Last year, I wrote a grant to purchase our 3D printer, Little Bits, and 2 Raspberry Pis. I jumped right in with the 3D printer and Little Bits but full disclosure I didn’t do anything with the Raspberry Pis. They lived in their boxes for almost a full year before I actually had students using them. I’m not sure if I was intimidated, unsure of what to do with them, or frankly just super busy and it wasn’t on the top of my list. No matter what the reason, I’m ashamed I didn’t just dive right into the boxes last year.
When I was at NCCAT a couple of weeks ago, an amazing teacher brought her Raspberry Pi and we we spent some time playing with it. I realized that it was super easy to use, and I couldn’t believe I had 2 in boxes that I haven’t put in the hands of students yet. I told myself when I go back to school, that was the first thing I would do. So, I did!
I decided I would channel it though the Girls’ Coding Lunch Bunch because it was a group of students that are super excited and I knew they would be super proud of their outcome. I started by showing the girls the inside of a computer and to my happy surprise they all knew what a motherboard was.
We talked about the specifics of a Raspberry Pi, what it does, and how to put it together. Then I turned them loose in 2 groups. I gave them the directions and materials they needed and let them go to work.
They were excited, smiling, and focused.
Within 15 minutes these 4th graders had figured out how to put together the Raspberry Pi and were loading software to get started!
We then checked out the programming activities, and games that were already loaded on the Raspberry Pi. The girls were super stoked to see a Pi version of Minecraft! One student asked if other students would be able to use the Raspberry Pi even though they didn’t put it together. I asked them what they thought and they all agreed that everyone should be able to play and learn with it. Another student was really excited and said her younger brother would LOVE to play Minecraft during coding club. I told her that I would give him the opportunity to do that, but she had to go home first and explain to him about the Raspberry Pi and what it was like putting it together. She was so excited she said “YES!” and jumped up and down.
The next morning, her younger brother came running into the MakerSpace and said, “I want to see the Raspberry Pi my sister built!”. A smile came over my face and I thought, this is what it’s all about. Inspiring students to take charge of their learning and share it with others.
I’m only ashamed it took me so long to open the box.