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Upcoming Raspberry Pi Family Coding Day Project

I’ve had a lot of people email and message me asking me what I’m doing with the Raspberry Pi and I wanted to share before the actual RMOUG Quarterly Education Workshop, (QEW) this Friday at Elitches.


So a little history-  When I was a kid, I was a real handful.  My mother used to come into my room and I’d have created “webs” out of yarn strung from every piece of furniture and twisted into patterns.  I used to take apart radios and use the parts to create new toys, figuring out how the electronics worked.  Dolls suddenly became cyborgs and we wont’ talk about what I used to do to poor, defenseless stuffed animals.  My destruction and “recycling” used to exhaust her to no end, but what I used to create new toys out of, rarely occurs in today’s world and when the Raspberry Pi was introduced to the stage, I was immediately smitten…:)


As many know, I’m also a grand supporter of STEAM, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) as part of the success in filling the 1.4 million open positions that we are posed to have available in technology by 2020.  That number is only going to grow and I don’t see our public education system building out core knowledge to embrace technology in a way that kids will have been introduced to logical thinking and coding to entice them to careers in technical fields.  Public educations just doesn’t have the resources or the vision to do this and I feel its up to us who are here, in the technical arena now.


With that said, it took some convincing to get the QEW to include a family coding event.  We were already late getting the new board in place, so we’ve been scrambling ever since!  Devoxx4Kids will be onsite and they’ll be doing a session on how to build Minecraft modules.  I’ll be teaching the Raspberry Pi session with attendees.  The project will have all areas of STEAM covered, which is quite a challenge to do in one project with kids!

The attendees will bring their Raspberry Pi setups with their parents [hopefully] in tow, and I’ll be providing small motors, pre-soldered with connectors to attach to a pibrella board that was part of the “shopping list” from the website.  The Pibrella board is a small add-on board to the Raspberry Pi that makes it easy enhance projects and it’s one of my favorite additions to my setup.  With the motor, and a small lego base, the kids will then use ART supplies to build a small project, it can be an animal, a flower, a design from stickers, even a spinner or other flyer.  The art project can be ENGINEERED any way they want, to either spin, dance or fly off the motor.

Along with art supplies, I’ll have LED lights and small watch batteries that can be used to power the lights and add to their projects.  I also have magnets to use to “attach” flyers to bases to launch which all bring in some components of SCIENCE into the project.


Once they finish their creation, we’ll attach it to a motor and start up our Raspberry Pi’s.  Each attendee will open up a text editor and CODE some simple timing and spinning rotations, adding different enhancements to the code, depending on what they want their project to do, (I have three coded examples that they can edit with different times, start with the execution or use the button on the pibrella to commence, etc.)

They’ll then EXECUTE their code and see if the initial TIMES COMPUTED work with their project or if they need to adjust the MATH to make the project work.

Once they are satisfied with the project they built, we’ll discuss how they might imagine to enhance their project.  Would they add lights?  Would they add music?  Might they change the physical design or code?  I want them to use their imagination and their logical thinking skills to see how cool technology can be.


My youngest son, Josh, seen above, has been helping me with this project, using his master soldering skills to assist me attaching the jumper wires to the motors, helping me test out different art projects and flyers to ensure that the code works like expected and that my new [non-brand name] Lego case secures my different card installations correctly.

Thanks for listening to me rant so I can take a break from everything and hopefully, we’ll have a RAGING turn out for the family coding event, people will stick around and listen to me also ramble on about Enterprise Manager Hybrid Cloning to the Cloud and then have a great Hands on Lab using a AWR Warehouse I created for this event!

See you Friday!




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