Engineering for Social Good Project #1: Empowering Fine Motor Control Using "Drawdio"

This year I am SUPER excited to teach a new class this year called "Engineering for Social Good". Click here for a short version of our class syllabus.

For each of the five projects I plan to facilitate in the course, I will post a similar blog post to share the successes and failures of the course as I modify it for future years.  

For our first project of the year, we are leveraging the "Drawdio", a device imagined and designed by Jay Silver. Click here and here to learn more about the Drawdio circuit and here to view Jay's incredible TED Talk. Click here to purchase your own Drawdio kit. 

After a brief  live demonstration of how the Drawdio circuit works, I provided the students with the following prompt:

In 1979, Mattel created a game called "Electronic Connection". Using your Drawdio circuit, develop a game, made in the the spiriting of Electronic Connection, that helps young learners (4-5 years old) improve their fine motor control and handwriting skills. We will then deliver the games to local Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms. Go! 

We finished prototypes today and I was absolutely blown away with the way the natural prototyping process happened seamlessly when the end user was clearly defined. The the low barrier to entry associated with this device and the "window" it opens to the subsequent learning of the interior electronics of the device make this activity one that acts as a perfect inquiry opening for this new course. 

See videos of two student prototypes in action below: 

(Image credit: Ramsey Musallam)

(Image credit: Ramsey Musallam)

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Ramsey Musallam teaches science and robotics at Sonoma Academy in Santa Rosa, California, with the aim of fostering inquiry-based learning environments fueled by student curiosity. He presents widely on sparking student curiosity and teaching with technology. Musallam is a Google Certified Teacher, a YouTube Star Teacher, and a Leading Edge Certified Teacher. Watch his TED talk here and read his blog at