by Laura Dobos
My most recent tech tool exploration was with a tool made by Arduino, called the Arduino UNO. Within the lab, we have the project kit, which comes with the Ardunio UNO, a breadboard (the part with the circuit connections), bulbs, various sensors, wires and a number of other circuit accessories. For someone who hasn’t used many sophisticated coding and circuitry products, the instruction manual that came in the kit was a saviour. There was an explanation of each accessory and how it is used, and it also has projects that are laid out step-by-step to help even the most novice of coders understand what is being done. The Arduino UNO is an amazing product, for people who are either good at coding, or are willing to encounter a lot of problem-solving and patience. Now, I am by no means an expert coder – I have become quite competent at block coding, and therefore have a good understanding of sequential thinking, which, some would argue, is essential for coding, but I digress. I really enjoyed learning how to create circuits on the Arduino, then using the software interface on my computer to code the Arduino to do certain things. My favourite project used a heat sensor and light bulbs to indicate how hot something touching the sensor is. To do so, I had to create parallel circuits, using resistors, different outputs, the light bulbs and the heat sensor. Once the circuit was created on the breadboard, and the breadboard was connected to the Arduino, I coded the Arduino to turn on specific light bulbs depending on the temperature of the item touching the sensor. The project was somewhat intensive, however when I was finished and the project worked, I felt so accomplished and my knowledge about circuitry and coding the Arduino was much greater.
The Arduino UNO is a fabulous tech tool for intermediate classrooms, as it promotes understanding of various aspects of circuitry, sequential thinking, problem-solving and coding. I found there was a steep learning curve initially, but as I got more comfortable with the concepts (and with the help of the projects manual), I was capable of doing much more in a short amount of time. If you have an interest in technology and want a cool new tool to learn about, Arduino UNO is definitely a fabulous option.
Arduino UNO is available through the Arduino Website.