In today’s world, there is a lot of emphasis on computer and programming skills, which is wonderful, and yet there is less focus on practical skills. We live in a society that is very focused in the now- when socks have holes, throw them away and buy more; there aren’t checkbooks anymore- balances are available online instantly, but if the bank’s wrong no one knows. Teens that I have worked with don’t know how to write a check, let alone how to write in cursive, or how to make a household budget. Things that I grew up with as normal, such as knowing how to replace blown fuses in a house or how to change a tire on a car, how to write a check or make sure the grocery list comes in under budget, aren’t so normal now, or aren’t normally taught. These and other life skills are ones that we can easily teach in a library setting.
One of the very cool things that you can do with Raspberry Pis is to teach wiring and hardware programming to teens. These skills transfer into the real world- teaching them how LED wiring works on a breadboard can transfer to changing a light fixture at their house, or rewiring a fan. It can transfer to fixing the screen on a phone, learning how electricity works, and understanding that computers do far more than just typing words on a screen.
LED stands for “light emitting diode,” something that I think is getting lost with time. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, and are used for a variety of things, from computer signals, to house lights and building signs.
For the very basic wiring and electric theory, you don’t even need a program for the Pi’s; they’re just there to provide the electrical current to light up the LEDs. I’ve put my teacher’s notes in slideshare below for the beginning lesson on LEDs and wiring using the equipment from the Raspberry Pi kits.