Hack the Pi Begins!

Well it has been a LONG time since I have written a post. I have spent some serious hours prepping and organizing how I would integrate Raspberry Pi into my science curriculum. The day has finally come as my weekly Hack the Pi series is beginning.

So, how did I get to this point? 

I became interested in the Raspberry Pi at the end of last year when I was researching for ways to make learning computer programming more project based. I decided I NEEDED a class set of Pi’s and so the planning begun on how I would get the resources I needed. The computer science department chairman at our districts’ high school contacted me about helping with my girls coding club, so of course  I mentioned what I wanted to do with the Pi’s. He told me he had a few Pi’s he could give me to start me off. 10 Cana kits later my vision seemed to be happening. Originally I wanted to have my students access the Pi’s with remote desktop on the class set of chromebooks because I did not see how I could get enough monitors and keyboards. After learning how to do the remote desktop I thought it was something 8th graders could handle – but not my 6th graders. I went back to the department chair and he happened to have 18 old monitors and keyboards in the storage room, this was the perfect amount for us to work in pairs. 3 grants later I was able to purchase 8 Raspberry Pi 2 B’s, 8 HDMI/VGA adapters, 18 breadboards, jumper wires, 18 wifi USB cameras, 8 wifi USB adapters and 18 containers from Dollar Tree. Now that my classroom was filled with the essentials I needed a plan of attack.

How am I connecting to Science Standards?

The new Next Generation Science Standards have an engineering component to them. The following NGSS practices are going to be my guide while designing/tweaking lessons from the Raspberry Pi website. The practices are: Asking Questions & Defining Problems, Developing & Using Models, Analyzing & Interpreting Data, Engaging in Argument from Evidence.

I am treating my students as computer engineers on each Hack the Pi Makerday. They will write a developer reflection after each project they are assigned. The night before for homework students will be assigned to watch a video of me setting up the Hack for the following day. This is to ensure they have the most amount of class time possible working with the Pi. See picture below for what my MakerBoxes look like:

makerboxes

What are the projects I am planning to do?

Here is my current schedule for the Hack the Pi series:

Day 1 – How to set-up the Pi & learning key uses of the command line

Day 2- Introduction to Minecraft Pi

Day 3 – Storytime with Python

Day 4 – Minecraft Photo Booth

Day 5 – GPIO Music Box

Day 6 – Blinking LED

Day 7+ – Motion Detector alarm system that Posts intruders picture onto a website.

*I am also planning on having “MakerWeek” during Open House week. I’m not sure what that is going to look like but I have about two months to figure it out. That is all for now, stay tuned for weekly updates!

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