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Introduction to Arduino


Grade Range
Group Size
2 students
Active Time
6 hours
Total Time
6 hours
Area of Science
Computer Science
Electricity & Electronics
Key Concepts
Programming, circuits, algorithmic thinking
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies


This lesson plan will introduce your students to physical computing: the process of building circuits and programming a microcontroller (an Arduino UNO®) to interact with them. The lesson is broken into seven activities that will walk your students through the basics of setting up the Arduino and interacting with circuit parts like LEDs, buttons, and resistors. This introductory material will help prepare your students for more advanced Arduino projects.

Learning Objectives


To complete the activities in this lesson, each group of students will need following materials.

Background Information for Teachers

This section contains a quick review for teachers of the science and concepts covered in this lesson.

The Arduino UNO (Figure 1) is a microcontroller board that is widely used in the hobbyist, maker, and educational communities. It allows people with no formal engineering training to get started with their own electronics and robotics projects. It is designed to make prototyping electronics projects easy. You can quickly take apart your project, build a new circuit, and upload a new program.

An Arduino UNO board.
Figure 1. An Arduino UNO.

Unlike a computer with an operating system where you can install programs, browse the web, and play games, a microcontroller only runs one program at a time. Microcontrollers are frequently used to interface with hardware like sensors, lights, and motors, and are usually dedicated to a specific task. Microcontrollers are embedded in many of the devices and appliances that we use every day. Because of their physical interaction with hardware and their typically embedded nature, working with microcontrollers is sometimes referred to as physical computing or embedded computing.

This lesson will introduce your students to the basics of working with an Arduino: writing and uploading programs, building simple circuits, and interfacing with inputs and outputs like buttons and LEDs. This sets the stage for more advanced projects like building robots, drones, voice-controlled appliances, and more.

Prep Work (time varies)

Engage (15 minutes)

Explore (5 hours)

Reflect (15 minutes)


Make Career Connections

Lesson Plan Variations

Free science fair projects.