Introduction to circuits and Arduino coding
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Understand and diagram electrical current flow through a simple circuit.
Build a simple circuit using a breadboard.
Understand how to modify a simple computer code to vary the blink rate of LEDs.
Know how to add, and appreciate the use of, comments in a computer code.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
For educators and students intimidated by electrical instruments and computer code this activity is an easy, fun introduction to these topics.
Become familiar with some Arduino commands.
Find vendors and prices for components needed to build and control a simple circuit.
Description and Teaching Materials
Prior to this activity students are given instructions for downloading the Arduino IDE software. They should be encouraged to do this when they have a fast internet connection. In this activity students are given a kit. Students use the kit and follow along as an instructor walks through a PowerPoint, wherein there are visual instructions on building an electrical circuit, writing an Arduino sketch, and modifying both the circuit and the sketch. Additionally students complete a simple written assignment that is designed to make them; look up the definition for several of the sketch commands that they use, go online to find the cost of the materials used in the lab so they can appreciate how inexpensive it is to dabble in electronics, and answer a reflection question to get them thinking about sensors they could use to answer scientific or environmental questions.
This is the instruction file for students to use to download the necessary software. If instructors intend to do the SERC activityOceanographic Instrumentation, Measuring Temperature , after this activity students should download the Arduino IDE and the libraries mentioned in the instructions. If instructors do not intend to follow on with the measuring temperature activity the libraries are not needed. If instructors intend to follow on with a different sensor based lab they should instruct students in how to download the appropriate libraries. Preparing_Student_Computers_Intro_to_Coding.docx (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.6MB May10 19)
This is the materials list for the student kits materials_list_blinking_light.docx (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 15kB May10 19)
This is the PowerPoint to be used by the instructor Intro to Arduino.pptx (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 5.2MB May10 19)
This is the handout for the students to complete student_handout.docx (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 14kB May13 19)
Teaching Notes and Tips
This lab can be completed in less than 3 hours. Most students will finish the 5-light circuit and sketch in about 2 hours; they use the additional hour to synchronize their music and lights, and to fill out the student handouts.
This document has troubleshooting tips troubleshooting_tips_Intro_to_coding.docx (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 14kB May10 19)
Students email their sketches to the instructor and they are assessed on the quality of the comments they choose to include.
The handouts are collected and graded.
Student effort is assessed by how well they complete the coding/blinking LED activity.
References and Resources
Information on the Arduino coding language can be found here (https://www.arduino.cc/reference/en/)
You can see a variety of Arduino sensors here ( https://store.arduino.cc/usa/components/components-sensors)
Lots of questions related to Arduino troubleshooting are answered here (https://www.arduino.cc/en/guide/troubleshooting)
You can learn more at the Arduino forum (https://forum.arduino.cc/)
And see this site for projects people have done with Arduino (https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub)