Course of the Mod

STEAM: From Virtual to Reality

There are more than 300 courses offered through CSW's unique Mod System. Dive into one of them here or explore a previous 'Course of the Mod' by using the archive on the left-hand side of the page.

STEAM: From Virtual to Reality
STEAM: From Virtual to Reality is a one-mod course that explores the technological tools used in programming and computer-aided design (CAD). Students create, design, build, discover, and engage in hands-on projects that require the application of technical skills using failure-based learning, where failure is seen as part of the natural process in solving problems. This highly instructional course introduces students to Python, simple circuitry, and 3D design, with opportunities for for collecting and processing data using sensors and computer-assisted techniques.
Sample Assignment: Coding in Pairs
For this assignment, students work in pairs on a coding assignment of their choice. One such option is the Polygon Project, in which students use a Python turtle graphic to draw four polygons with different numbers of sides according to user input. They are also required to make an algorithm or flowchart to go along with the design. The code itself needs to be commented as well. Once complete, each pair presents the culmination of their code to the class. 
Student Q&A

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What did you hope to learn from this course?

    I really wanted to learn how to code well with Python. “Understand the language” is probably a better way to put it. I wanted to learn the rules of Python and make my codes do what I need them to do. I was also hoping to use some new programs and devices. Just the idea of actually using some sort of technology that I haven’t used yet is very interesting to me.
  • Q. What did you enjoy most about this course?

    I really enjoyed the Python turtle coding assignment. It was something completely new to me and I loved how functional and useful it was. I really like art, so for me writing a code that allows you to draw very detailed and delicate patterns was just fascinating. It is so delightful and satisfying to see the outcome of your code displayed in an artistic manner.
  • Q. What surprised you about this course?

    It was surprising to actually be able to use the Raspberry PI and Python with the breadboard, LEDs, resistors and buttons. I didn’t think we would actually integrate all that technology into one because it seemed too advanced for me at first.
  • Q. What would you tell another student interested in taking this course?

    It is a cool class to take for everyone. If you’re not familiar with the subject, don’t worry because it is a beginner’s course. Don’t stress if you don’t understand as first. The more coding you do, the smoother the process is going to go. In a few days, this class is actually going to make sense and you will be impressed by yourself!
New to the STEAM field? Use this guide to familiarize yourself with some of the basic tools and concepts.

STEAM = Science + Techology + Engineering + Art & Design + Mathematics

Circuitry = A circuit or system of circuits performing a particular function in an electronic device.

Python = An interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language.

Raspberry Pi = A tiny computer used in simple electronics projects, commonly used to teach basic coding.

Breadboard = A construction base for prototyping of electronics.

LED = Light-emitting diode.

Resistor = A device having resistance to the passage of an electric current.
The Cambridge School of Weston
45 Georgian Road, Weston, MA 02493 • P. 781-642-8600
The Cambridge School of Weston is a day and boarding independent school, located near Boston, for students in grades 9-12 and PG. We offer an innovative and rigorous academic program that fosters critical thought, hands-on experiential learning and deep academic inquiry. Students choose from more than 300 courses through our unique Mod System; no two student schedules are alike.