Rowing STEM – Bring Your Rowing Club To A Science Fair Near You

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Last night Tulsa Youth Rowing Association and our Rowing STEM curriculum was represented at the Aspen Creek Elementary STEAM night in Broken Arrow, OK.  We were invited to share the word about our RowingSTEM curriculum and demonstrate our iOS app also called RowingSTEM which is now available on the iOS App Store.

I’ve always been fascinated by the amount of data that is available on the Concept2 rowing machine. The PM monitor captures a great deal of information. As a result, I have spent the last year learning how to program apps for iOS devices that can communicate with the PM5 monitor via Bluetooth.

The Origins Of The RowingSTEM App

The first idea I had was to capture the power generated each stroke in Watts measured by the rowing machine. to power ratings for common household appliances. As a result, I set forth educating myself about terms like GATT and Characteristics so that I could capture the data in real time as a person used the rowing machine. 

The amount of watts increases as more power is developed during the rowing stroke. After doing a little research of what wattage each household device needs to run. I started to program the app to detect that number calculated by the PM5 and send it to the app.  

I then found some royalty free images and imported them into the app. As the power per stroke changes, the code in the app changes the picture shown. 

I got something working and sent a video to Concept2 who were very supportive of the idea of incorporating STEM into rowing activities. They provided a level of technical support as I learned how to program and use the data available in the PM5 application programming interface.

Since the initial development of the app, I have continued to improve it and fix bugs. The app includes all of tab activities that we have developed. These activities have been designed to be used in conjunction with the Concept2 rower.

How Did Our STEAM Night Go?

I think it is safe say that the integration of STEM and rowing was a success. The kids at the fair continually used the Concept2 machine the entire evening. We had elementary aged kids waiting patiently in line to find out which device they could power. They wanted to work hard today see how well they could do. Parents enjoyed watching their kids row and picked up the flyers we had on the table.

rowing-stem-what-can-you-power-display-board-grow-tulsa
Our Tri-fold Display Board For The Evening

We had a TV Screen showing a looped movie of our rowing program and also had flyers available for distribution.  We also had a tri-fold display that captured the attention of the crowd as well as helped publicize our rowing club.

How Do I Use This For My Rowing Club At A Local STEAM Fair?

  1. The RowingSTEM app is free and will always be free as far as we are concerned. Feel free to use it if you think it will help, but let us know at neil@okrowing.org.
  2. Here is a link to a document that contains the pictures of the electrical appliances used in the app. You are welcome to download and edit as you see fit.

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