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Explore Coding and Electronics with Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi Projects Kit offers a customizable set of activities for progressive learning. Students use Scratch to write computer programs and combine those programs with circuits and sensors for interactive fun.

Girls at a GirlSPARC event doing hands-on Raspberry Pi projects with Scratch coding and electronics
Above: Girls at a GirlSPARC event working on hands-on coding and electronics projects with Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi Projects Kit from Science Buddies works with a series of eight interactive activities that combine computer programming and electronics. With the kit, students set up their own Raspberry Pi and then write Scratch programs that control or respond to sensor data from GPIO pins. This enables students to build breadboard circuits that work with Scratch programs to play sounds or activate lights, for example, based on sensor input.

The progressive series of Raspberry Pi projects are designed to be accessible for students who have never coded before but also engaging for students who have some programming experience. These projects are often used by individual students who are interested in learning more about computer programming or students who want to work on activities that take coding beyond the screen. With a blend of code and electronics, the Raspberry Pi projects set students up for hours of creative hands-on STEM exploration using different sensors.

The Raspberry Pi Projects Kit activities also work well in group environments, out-of-school programs, and summer camp settings.

Raspberry Pi at Summer Camp

In coordination with a local non-profit mentoring organization, Paul Popick, a retired IBM technologist, runs a summer camp in Easton, Maryland. Last summer was Paul's fourth year offering the camp.

Paul says the week-long camp focuses on life and physical sciences and emphasizes experiential learning. "Each morning the kids do an experiment with a scientist. In the afternoons they work on their projects. The experiments include food testing, water testing, digital circuits, organic compounds, phosphorescence, and static forces."

Kids attending camp choose the projects they will do, and last summer, Paul had several campers who chose Raspberry Pi. During the week of camp, Paul says most campers "completed 6 or 7 of the projects" from the Raspberry Pi series. "One of the kids also went on to develop a Python program for a Rock Paper Scissors game," he adds.

Two sudents doing hands-on Raspberry Pi projects with Scratch coding Two students doing hands-on Raspberry Pi projects and inserting electronics components in a breadboard
Above: Students at a Purdue I2R engineer camp using Raspberry Pi to explore Scratch computer coding and electronics.

The Raspberry Pi Projects Kit

The Raspberry Pi Projects Kit is now available in two versions, the Complete Raspberry Pi Projects Kit, which contains the Raspberry Pi unit, and the Raspberry Pi Circuit Building Kit, which contains only the electronics components (for someone who already has a Raspberry Pi). Directions for all eight projects in the series are accessible online.

Tip: For educators using the Raspberry Pi Projects kit and project series, the Best Practices for Using the Raspberry Pi Projects Kit in a Classroom or Out-of-School Setting resource has tips and suggestions for working on coding and electronics activities with groups.

See also: The Girl Factor: Creative Code and Computer Programming

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