mike16 wrote: ↑
Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:56 am
I am an educator who is teaching grade 12 Computer Engineering for the first time.
Presumably this is not a new course, but is being taught by you for the first time using Raspberry Pi computers. While I teach a different computer related course (numerical methods) one thing that stands out from other courses (except perhaps music, art and physical education) is how much difference there is between students preparation: some are expert programmers while some have difficulty even typing. Some are good at typing but have trouble understanding logic. Some understand the theory but can't seem to distinguish between the letter l and the number 1 in their code.
To do any physical computing projects, it helps to have a bunch of wires, breadboards as well as passive and active electronic components. Unfortunately, it is fairly easy to burn out the Pi by shorting or incorrectly connecting the GPIO pins. I would try to get some general programming and networking done before the students start breaking things. It would be nice if there were an indestructible buffer hat that could protect the Pi from damage due to incorrectly connected GPIO wires, but I've never seen such an accessory.
One possibility is, after about a third of the way through the course, the students form as many project groups as half the number of Pi computers. At this point, each group would select one of the projects suggested in the resources above, the MagPi magazine or found online. Each project should have an associated bill of materials and budget. After all the projects are approved I would order the wires, relays, motors and other passive and active components needed for all the projects along with some spares. This would obviously work best for a year long course.
I'm not sure how to prevent carelessness that might result in damage to the Pi. Here is a policy idea: lose one letter grade on the project for breaking the Pi once and project failure for breaking two Pi computers. I'd also offer assistance to help check the wiring before applying power as well as discussing how to avoid damage from static electricity and other precautions.