges:  When you’re done, earn your badge!


Circuitry and Electronics Level 3: Littlebits Solutions

Skill Level: Level 3

Badges Earned: Electronics and Circuitry Level 3

Description: Now that you’ve had a chance to create your own circuits, it’s time to build a solution, using Littlebits parts and circuits. Littlebits are snap together circuits, but they can really be “amped” up to create solutions for many problems. We’re going to use Littlebits to create something original and amazing that: solves a problem. 

Start by taking a look at some of these projects. Find a few that you like:


Option 1: Fork a project. 

Forking a project, is taking a previous project, but then modifying and building on it, to create something that is completely your own. Like any research project, you need to give credit to original authors of the project. Remember to fill out a challenge proposal and start defining your problem. 

Option 2: Build your own idea.

You can certainly have been “inspired” by some of the above projects, but if you want to create something totally your own with Littlebits- that’s your second option. Remember to also fill out a challenge proposal.

What’s a good problem to solve? 

Remember that specific problems = specific audiences. Solving boredom is never a real problem, but creating, say, a mechanical pencil someone those people who might need assistance is. 

Time to completion:  No more than three weeks. 

How long should this project take you? This Littlebits project should take you a maximum of three weeks. Remember to create something to challenge yourself. Create lofty goals. Aim high.

NOTE: Can you think about creating something that has a different design? Is there a way you can improve the design? If so, document that in your process.

Some tips along the way: Take pictures of your final joint, and get an instructor to visually check out your joint, if you can. Create a “demo video” of all of your projects. Why? They can be used as evidence of completion. One demo video can be enough evidence to receive numerous badges. Only needs to be about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Earn Your Badges:  When you’re done, earn your badge!




Web Development 3: Creating (and Hosting) HTML Pages from Scratch

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Skill Level: Level 3

Badges Earned: Web Development Level 3

Description: Creating cracker jack HTML pages is one thing. Creating and hosting your own website is another thing. For this next project, we’ll create a website, and host it in the cloud. We’ll use Shiftedit for this on a Chromebook.

Before you create anything, fill out a Challenge Proposal.  If you’re creating a website- what purpose will it serve? Who will the audience be?


Part I: Log into Shiftedit with your Google username:


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Part II: Create a new “Site.” 

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Part III: Choose Google Drive as a place to save your files. Server Type. 

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The next part will take a while as it brings in all of your Google Drive folders.

Part IV: Create a new Page using HTML. Use the little plus (+) button. 

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Now- this is the challenge. Create your HTML page, and incorporate many of the elements you’ve used before:

  • Images
  • Color
  • Text
  • More that one page
  • Video?

Some tips along the way: Take pictures of your final project, and get an instructor to visually check out your project, if you can. Create a “demo video” of all of your projects. Why? They can be used as evidence of completion. One demo video can be enough evidence to receive numerous badges. Only needs to be about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Earn Your Badges:  When you’re done, earn your badge!


Aeronautical Engineering Level 3: DIY AcroNaze32 Quadcopter


Skill Level:  Aeronautical Engineering Level 3

Badges Earned: Aeronautical Engineering Level 3

Badges Needed (before starting): Soldering Level 1 and 2 (no question). 

Description: For this quad, we’ll be using some very durable parts, including the AcroNaze32 flight controller Afro ESC Speed controllers, and some other great stuff.  Watch the attached videos for overviews and detailed instructions on how to get your quad going!

Always Fill out a Challenge Proposal: What kind of problem would your quad solve?

Design Thinking Challenge Template. 

Part 1: Overview: Watch how this all plays out. 

Part II: The Power Board

Start with soldering your power distribution board:

Part III: The Flight Controller

Soldering Your AcroNaze 32  Flight Controller

Note: Notice how he “tins” the soldering iron before he makes his soldering mount / joint. Makes almost a perfect connection. Do a little more soldering practice if you need to. If you burn this board, it becomes extremely hard to repair. 

Part IV: Connecting the ESCs to the Power Board

Next, you’ll want to solder your Afro ESC speed controllers to the power board. Make sure your positive and negatives are in the right place. They are clearly marked on the power board. You’ll have to strip the ends of the ESCs to make the connections.

Part V: Building a Frame. 

To build a quad frame, I’d do some research and look at some other home made quad frames. Take these designs in, but also think about how yours is going to be unique. You’ll need room for the Power, FC, the radio receiver- all of that can be built in. Here’s one example of a laser cut frame. You can use either the laser cutter or 3D printer.

Photo via www.capybara.org

In designing your quad frame, you’ll want sketch things out, and you’ll want to use Corel Draw on a PC. Or Photoshop, if you’re really into that. For this, you’ll have to really get things measured down to the millimeter.

Part VI: Connecting the Radio Controller. 

Part VII: Baseflight and Connecting Your Quad. 

Resources that will help:



Some tips along the way: Always document your process. Take pictures and video, if you can. Why? Creating a “demo video” of all of your projects. Why? They can be used as evidence of completion. One demo video can be enough evidence to receive numerous badges.

Earn Your Badges:  When you’re done. you’ll earn the badges below!