What is the Raspberry Pi?
The Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive computer the size of a credit card that allows anyone, even kids, to explore computing. Simply plug it into a computer monitor or TV and it functions just like a desktop computer, allowing users to browse the internet, play videos, make spreadsheets, write, or play games.
What makes the Pi truly remarkable is that it teaches you how to program by creating functional projects. The ease of use makes the Raspberry Pi perfect for children and adults who want to learn coding and understand how computers work.
The Raspberry Pi website has instructions for a score of different projects. These projects make learning the basics of coding and programming fun. Users feel a sense of accomplishment after creating their own games, websites, music, art, and functioning robotics! Users can save their progress to a Raspberry Pi account if they don’t have time to finish the project in one sitting.
Let’s discuss a few of these projects and how they work.
There are a variety of games for users to create with their Raspberry Pi. There are step-by-step instructions for each game. Games typically require hardware, software, and downloads to create. The hardware includes your Raspberry Pi and a computer. The software is typically a version of Scratch. Scratch is a visual programming software that creates games and animations with easy-to-use blocks. As the user follows the steps to create their game, they are also challenged to add optional elements that are more difficult to improve the final result.
Building a website is a valuable skill for people of all ages. Coding a website teaches users the basics of HTML and CSS. Website building can be done using a computer and web browser. The Raspberry Pi website walks users through creating websites of increasing complexity and difficulty. The website designs range in content from story-telling to recipes, and each design type teaches new skills. The coding is not limited to website design- using their Raspberry Pi, users can build web servers as well.
Users can write their own music, code existing songs, play musical games, DJ, create special effects, and even code their own musical instruments with their Pi. These projects increase in difficulty in a variety of ways, from adding additional instruments to a song to looping multiple compositions to play at the same time. Coding music also shows students the relationship between music and mathematics. Most of the music projects utilize Sonic Pi, a code-based music creation tool. Like the other open-source programming tools Raspberry Pi utilizes, Sonic Pi is free.
Stretch your creative capabilities by creating digital art. Learn how to animate scenes, generate patterns, create custom colors, design 2D and 3D assets, and more. Digital art projects use Blender, HTML, CSS, Python, and Scratch. All the programming languages used are free and open source. Those with access to a 3D printer can follow printing instructions as well as design their own creations after practicing.
Possibly the most exciting of Raspberry Pi functions is robotics. Combine electronic components, your Pi, and a programming language such as Scratch or Python to build a robot that follows commands. Plans for building the physical body of a robot can be found on the Raspberry Pi website.
There are truly no limits to what you can learn with Raspberry Pi. Pi provides an ideal starting point for anyone who wants to learn to code– incorporating multiple programming languages and hands-on projects that are accessible for free. The projects you can create with the Pi are not restricted to what we’ve listed, the potential is limitless. Not sure which Raspberry Pi is right for you or your student? This buying guide includes pricing and product specs.
Sheri Holshouser is a marketing manager based in Dallas, Texas. In her free time, she likes to read science fiction novels and play with her pug Chloe. Learn more about her professional qualifications on LinkedIn.