Arduino this, Arduino that. If you are in the education field, chances are you’ve probably heard about Arduino before. You may know Arduino provides open-source hardware, software and curriculum for schools and creators around the world but you may not know much else. We will be going over what exactly Arduino is, what you can do with it, and how you can start implementing this amazing tool into your classes.
So what is it?
First of all, Arduino is an open-source hardware and software company. That means that they welcome tinkerers to tweak and create projects with their hardware (physical pieces) and software (digital programs).
Arduino has a user community that they support and foster so that educators and maker enthusiasts can share project ideas, code, and much more.
Arduino designs and manufactures single-board microcontrollers and microcontroller kits for building digital devices. These micro-controllers can be thought of as the brains for robots which students can program.
Their software and hardware combine to create a fun environment that can help people of all ages and students at all grade levels learn STEM concepts like engineering, coding, computer science, design-thinking, math, physics, and more.
We here at Creator Bot take the open-source tools made by Arduino and provide standards aligned and classroom tested curriculum that accompanies our own Arduino powered robots complete with all sorts of exciting components, along with professional development for teachers.
What can you do with Arduino?
Due to its modular nature, flexibility, and components, the Arduino platform is ideal for learning and teaching STEM concepts. Arduino can really help you teach programming and electronics because it’s straightforward to use and simple to learn. This makes it an amazing tool to use in the classroom to introduce your students to these subjects.
It’s incredible flexibility will allow you to adapt it to your class curriculum. With Arduino, your class can create everything from blinking an LED, to building a robot to design a home automation project, as an educational class project. You can achieve all of that and more without needing to solder anything.
Why should you include Arduino in your teaching plan?
Arduino is a great intro to coding:
Programming with Arduino is possible with any language. But it is better to start with the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment). IDE supports C and C++, and includes libraries for various hardware components, such as LEDs and switches. If you are working with little ones, there are other Arduino-compatible languages besides IDE. For example, Snap4Arduino is a visual alternative that's based on the ever popular Scratch block based programming language from MIT Media Lab. Of course, this makes learning coding and computer science easier to understand for newbies and younger students. You can teach the concepts of coding without worrying about syntax and lots of typing.
Arduino programming is also relatively basic, which makes it great if you're looking for a way to grasp the absolute basics of programming. After you introduce it to your class and they start playing around with Arduino code a bit, they should learn how it works and can really enjoy it.
At Creator Bot, we have curated specific hardware to include in our various kits that best teaches Robotics, Computer Science, and Engineering, to students in a series of projects that gradually increase in complexity and culminate in an amazing final project for grades 3-5, 6 - 8, and 9-12, and even introductory university.
An easy introduction to electronics
The magic behind Arduino is that it makes you feel that learning doesn’t have to be complicated. You'll walk through the fundamentals of circuits with wires, breadboards, or LEDs in a safe and fun way to learn. After that, your students get to play around with a lot of cool electronic components, like LEDs, resistors, capacitors, accelerometers, motors, buttons, sensors, displays, programmable remote controls, and more. They will feel like they are playing with real life Lego pieces.
But most importantly, as they build confidence with circuits and components, they’ll unlock their creative-tinkerer side. Exploring with components, robotics and circuits is a wonderful way to introduce hands-on creativity in the classroom.
Arduino is the entry door to creating amazing projects
As we mentioned before, with Arduino you can create basic coding commands as well as amazingly complex projects. Everything from remote controlled-robots, alarm systems, to even home automation projects. The limit is your imagination.
Arduino projects in the classroom make children curious about how our everyday devices work, awakening a special interest in creating with technology. Therefore, including Arduino in your classroom year plan can help create interdisciplinary projects that will definitely expand your students' STEM skills and prepare them for the future.
The future is for problem-solvers, tinkerers and innovators. Being able to explore these skills with hands-on projects like Arduino will contribute to developing students for their future careers, jobs and life. Preparing your students for success starts with you in the classroom. So, if you are looking for ways to innovate in your classroom and don't know how, Arduino might be just what you need!