Learning Math and CS with Robotics
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Physical Computing with Arduino
  • Lessons for new concepts
  • Activities for homework


This one-semester course introduces students to the fundamentals of physical computing. The emphasis of the course is software development concepts for hardware interfaces using Arduino. Students also learn the basics of electronics and how Arduino responds to sensors. Then students design and build fun and imaginative prototypes as team projects. At the end student teams can present their projects.

* Approved with D science credit. More information about UCOP A-G approved C-STEM courses is here.

Learn how to control digital devices, such as LEDs and ultrasonic sensors, using RoboBlockly's built-in, drag-and-drop Arduino commands! 

Unit 1 below introduces students to the basic concepts of controlling an Arduino with RoboBlockly by means of a virtual LED simulation. Unit 2 introduces students to electronics and physical computing using an actual Arduino and electronic accessories. Unit 3 introduces students to the use of a breadboard for wiring circuits with an Arduino. See the end of the page for the hardware and software needed for Units 2 and 3, plus Arduino setup instructions.


Unit 1. Introduction to Arduino using Virtual LED Simulation
Chapter 1: Learn Arduino with a Virtual LED
Unit 2. Electronics and Physical Computing with Arduino
Chapter 2: Arduino Setup
Chapter 3: Blink an RGB LED Module
Chapter 4: Use a Joystick with Arduino
Chapter 5: Use an Ultrasonic Sensor with Arduino
Unit 3. Electronics and Physical Computing with Arduino and a Breadboard
Chapter 6: Use LEDs with a Breadboard
Chapter 7: Analog Input with a Potentiometer
7.1. Use a Potentiometer for Analog Input
Chapter 8: Analog Input with a Photo-resistor
8.1. Data Acquisition and Plotting Using a Photo-resistor

Hardware needed for Unit 2:

Barobo Arduino-Compatible Basic Kit:


Hardware needed for Unit 3:

Barobo Arduino-Compatible Starter Kit:

Software needed:

RoboBlockly at www.roboblockly.com (free)

Windows and MacOS machines: Install free ChDuino software (see Section 3 of the Arduino Setup Instructions file below for instructions).

Chromebooks: Install free Arduino Controller extension (see Section 3 of the Arduino Setup Instructions file below for instructions).

Arduino Setup Instructions