In this module, you’ll get to take a look at the wild and often wacky world of Arduino, explore projects that people have created and learn a little about how you might do a project yourself. No materials other than a browser required – give it a try!
Intro to Arduino
Intro to Arduino
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Computer Science, Electronics
Intro to Arduino gives you a look at the wild and often wacky world of Arduino, explore projects that people have created and learn a little about how you might do a project yourself. Get ready and let’s check it out!
If you’re interested in making cool things that jump, jiggle, move and wiggle you may already know about Arduino.
- Arduino started in 2003 as a college student project intending to create something that would be easy for people to produce devices that could interact with the world.
- Using an inexpensive microcontroller and simple sensors and motors it suddenly became possible for people with almost no technical knowledge to suddenly become inventors!
Now, some 16 years later, Arduino has evolved into a global phenomenon that is used in schools, maker spaces, garages, dorm rooms, and professional settings in locations all over the world.
- Watch the short video next, check out the materials needed, review a few important terms you should know and let’s do a few projects!
Understand & Recognize:
- “Arduino” as a hardware and software platform for making projects.
- “Open Source” as a model of creating and sharing information.
- “Input” and “output” in both hardware and software based on looking at Arduino projects.
- “Community” in the sense of people connected through a common interest such as making cool projects with Arduino.
- “Computer programming” or “coding” means writing instructions for the hardware to follow.
What You'll Need
The activities in this module only require you to have some kind of Internet connected device and a browser! Chromebook, smart phone, supercomputer – whatever you have on hand to search the Internet is all you need!
Take the time to know these important terms that will help make you a Master Maker and Arduino Artist! These are all mentioned in the video so watch it again if it helps you remember.
Open Source: A model of sharing inventions and information for others to use, improve and share again.
Hardware: The”physical” part of a computer or device. If you can thump it on a table, it’s probably hardware.
Software: The computer program or “instructions you write” for the hardware. It’s not something you can thump on the table, but the hardware is worthless without it.
Sketch: A “sketch” in Arduino lingo refers to a computer program you’ve written in the IDE to run your Arduino hardware.
Code: The actual lines of instruction in your computer program (sketch) are code. Code is written in different languages such as Arduino. Code is also a verb – “I’m going to code for a few hours – see you later!”
Processor: The brains of your hardware that takes the instructions you write and executes them.
Microcontroller: A circuit board with a processor and other cool parts that allow you to control motors and listen to sensors.
Atmel: A pretty cool company that builds the processors that live on Arduino microcontrollers.
Arduino Uno: One of the many Arduino boards in the Arduino family and probably the most used.
Arduino IDE: IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment which is a mouthful, but it just means you have all the tools you need to write fun instructions for your Arduino microcontroller to follow.
Compile: Your Arduino IDE takes your instructions and “compiles” them into a lump of numbers that your processor can understand.
Upload: You write your instructions in the IDE, then you send them on over to your Arduino when you “upload” your cool program.
Execute: Very simple – it means “do it!”
Input: Things that go “into” a computing system are input. When you type on your phone you are “inputting” information.
Output: Something that come out of. your computing system, like the display on a smartphone, is “output.”
Watch Video and dive in!
Ready to get started? Let's go!
Next stop – PDQ1 – that means Pretty Darn Quick. Go dog, go!
This way to PDQ1
- Recognize the term “Arduino” as a hardware and software platform for making projects.
- Understand the concept of “community” in the sense of people connected through a common interest such as making cool projects with Arduino.
- Understand the concept of “Open Source” as a model of creating and sharing information.
- Recognize the concepts of “input” and “output” in both hardware and software based on looking at Arduino projects.
- Understand “computer programming” or “coding” means writing instructions for hardware to follow.
- Read the background information, study the terms, and watch the introductory video on Arduino.
- Do the PDQs and Experiment and review the accompanying worksheets.
- Review the Coding and Collaboration extensions if of interest.
- Arduino is frequently considered only a type of hardware, because of the prevalence of Arduino project boards. In reality, it is both a hardware AND software development platform.
- Open source is frequently defined quickly as “free” software or hardware designs, but this is not necessarily true. All free software is not necessarily open source, and the real core of the issue is in the type of license that is being applied to the software or hardware or content.
Open Source Discussion
- Have you ever used Wikipedia? – it has an open source type license called Creative Commons.
- Have you ever heard of Blender? Blender is an open source 3D rendering package that is very powerful. A short search on Youtube will yield many results of short animated films that were done in Blender – they are amazing.
- Do you think Open Source a good approach to building things like software or hardware? How can you make money on something like your software if you open source it?
- What are the advantages of Open Source?
- What are the disadvantages of Open Source?
- What would you like to create with Arduino?
- Why do you think Arduino has become so popular around the world?
Because of the size and energy behind the Arduino community there are extraordinary amounts of resources available, both free and paid. The official Arduino website has compiled a fantastic list of starting materials that you can review at the following link – it’s a great place to start:
The concept of Open Source is an important one for educators to have a clear understanding so they can accurately share it with students. For Open Source basics, the following is a great place to start:
Intro to Arduino by Robert O. Grover & Team databot™ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at databot.us.com/contact.