What do u do if ur about to run Pi Club and there r workman in the way? – Get them to show the children the inside of the alarm their working on of course! 

Well what at first looked like a disaster actually turned out to be an informative opportunity! Due to the extensive school building work that’s going on we are having to work around the workmen as much as possible. When we turned up to run Pi Club we soon realised it might be a little tricky as the workmen were busy wiring up the intruder alarms in the room, however when they discovered what the children were doing they were very impressed. They had never seen a Raspberry Pi before and couldn’t quite believe that children so young were confident in using GPIO pins wiring them up to breadboards, using jumper wires, knowing to use ground, understanding the use of resistors to protect the LEDs and then coding it all to be operated by a button. We took the opportunity of their presence to give us a little tutorial on the work they were doing inside the alarm and showed us the circuit pins, LED, sensors etc. 

After we had had a good look inside the alarm we set to work on looking at GPIOzero. Now all our sd cards have been updated to Raspbian Jessie we can make good use of this feature.  It makes using the GPIO pins so easy and we no longer need to open Python through idle. We used the Getting started resource off the Raspberry Pi website https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/getting-started-with-gpio-zero/

This resource shows us how to control the output and input of the GPIO pins using LEDs, buttons and Python. The children were given the sheets and asked to work through them and try to debug any potential issues. During the session a couple of children thought they had a problem with their Pi – they had a code that ran, they had wired up correctly but still the LED would not light. The one thing they had not checked was did their LED work in the first place? We showed them a quick and easy way to check by using a cell battery and holding the LED legs to it positive to positive and negative to negative of course. 

Bingo the original LED was not working so we tested a new one before attaching it to our circuit. 

Everyone was really enthused at the ease of using GPIOzero and look forward to working through the resources over the next couple of weeks. 

Spring Term 2016 Session 4