Achievement House Blog

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Raspberry Pi: The Little Computer That Could

Julia DeBald

Being able to learn the mechanisms behind what makes a device tick is a very marketable skill. The credit-card sized computer known as a Raspberry Pi has proven to teach today’s students how to begin to understand the magic behind computers and other technologies. Lucky for AHCCS high school students, Innovation Academy offers the Raspberry Pi Projects 1 course that lets them learn about this small but mighty machine.

Raspberry Pi Projects 1 is a semester long class where students explore circuits and basic electronic machine automation. This inspires them to get excited about the robotic and electricity basics that are taught throughout the course while teaching them how to code. Any student who wants to take this course is required to take and pass the Introduction to Python course so that they are knowledgeable enough to continue using this computer programming language in combination with the Raspberry Pi. Co-teacher of Raspberry Pi Projects 1, Mrs. Mastauskas, explains why these skills will help her students well into the future.

This class is so hands on and engaging that you can feel the students’ and teachers’ excitement from day 1,” Mrs. Mastauskas says. “It opens up the opportunity for students to learn new age technology and all the potential it has.

Students work on so many unique and engaging projects throughout this course. In the first few weeks of class, students are tasked with building basic circuits to design a light up LED greeting card. Some of the bigger projects include using the Raspberry Pi platform to design, build, and program real-world objects such as traffic lights, whoopie cushions, race cars, and more. The Raspberry Pi then allows these items to do things like turn on and off or move in all different directions. All supplies needed to complete these projects are mailed to the students’ homes. For students who receive a 90% or higher as their overall course grade will be able to keep their Raspberry Pi materials. Co-teacher Ms. Renninger explains why she feels the skills obtained in this class can be used in any career field.

This Innovation Academy course is rooted in the 4 Cs: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication,” Ms. Renninger says. “We hook their curiosity and creativity from the beginning by showing them how to use electricity, coding and basic mechanics. The skills they learn can open doors to many avenues, regardless of what students venture into.

Thank you, Mrs. Mastauskas and Ms. Renninger, for sparking curiosity and seeing the potential our students have! For any student who wishes to get a taste of robotics and even compete in competitions, please contact Mrs. Mastauskas or Ms. Renninger to learn about joining our Robotics Club!