Teaching children to code embedded systems with Arduinos.
We are currently in our second semester of AWANA robotics as of 3/2016.
First semester, 2015, the students created rubberband turrets. We used Arduinos, tons of screws, bolts, brackets, metal, and a Wii Nunchuck as the controller. Most of the time was spent constructing the mechanism. In the end, we ended up with a high powered rubberband shooting weapon. :)
RubberBand Turret GitHub Repo
Second Semester, 2016, each student is building his or her own video games. It is a basic jumping man game built using an Arduino, LCD, and a button. The goal is to do less mechanical building and more coding. The students began by learning control structures.
Each student was given the opportunity to design his or her own character out of Legos, Post-Its, or a basic grid learning about 5 x 8 pixel art and binary representations of his or her character. After spending some time seeing who could get the highest score with v.1 of the game, it is time to customize characters, landscape, and simple game design.
LCD Game GitHub Repo
I currently have 5 kits ready for purchase. They will be going for $35 shipped, complete with Arduino Clone Microcontroller, breadboard, mounting bracket, LCD, button, potentiometer, resistor, USB cable, and jumper wires. The only thing you need is a 9v battery, which you can don't really need, and time to spend learning with your child.
Winter/Spring 2017 gave us new challenges. We were having students take our class for the 2nd or 3rd time. We were reusing the same
products for each semester. I then decided to go a bit of a different route with the current group. For the newbies, we completed
the Arduino video game. We did this fairly quickly this go around. I wanted them to have something that they could "take home".
The students are always asking to take home the games after we build them. I've started having the students start writing code in
and explore on their own. The plan is to eventually code the video game from Sitepoint's book Jump Start CoffeeScript,
which I read a few years ago.
Attention parents! If you would like to help your child continue to explore, here is the link to the working code from our projects.
You can "fork" the code to yours or your child's own account so they have the full ability to change the code.
AWANA CodePen Collection