Arduino Inventor's Guide: Cardboard Projects Integrating Electronics and Computer Science

Location: Room 006AB

Explore and create Preregistration and additional fee required.

Registration code: WM239

Fee: $59 (After May 1, $63)
[Explore and create : Workshop]

Monday, June 26, 5:30–7:00 pm
Location: Room 006AB

Brian Huang   Derek Runberg  
In the last decade, Arduino has become a staple for makers to add interactivity to projects. We have been working on a book highlighting a number of projects that can be done using Arduino with cardboard, ping pong balls and assorted electronics. Come for a demonstration of one of these projects.

Fee: $59 (After May 1, $63)
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: PC, Mac
Participant accounts, software and other materials: * Arduino IDE Software (
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Project, problem and challenge based learning
Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: Teachers : Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
Students : Innovative designer
Students : Computational thinker
Related exhibitors: SparkFun Electronics

Digital tote resources

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will:

* Understand the fundamentals of Arduino programming to measure and monitor temperature.
* Understand how to control a simple Servo motor to move a flap open and close.
* Construct a small scale-model green house using simple materials like cardboard, transparency films, and hot glue.
* Integrate sensing and acting for a fully automated, temperature controlled greenhouse
* Develop methods for introducing this activity or modifying this activity for use in a standard classroom.


This presentation is an excerpt from a book that we are working on. With Arduino, you can build any hardware project you can imagine. This open-source platform is designed to help total beginners explore electronics, and with its easy-to-learn programming language, you can collect data about the world around you to make something truly interactive.
The Arduino Inventor's Guide opens with an electronics primer filled with essential background knowledge for your DIY journey. From there, you’ll learn your way around the Arduino through a classic hardware entry point—blinking LEDs. Over the course of the book, 13 hands-on projects will teach you how to:
Build a stop light with LEDs
Use LEDs to display sound readings
Design and build a desktop fan
Create a robot that draws with a motor and pens
Create a servo-controlled balance beam
Interface with Processing to make a digital Etch-a-Sketch
Report weather sensor data to
Each project focuses on a new set of skills, including breadboarding circuits; reading digital and analog inputs; reading magnetic, temperature, and other sensors; controlling servos and motors; and talking to your computer and the Web with an Arduino. At the end of every project, you’ll also find tips on how to use it and how to mod it with additional hardware or code.
Workshop Outline:
I. Introduce Arduino and the electronics parts (5 minutes)
II. Introduce the problem / project prompt: Need to build a temperature controlled habitat. (5 minutes)
A. Guide teachers to brainstorm ideas and solutions.
B. Break solutions down into parts -- apply design thinking and a systems approach to problem solving.
III. Investigation I -- Measuring Temperature (60 minutes)
A. Introduce wiring of TMP36 with Arduino. (10 minutes)
B. Sensor Calibration and Measurement (30 minutes)
i. TMP36 is a linear temperature sensor: 10 mV / deg C and has a calibration point of 750 mV at 25 deg C.
ii. Use this information to develop a mathematical scaling model: temp (deg C) = 100*(volts) - 50
iii. Add this code to Arduino to display temperature in both deg C and deg F
C. Integrate moving of a servo motor for a flap (10 minutes)
D. (Time permitting) Integrate a motor driver circuit for a fan to move air. (10 minutes)
IV. Greenhouse construction and assembly (45 minutes) -- not possible in 90 minutes. Skipped over, but mentioned. (10 minutes to discuss and highlight the process)
V. Clean-up / Re-cap / Debrief (10 minutes)
A. Discuss extensions to this project.
B. What additional collaborations with other teachers / subject areas are possible?

Supporting research

Arduino CTC Program:

No Starch Press Book Landing Page:



Brian Huang

Brian Huang graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s of science degree in Electrical Engineering in 2000. He discovered a passion for teaching and working with kids while volunteering at the Science Museum of Minnesota. He also holds a masters in curriculum and instruction in Secondary Education from the University of Colorado. Brian has taught algebra, geometry, physics, physical science, and introduction to robotics at a high school in Colorado, and is the mentor and coach of FIRST Robotics team #3807 - the Blazerbots at Overland High School.

Derek Runberg, SparkFun Electronics

learning starts here

San Antonio

June 25-28, 2017

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