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Top 5 STEM Related Gifts From Santa Claus for 2015


So what do kids in my PLTW Engineering courses want for Christmas this year? Well, I took a poll of all of my students, then whittled down a list of hundreds of submissions to the ones that kept popping up over and over.
  1. Do Something!: The first criteria for making the list, was that it must require the gift recipient to “Do” something. No bluetooth speakers or video games. It’s good to get kids up and about, moving, shaking, and thinking.
  2. One stop shop: All items on this list, at the time I went to press, were available on Amazon. You could get them from multiple sources if you want, but they all can come from Amazon!
  3. Must be under $150: After all, Santa needs to spread the wealth around you know!
So lets get to it!  Here’s the list in no particular order. Be sure to check specs on anything that requires “extras”! Click on the pictures to take you to the Amazon page where it is sold!
Paperairplane Smartphone controlled paper airplane I can make a paper airplane, then control it with an app on my smartphone? No way! Creativite way to use a smartphone for good.  Think of th creativity needed to design an airplane that works well!  Requires a smartphone.$29.99
ProtoXQuarterNano   Estes 4606 Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter A quadcopter just bigger than a quarter? No way!  Yup. They’re here. Great stocking stuffer, and they are pretty rugged too. It takes a bit to learn how to fly, but what a great way to bug the cat! $29.97
Uno   Arduino Uno Ultimate Starter Kit This kit comes with an Arduino Uno Microcontroller, and all the parts you need to learn how to program to make sensors and motors work! Uses one of the world’s largest and fastest growing communities, and comes complete with instruction book. CAUTION: you will learn programming! $54.99
Ozbot   Line Following robot & more! Ozbot Bit 2.0 has won many awards and allows even beginners to learn how to program a tiny robot using colored markers! I saw this at a maker’s faire, and it is on the top of my wish list as well! (hint, hint!) $59.99
RaspPiKit     A Raspberry Pie you can’t eat?!? A Raspberry Pi is an open source microcomputer, and this kit comes with everything you need to build some pretty cool stuff! You really need to have an interest in programming though to tackle this baby, but it is very powerful!$69.99
3D_Scribbler_Pen   A hand-held 3D Printer Unleash your creativity with a pen that’s really a 3D printer!  Fun way to understand the concepts of how a 3D printer works combined with a creative outlet for making cool artistic things. $99.99
goproblack Capture HD action on the cheap (relatively speaking…) GoPro’s entry level HD camera; it forgo’s the bells and whistles of their more expensive models, yet allows you to capture all those actionable moments that kids want to capture these days. We use one in the classroom to capture things like the 3D printer or the CNC machine, but it can be used many ways. Compatible with all Go Pro’s stuff too. $119.00 (camera only)

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Chris Hurd

I currently teach Technology and Engineering at Cazenovia HS in CNY. I also teach summers at the college level for PLTW in Oregon, Ohio, Florida, California, Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, and NY.

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Jim Hanson

Chris Hurd


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