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Friday, June 9, 2017

Intruder Alert Task Cards for Raspberry Pi

I spent the last 6 weeks of school working with two 4th grade classrooms on an introductory physical computing and digital making project with Raspberry Pi. Both classes were studying NGSS topic 4-PS4 on Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer (which covers the properties of waves-- water, light, sound) and one class had recently done a project in which they were tasked with designing a tool that would help humans who are hard of hearing or seeing.

We decided to link our introductory Raspberry Pi project to the work students were doing in science and landed on "Intruder Alert" motion sensor devices. Using the Santa and Parent Detector lessons on the Raspberry Pi website, I created two different versions of this lesson.

Class #1-- Pibrella & Scratch

In the first class we used Scratch, Pibrellas, Motors, Picameras and Motion Sensors. Students had fun programming the components, but unfortunately we quickly broke all the jumper cables on the motors, and motion sensors weren't behaving while connected to the Pibrellas (I still haven't figured out that issue, as the Motion Sensor worked just fine connected through a Pibrella on my personal Raspberry Pi).

Class #2-- Motion Sensors & Python

In the second class, we decided to program using Python, as the classroom teacher felt confident in her students' typing skills and she really wanted those Motion Sensors working. We struggled through a rocky start on day 1, learning how to connect LEDs with jumper cables while following along on a slideshow lesson. Many students were frustrated and becoming disengaged really quickly. And only having three 1-hour sessions with the group, I wanted to make sure that they had some kind of success before the end of our lessons. I decided that students might be more successful if we stated day 2 with breadboards and LEDs already set-up and if they had printed directions for their teams to follow, so I prepped both of those materials for next day's lesson. By the end of day 3, and using our printed task cards (and with the help of the 3 teachers we had in the room), students had motion sensors working, LEDs blinking, Picameras snapping photos, AND Sense HATs scrolling warning messages.

Lesson Resources

Intro to Physical Computing with Pibrella

Intruder Alert with Pibrella

Intruder Alert Task Cards using Python

(I like to print these out, cut them in half, then create a flip book using loose leaf binder rings)

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