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Default [KB6NU] My first Arduino class a success

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My first Arduino class a success

Posted: 02 Dec 2018 09:41 AM PST

I held my first Arduino class yesterday at All Hands Active (AHA!), a
makerspace here in Ann Arbor.I had six students, including a father and his
daughter, a high school student, and three other adults.

To teach the class, I used an earlier version of the Sparkfun Inventors Kit
Guide, even though we didnt use the Inventors Kit in the class. Because the
Arduino kits that we did use didnt have all of the sensors and actuators in
the Sparkfun Inventors Kit, we could only do some of the experiments. The
experiments that I chose included:

Blinking an LED
Push Buttons
Photo Resistor

I would have also liked to do an experiment with a temperature sensor and a
motor or servo, but those components werent included in the kits that I
had. On the other hand, these five experiments took up more than the two
hours that I had allotted for the teaching part of the class. So, it worked
out OK.

I got the starter kits—the Elegoo EL-KIT-004 UNO Project Basic Starter Kit
with Tutorial and UNO R3 for Arduino—from Amazon. My thinking is that it
would be inexpensive for students to purchase and had enough stuff to get
the students started.

Unfortunately, it didnt really have quite enough stuff. It was, for
example, missing a potentiometer. So, to supplement the kit, I made up a
couple of pots with wires that they could plug into the breadboard. It
would also have been nice to have a temperature sensor and a motor or
servo, so that the students got a better idea of what you could do with an

I also wasnt thrilled with the quality of the breadboard in the kit. One of
the students had a problem getting one of the experiments to work, and as
it turned out, it was because one of the wires connecting the components
wasnt making good contact with the breadboard. It just had a cheap feel to

Im thinking that next time Ill go with something like the Keywish UNO
Project Starter Kit for Arduino with UNO R3 Development Board, LCD1602,
Breadboard, Servo Motor, Detailed Tutorial. It costs only a few dollars
more and includes pots, a servo motor, and even an LCD display. It doesnt
have a temperature sensor, though.
Keeping the students on their toes

Partly to make up for the lack of a temperature sensor and other
components, I improvised. The push button experiment called for the
students to connect two momentary-contact switches to two digital inputs
and an LED to a digital output. To turn on the LED, you pressed and held
down one of the switches. Pressing the second, while holding down the
first, turned the LED off.

That functionality seemed kind of useless to me, so I challenged the
students to modify the program so that pressing one of the switches would
turn the LED on and remain on, even if the switch was released. To turn the
LED off, you had to press the second switch.

One of the students. Laria, had a solution in minutes. It took the others a
little while longer, but after I shared Larias solution with them, they all
had their versions working soon after. It was a fun exercise and got them
thinking outside the book.

When all was said and done, I think we all had fun and learned something
about Arduinos. The students learned how to do both digital and analog
output and* input and got a good sense of what the Arduino can do. I also
learned a thing or two about teaching Arduino classes. I plan to have
another go at this in three months or so.

The post My first Arduino class a success appeared first on KB6NUs Ham
Radio Blog.

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