The Raspberry Pi Construct HAT and LEGO® parts at our CoderDojo

As so many CoderDojos around the world, our office-based CoderDojo hadn’t been in a position to carry learners collectively in individual for the reason that begin of the coronavirus pandemic. So we determined that our first time again within the Raspberry Pi Basis headquarters must be one thing particular. Having actually simply launched the new Raspberry Pi Build HAT for programming LEGO® tasks with Raspberry Pi computer systems, we needed to have a good time our Dojo’s triumphant return to in-person session by providing a ‘LEGO bricks and Raspberry Pi’ exercise!

A robot buggy built by young people with LEGO bricks and the Raspberry Pi Build HAT.

Again in individual, with new methods to create with code

The Raspberry Pi Construct HAT permits learners to construct and program tasks with Raspberry Pi computer systems and LEGO® Technic™ motors and sensors from the LEGO® Schooling SPIKE™ Portfolio.

A close-up of the Raspberry Pi Build HAT on a Maker Plate and connected to electronic components.

What higher method may there be to get the extra skilled coders amongst our Dojo’s younger folks (Ninjas) correctly excited to be again? We knew they had been keen on constructing issues with LEGO bricks, as so many younger individuals are, so we had been certain they'd have nice enjoyable with this exercise!

Two girls work together on a coding project.

For our rookies, we arrange Raspberry Pi workstations and bought them coding the tasks on the Dwelling island on our brand-new Code Club World platform, which they completely beloved, so their jealousy was mitigated considerably. 

With the ability to depend on your learners’ present expertise in making the bodily construct leaves you much more time to help them with what they’re truly right here to study: the coding and digital making expertise.

We needed to maintain our first Dojo again small, so for the ‘LEGO bricks and Raspberry Pi’ exercise, we arrange simply 4 workstations, every with a Raspberry Pi 4, with 4GB RAM and a Raspberry Pi Construct HAT on high, and a LEGO Schooling SPIKE Prime set. We put eight contributors into groups of two, and made certain that each one of them introduced a bit of expertise with text-based coding, as a result of we needed them to have the ability to deal with making tasks in their very own model, relatively than first studying the fundamentals of coding in Python. Then we provided our Ninjas the selection of the primary two tasks within the Introduction to the Raspberry Pi Build HAT and LEGO path: make Pong game controllers, or make a remote-controlled robot buggy. As I had predicted, all of the groups selected to make a robotic buggy!

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Teamwork and design

The groups of Ninjas had been instantly off and making — actually, they couldn’t wait to get the lids off the bins of brightly colored bricks and beams!

Two young people work as a team at a CoderDojo coding club.

Our challenge directions focus totally on supporting learners by means of coding and testing the mechanics of their creations, leaving the design and construct completely as much as them. This was evidenced by the number of buggy designs we noticed on the challenge showcase on the finish of the two-hour Dojo session!

One of many superb issues Raspberry Pi makes potential whenever you use it with the Raspberry Pi Construct HAT and SPIKE™ Prime set: it’s easy to make the Raspberry Pi on the coronary heart of the creation discuss to a cellular machine by way of Bluetooth, and off you go controlling what you’ve created by way of a telephone or pill.

Whereas beginner-friendly, the tasks in the Introduction path contain a mixture of coding, testing, designing, and constructing. So it required focus and stable teamwork for the Ninjas to complete their buggies in time for the challenge showcase. And that is the place constructing with LEGO items was actually useful.

Coding entrance and centre, because of the Raspberry Pi Construct HAT

Having LEGO bricks and the Construct HAT obtainable to create their Raspberry Pi–powered robotic buggies made it simple for our Ninjas to deal with writing the code to get their buggies to work. They weren’t counting on crafting expertise or duct tape and glue weapons to make a chassis within the comparatively quick time that they had, and the coding might be entrance and centre for them.

Probably the most thrilling half for the Ninjas was that they had been constructing remote-controlled robotic buggies. This is likely one of the superb issues Raspberry Pi makes potential whenever you use it with the Construct HAT and SPIKE™ Prime set: it’s easy to make the Raspberry Pi on the coronary heart of the creation discuss to a cellular machine by way of Bluetooth, and off you go controlling what you’ve created by way of a telephone or pill.

The Raspberry Pi Construct HAT and LEGO® parts at our CoderDojo

The LEGO Technic motors which are a part of the LEGO Schooling SPIKE Prime set are of actually prime quality, and so they’re tremendous simple to program with the Construct HAT and its Python library! You'll be able to change the motors’ pace by setting a single parameter in your code. It's also possible to simply write code to set or learn the motors’ precise angle (their absolute place). That permits you to finely management the motors’ actions, or to make use of them as sensors.

A few of our groups, impressed by every little thing the SPIKE Prime set has to supply, tried out programming the set’s sensors, to modify their robotic buggy on or assist it keep away from obstacles. As a result of we solely had about 90 minutes of digital making, not all groups managed to complete including the additional options they needed — however subsequent time for certain!

A young person programs a robot buggy built with LEGO bricks and the Raspberry Pi Build HAT.

With a bit of extra time (or one other Dojo session), it could have been potential for the Ninjas to make some very superior remote-controlled buggies certainly, full with headlights, brake lights, sensors, and sound.

Studying with LEGO® parts and Raspberry Pi computer systems

When you've got entry to LEGO Schooling SPIKE Prime units to your learners, then the Raspberry Pi Construct HAT is a superb addition that enables them to construct complicated robotics tasks with quite simple code — however I feel that’s not its principal profit.

A robot buggy built by young people with LEGO bricks and the Raspberry Pi Build HAT.

As a result of the Construct HAT permits your learners to work with LEGO parts, that lots of them already perceive one facet of the creation course of: they’ve bought expertise of utilizing LEGO bricks to unravel an issue. In a coding or STEM club session, or in a classroom lesson, you may solely give your learners restricted period of time to finish a challenge, or get their challenge prototype to a secure level. So having the ability to depend on your learners’ present expertise in making the bodily construct leaves you much more time to help them with what they’re truly right here to study: the coding and digital making expertise.

You and your younger folks subsequent!

The tasks utilizing the Raspberry Pi Construct HATs had been such a success, we’ll be getting them and the LEGO Schooling SPIKE Prime units out at each Dojo session any further! We’re excited to see what younger folks world wide will likely be creating because of our new collaboration with LEGO Education.

Have you ever used the Raspberry Pi Construct HAT together with your learners or younger folks at house but? Share their tales and creations within the feedback right here, or on social media utilizing #BuildHAT.



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