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Coding with Digital Electronics

Coding with Digital Electronics

Regular price $169.00 Sale

We learn when we work with our hands, hearts, and minds. This class blends coding with electronics on two digital learning platforms: the BBC Microbit and AdaFruit Circuit Playground Express. Both are tiny programmable computers designed to make learning easy and fun.

Each students gets their own Microbit to make projects combining hardware and design with coding. Create with ideas and physical materials. Students make games and simulations, participate in group activities, and experiment with digital art projects. They learn programming concepts such as loops, conditionals, variables, and events along with hardware concepts such as sensors, resistance, analog versus digital data, and wireless communication.

By engaging in hands-on computation before the age of 11, students are ready to tackle the abstract study of computer science concepts during their middle school years.

Note: Students bring their own Windows/Mac laptop to this class (or rent one). Start Code provides all other hardware used in class.

  • Who: 3rd-5th Grade Students
  • Duration: Six weeks
  • Decatur - Toco Hills Schedule:
    Saturdays 9:00-10:15am or
    Wednesdays 4:30-5:45pm
  • Next Start Dates:
    Sat, February 23rd
    Wed, February 20th
  • Tuition: $169, includes Microbit to take home

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About the BBC Microbit:

Each student in this class takes home their own Microbit. The Microbit is an educational tool in the world of programming and was created by the BBC (yes, the same people who brought us Dr. Who and Sherlock). It allows students to create interactions between the real world and various sensors embedded on the stand-alone platform with lights, buttons, sensors, and wireless communication. Coding is accomplished with either a block-based tool, Javascript, or Python, and you can easily create simple interactive programs based on input from the sensors. Designed for educators and beginners, the Microbit is a good way to get into the very basics of programming and reading sensors. 

After deploying the Microbit for one year in UK schools, the BBC commissioned an impact study that found:

- 90% of students said the micro:bit showed them that anyone can code.
- 86% of students said the micro:bit made Computer Science more interesting.
- 70% more girls said they would choose Computing as a school subject after using the micro:bit.

Adafruit Circuit Playground Express

Circuit Playground Express is a logical next step towards electronics and programming. Like the Microbit, it supports block-based or Javascript programming. Then, you can use the same board to try CircuitPython, with the Python interpreter running right on the Express. As you progress, you can even use the Arduino IDE, which has full support of all the hardware down to the low level, to make whatever you can think of. 

Many wearable computing and costuming projects make heavy use of the Circuit Playground Express. Get ready for DragonCon with that super cool costume with lights and sound. Tony Stark, anyone?

"From beginners to experts, Circuit Playground Express has something for everyone." - AdaFruit

What's Next?

After attending our Digital Electronics Lab, students can join our Elementary Intro to Programming lab to try more coding projects and fun group activities. Or they can join our Python Coding with Minecraft class to automate building things on a Minecraft server with Python code instead of by hand. 

Older students entering middle school can join our more advanced Starter Labs with tools like Python, Java, App Development, and Unity3D.. Our Starter Labs are designed to allow students to continue and keep learning as long as they are interested. Many continue for a year or more.