Maker Science with Arduino and SparkFun Electronics @NSTA14 Boston


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Learn how to integrate Arduino, microcontrollers, programming, and electronics into the K-12 classroom within your science class with SparkFun. We offer a wide range of free tutorials, project ideas, and resources on our site: as well as several classes and workshops throughout the country!

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  • What is science? What is the nature of science? – Inquiry, Investigation, Experimentation…
    But, we’re past the ages of using rulers, stop watches, and old school techniques to investigate our world. How are real scientists doing it?
  • Plug it in. FTDI is Serial buffer, 5V, GND, reset.
    40-50 miliAmps source
    3.3V system. 9 pins broken out. PWM and analogs. You can reconfigure analog ins to be outputs.
  • Talk about different board types
  • Talk about different board types
  • I’m not sure if this one works. It did not work on the Danger Shields that we had in the classroom. 
  • This is a new learning platform for Arduino to be released in the next few months. It integrates 5 white LEDs, an RGB LED, a microphone, light sensor, temp sensor, slider, switch, button, and two general purpose I/O ports.
  • Maker Science with Arduino and SparkFun Electronics @NSTA14 Boston

    1. 1. Jeff Branson Education Outreach Coordinator Email: Derek Runberg Curriculum Curator Email: @sparkfun #nsta14
    2. 2. Pause… Before we move any further, let’s make sure that we all know each other in this room? Please introduce yourself to the person(s) sitting in your general vicinity. Tell them a few things about yourself, maybe: – where you’re from – what you teach – why you’re here – what you hope to get out of this….
    3. 3. About Us At SparkFun, our focus is all about creation, innovation, and sharing information. Open Source Hardware is at the core of our business. We emphasize researching, re- mixing, adapting, making improvements, and sharing with the world!
    4. 4. “ Teacher s t hat make… Make gr eat t eacher s” -Anonymous
    5. 5. Arduino / Microcontrollers a.k.a. Physical Computing “Arduino is a tool for making computers that can sense and control more of the physical world than your desktop computer.” A micro-controller is essentially a brain – or, think of a bunch of programmable “elves…” It is the guts of something like Vernier, Pasco, or Fourier
    6. 6. What can this thing do? Remember, think programmable “elves” We can use this to: - Turn on lights - Interface cameras (take photos) - Log sensor data (temp, pressure, humidity, light…) - Communicate with your PC and the internet (a.k.a. Internet of Things) - Take Science Fair to the next level…
    7. 7. How it works? 01010011 01110000 01100001 01110010 01101011 01000110 01110101 01101110 SERIAL DATA @ 9600 baud
    8. 8. Hardware Configurations / Connections What’s a Pin? 14 general digital input / output pins 6 analog input pins (Pins A0 – A5) Nitty Gritty: Powered off anything from 7 – 15V DC Voltage Regulator provides 5V and 3.3V Standard TTL logic – 5V is HIGH, and 0V is LOW.
    9. 9. Getting started • Download Arduino from: • Follow their directions on installation.
    10. 10. Startup Arduino IDE • Double-click on either the Arduino Icon or wherever you installed (saved) the Arduino program.
    11. 11. Plug in your RedBoard (Arduino)
    12. 12. Lesson #0 – Setting up Arduino 1.Setup Board –Arduino Uno 1.Setup COM Port –PC – Highest COM # –Mac – /dev/tty.usbserial-A####xXx
    13. 13. Tools  Board  Arduino Uno Setup Board
    14. 14. Tools  Serial Port Setup COM Port PC – Highest COM # Mac – /dev/tty.usbserial- A####xxx
    15. 15. Anatomy of code General syntax: – Case-sensitive – Semi-colons – Curly-brackets void functionName()
    16. 16. Just the basics Turning an LED on and off…
    17. 17. Open Challenges 1) Create a heartbeat – a realistic one! 2) What is the fastest blink that your eye can detect? What is the frequency of this blink? Now, move the LED back and forth – do you see a “trail”? What are some interesting scientific investigations you can explore with this? 1) What about making a timer?? – blink the LED for 10 seconds and then stop! 2) What other ideas?
    18. 18. Introducing the Danger Shield What’s a Shield?
    19. 19. Sensing – Slider – AnalogRead(A0)
    20. 20. Serial Monitor 01010011 01110000 01100001 01110010 01101011 01000110 01110101 01101110 SERIAL DATA @ 9600 baud
    21. 21. Sensing – Light – AnalogRead(A3)
    22. 22. Sensing – Temp – AnalogRead(A4) This sensor: TMP36 has a sensitivity of 10 mV / °C = 100°C / V and is 750 mV at 25 °C.
    23. 23. Converting between ADC value to voltage?
    24. 24. Pre-created example programs
    25. 25. Preview of Digital SandBox Slider / PotentiometerSwitch Motor / Speaker Out Push Button Microphone Light Sensor Temp Sensor LED Array RGB LED Arduino
    26. 26. Now what? • Interested in professional development? Want to learn more? – Check-out our SparkFun Inventor’s Kit (SIK) – Also sold as a lab-pack for schools – 15 complete circuits with a full-color experiment guide. – Guide is available as a PDF. • Teacher Prof. Dev Workshops available: – Contact:
    27. 27. Questions? email: twitter: @sparkfun Interested in any of this? E-mail us about our 20% educator discount –