Getting Kids to DIY: Arduino

leo_1988.jpgLast year, I went to a training for SparkFun, an electronics retailer in here in Colorado that manufactures and sells microcontroller development boards and breakout boards. Going to the PD was a pivotal point in my development as a technology teacher because I was taking my knowledge from a purely web-based set of knowledge and skills to actual object-based coding and product development. Under the guidance of the other Tech teacher, I was able to then turn around and teach my newfound coding skills to my students. Every day was an adventure because I was learning something, and then immediately applying it in the classroom. Getting involved in the electronics DIY movement has been more than just fun and enriching, but has challenged me to think about how things are made and how I can make them better (instead of complaining about how they don’t work).

Angelina Ramirez (L) and Stacey Adame of Team 567 Safety present their fire door alarm to the judges during the Guppy Tank competition for 8th graders May 20, 2015 from Denver’s KIPP Academy. (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Team 56 Safety presents their fire door alarm during the Guppy Tank competition (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Mr. Best, the 8th grade Tech teacher, has taken teaching middle schoolers how to use technology to a whole new level. This last trimester has been in preparing our 8th graders for Denver’s first Guppy Tank, which you can read about here. Seeing my students up there speaking so eloquently about something that they thought of on their own, 3D printed, built and programmed on their own, and then presented to a board of potential investors was one of my proudest moments as an educator.

I fully intend on introducing my daughters to web-based and object based coding, learning how to build circuits, solder, etc… The basic projects are incredibly easy and tech skills, even basic ones, are essential to have in an age where EVERYTHING in our kids lives has its foundation in tech.


What is Arduino?

  2. Forefront Beginner’s Guide to Arduino 
  3. Instructables (videos)
  4. MakeUseOf

Getting Started

  2. This is a set of video tutorials on YouTube and they are GREAT! 
  3. SparkFun Tutorials

Where to Buy

  1. Radio Shack (yes, I know they’re going under, but they while they’re still here, most of them still have really great in-store selections!)
  2. SparkFun Website
  3. Arduino Website

In the comments below, please let me know if I can help you find exactly what you are looking for or if you have any more questions.

Also, spread the love by sharing this post around your own part of the social media universe!


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