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Introduction to the Raspberry Pi

Code Club and the Raspberry Pi Foundation

In 2015 Code Club and the Raspberry Pi Foundation joined forces.

It’s not a requirement for Code Clubs to have Raspberry Pis, there are lots of Code Club projects that don’t require them, but if you do that’s awesome and there’s lots you can do with them.

You can complete the regular Code Club courses (Scratch, HTML & CSS, Python, Sense HAT and micro:bit) on a Raspberry Pi as well as projects that are specific to the Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi

raspberry pi
raspberry pi

The Raspberry Pi is a small but full-featured computer on a single board. It plugs into a monitor and you attach a keyboard, mouse and speakers.

The Raspberry Pi can be used for browsing the web, creating documents and spreadsheets, playing games, watching videos and lots more.

It also provides a great environment for learning programming and digital making. You can also connect up hardware to the Pi’s GPIO (general purpose input/output) pins and learn to program using electronics components.

The Raspberry Pi can also be built into custom projects such as interactive museum exhibits or home automation solutions.

Please see our Raspberry Pi Setup Guide to get started with using the Raspberry Pi computer.

Why Raspberry Pi?

There are two key reasons that Code Clubs might choose Raspberry Pis:

  • Raspberry Pis are a practical, portable and inexpensive option for Code Clubs to use as their main computers or to increase the number of computers they have available. If monitors, keyboards and mice are available or can be donated then costs can be kept down. The Raspberry Pi operating sytem comes pre-installed with lots of options for coding which makes it easy to get started.

  • For venues that have access to other computers for use in Code Club, the Raspberry Pi offers a useful extension for teaching children about physical computing and another operating system (Linux). Using Raspberry Pis in a Code Club also puts children on a path to being able to access the wealth of digital making resources that are available from the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the wider community.

Key features:

  • Scratch 1.4 (You can run also Scratch 2 in a web browser)
  • Python
  • Two-way integration with the micro:bit
  • Minecraft Pi edition with Python programming
  • GPIO pins for working with electronics components
  • Lots of hardware add ons available such as pixel displays, robotics kits and a high quality camera
  • Lost of resources and project ideas available for beginners through to hobbyists and professionals

How Many Raspberry Pis Do We Need?

You can start off with just one Raspberry Pi and have a different child, pair or small group working with it each week.

If you have more that’s fantastic, you’ll be able to get through the projects more quickly.

Code Club Projects for the Raspberry Pi

The first Code Club Raspberry Pi project goes through setting up the Raspberry Pi hardware and exploring what the Pi can do. We recommend that volunteers work through this project to prepare.

We have selected some additional Raspberry Pi projects that are particularly suitable for beginners as a way to get Code Clubs started with the Raspberry Pi.

Code Club Projects on the Raspberry Pi

You can also complete the regular Code Club projects on a Raspberry Pi using either online tools or offline editors. This is a good option for children who have not yet completed all of the Code Club projects.

Code Club Scratch Projects

The Code Club Scratch projects use Scratch 2.0. You can run Scratch 2.0 in a web browser on the Raspbery Pi.

You’ll need to follow the instructions in Using Scratch 2.0 on the Raspberry Pi.

Scratch 1.4 is installed on the Raspberry Pi so you can also run the older archived Code Club Scratch projects.

Code Club Python Projects

The Code Club Python Projects are written for the Trinket editor which you can run in a web browser on the Raspberry Pi.

Alternatively you can complete the projects using the Python 3 (IDLE) editor which is installed on the Raspberry Pi.

Code Club HTML & CSS Projects

The Code Club HTML & CSS Projects are written for the Trinket editor which you can run in a web browser on the Raspberry Pi.

Alternatively you can complete the projects offline using the text editor which is installed on the Raspberry Pi. Projects can then be viewed using the Chromium web browser.

Code Club Sense HAT Projects

The Code Club Sense HAT projects use the Trinket emulator which you can run in a browser on the Raspberry Pi.

Alternatively you can use the Sense HAT emulator for the Raspberry Pi.

If you have a physical Sense HAT then you can use that. Note that it’s easier to develop and test some projects using an emulator as you can easily change the sensor readings.

Code Club BBC micro:bit Projects

The Code Club BBC micro:bit projects use the PXT editor which you can run in a web browser on the micro:bit.