A STEM Lesson from an IoT Electronic Thermometer: Page 2 of 2

excellent training tool for introducing high school STEM and CTE students to the world of embedded technologies because of the low learning curve. The goal is to show my students how the health thermometer's hierarchical diagram can be used as a hardware-requirements tool to obtain new features and functions for the electronic temperature product.

In addition, the health thermometer's flowchart that's part of the product description document can be used to explain embedded software requirements to my students, as well. BLE event handler flowchart routines used in the PSoC software provide an excellent instructional tool to discuss programming concepts such as logic design, firmware, and function prototypes used in developing embedded products.

Build a Proof-of-Concept Prototype

The ease of adding electronic components to the BLE Pioneer Kit allows my students to explore features and functions physically. The kit has a series of female headers like an Arduino for wiring additional electronic components and circuits. To make the kit work as a remote sensor, a temperature monitoring circuit is wired to the PSoC board's port pins P3.0, P3.1, and P3.2.

After the health thermometer software is programmed into the board, the embedded radio transmits temperature data immediately. The learning objectives behind this phase of the curriculum development project are to teach the following electrical engineering skills:

  • Reading and interpreting circuit schematic diagrams
  • Breadboarding circuits
  • Electronic components identification (thru-hole-leaded) and SMD (surface- mount devices) parts)
  • Printed circuit board construction
  • Electronic circuit interfacing

These basic skills are critical for the new generation of electrical engineers because to set up assembly processes and correct build problems in the manufacturing phase, knowledge and hands-on experience will help at this latter, critical stage of new product development.

In my next article, I'll explain the remaining engineering steps, and my inclusion of IoT concepts and Bluetooth Smart technology to the curriculum for my high school electronics students.

Don Wilcher is a passionate teacher of electronics technology and an electrical engineer with 26 years of industrial experience. He's worked on industrial robotics systems, automotive electronic modules/systems, and embedded wireless controls for small consumer appliances. He's also a book author, writing DIY project books on electronics and robotics technologies. His latest book, Make: Basic Arduino Projects, published by Maker Media, is on the Alabama State Department's approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) reading list. He's currently developing 21st century educational training products and curriculum focusing on Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Physical Computing for makers, engineers, technicians, and educators. Besides being an Electrical Engineer, he's a Certified Electronics Technician with ETA International and Alabama State Certified Electronics Instructor.

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