This week was a fun-filled, successful week of Piper computers!
Piper is an award-winning Rasperry Pi kit that's endorsed by Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Wozniak (Apple Co-Founder)! At bitcubs, we believe it's on the best teaching tools for Computer Science. We were lucky enough to teach the great kids at LeafSpring school this summer. Here's the story of our experience.
Throughout the week, all of the students learned about hardware, software, and programming. From learning what a Raspberry Pi is and how it functions to learning how to create music using the Sonic Pi program.
The first day of camp consisted of the kids getting right to work on building their very own piper computers. Once the computers were up and running, the kids couldn’t wait to start on the Piper Code and Piper Universe adventure game.
Half of the class worked on building the units and playing Piper Universe, while the other half entered the world of Pipercode, where they learned to program their own games and devices using wires, buttons, and LED lights.
On day two, we introduced the concept of loops through a dance to warm them up. They danced along and reinforced the ideas by using loops in Pipercode. Later, many students were eager to progress on their Piper Universe games. They excitedly used the wires, buttons, switches, and breadboards extensively to fly through the levels.
On this day, students continued to wow us with their immense attention and interest to the games and coding.
On day three, we introduced the concept of parallel circuits. We had one student pretend to be the energy source and 3 other students pretended to be different electrical components (light, ipad, television) on the circuit. We discussed how each of these components required a different amount of energy to operate. Parallel circuits allow us to restrict the electrical current going to each component by allowing us to use different resistors. Several students completed the Piper Universe game and learned even more about wiring buttons, switches, and buzzers to their breadboards.
We then discussed digital citizenship, and what information should be kept private online. The students worked on a short packet together as a group during the discussion.
On the last day of Piper Camp, the students began by learning about Sonic Pi, a musical programming interface. We began with a warm-up where the students lined up, thought of a sound, then made their sound when pointed to. Students learned the “play” and “sleep” commands to play notes and rest between notes.
Students then continued to explore Piper Universe worlds. They wired the controllers themselves by connecting buttons (jump button, move left, move right, move forward) to a breadboard.
We ended the week with a “Treasure Hunt” game where students were partnered up. One of them closed their eyes, and the other student gave them commands.
Below is a video from one of the students, Quinn. Quinn is an absolute genius in computer science and music. Check out the song he made in just a few minutes. We were absolutely stunned!
Overall, the students took with them concepts about circuits, electronic wiring, coding, commands, and the physical aspect of computing. The Play Piper approach wrapped the complex ideas presented with computer science into a fun, yet challenging, digital adventure.