Thursday, 16 April 2015

Raspberry Pi CodeClub week 11

I was really excited about this week, not just because it was the first club of the term, but because a load of goodies from Pimoroni to get stuck into.

The school have been hugely supportive of CodeClub and when I asked if I could purchase some additional equipment to help with the Raspberry Pi Club, quickly agreed.

If you've been reading this blog, you'll know that I've been less than impressed with the standard Raspberry Pi cases that were supplied with the model Bs we're using. They are great at protecting the Pis, but only if you're not accessing the GPIO pins. This has resulted in one set of bent pins and lots of fiddling about trying to open the cases.

The children had also found that the while the mini breadboards were perfectly usable, they were quite small and tended to flop around a bit when connected by several jumper leads.

Therefore the Pibow Coupe with breadboard base seemed like an absolutely perfect solution. Along with some half-sized breadboards and a bunch of PiGlows, I reckon I've got some great sessions ahead this term.

This week everyone (minus the two girls who had an emergency netball practice - these things happen) put together their Pibows and breadboard bases. They really liked the candy-bag style wrappers and enjoyed seeing how all the laser-cut pieces fitted together.

We only had one casualty. The Pibows are super sturdy when assembled, but each individual layer is quite fragile by itself. One number 2 layer managed to come a cropper and snapped although the case could still be assembled and you can't really spot the missing segment. The only disappointment was that it was my son - who already has plenty of experience at assembling Pibows who was the clumsy culprit!

As the children transferred their current projects from the mini to half size breadboards it was clear that this new arrangement is much more stable and will allow them to work more easily on the shallow desk in the computing suite.

This week also saw the debut of my new PiBox - a big plastic toolbox that I'll leave at school to store the Pis, boards, cables and components.  Previously I'd been using an old photography case but it was not ideal and it was difficult to store the children's projects safely in between sessions.  The 3 layer PiBox is much better:

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