Ideas for simple projects

Let us assume you are teaching a class to kids around 15 year old. What simple projects would you build with these kids. Things like traffic light and Simon says.

Assuming they are doing some extreme basic programming.

A lot depends on the time and hardware you’re going to have at hand. One session or many? How long? How constrained are you on hardware?

I’ve taught a few classes like this, most often involving robotics hardware, and I would recommend maybe staying away from Simon type projects. Simon requires arrays to remember sequences and so you end up introducing more advanced programming concepts.

Keep the projects limited to loops, delays and if-this-then-that logic and a lot of physical interaction to keep engagement. That can include interesting stuff like robot dance contest (sequence of the most interesting moves wins); line following bot; bump-and-turn bot (react to contact switches); light follower; and so on. All of those require an hbridge and motor base, but they are high-impact and just involve variables, loops, if/then, GPIO and maybe a delay (sleep).

If you don’t have motor bases, then in addition to the requisite LEDs, I would recommend still incorporating switches and pots and/or a physical sensor (light, temp) plus a servo to keep the interest up. In my experience, stuff that interacts physically with the real world, either on the input or output side, is the most engaging.

Examples: move a servo when the light or temp changes (simulating opening a greenhouse shade or window). Build a lego garage-door opener that uses Sharp proximity sensors and a button.

I’ve been planning a summer group project where the students will activate peristaltic pumps to make flavored snow-cones, but those pumps can be expensive. Each student gets to program their own snow-cone to run on the shared hardware. They test using individual hardware and LEDs.

The secret to engagement - make it touchable and make it move.

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I like the floor piano from the movie “Big”. Would be a very cool project.

@ mcalsyn - sounds like I am going to work with you on this :slight_smile: I will give you more details later.

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