The UK has been facing a major science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) skills gap for several years now. It’s thought to cost our economy £1.5bn each year, and there are growing concerns that the fallout from the pandemic is driving many existing tech workers to change roles too.
This shift puts an even greater onus on education providers to engage young people in STEM subjects and set them up for future employment opportunities. There are various tools and platforms out there designed to do just that, with one of the most famous being the Raspberry Pi.
This microcomputer can teach children valuable lessons about coding and electronics in lots of fun and practical ways. Raspberry Pi kits are relatively inexpensive too, making them ideal for introducing into the classroom.
Below are five ideas for fun learning projects. You can find free step-by-step guides for them and many others by searching around online!
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Build a security camera
Does your school need a hand with surveillance? The Raspberry Pi can be connected to cameras and motion sensors to record live footage and trigger alarms if intruders are detected.
You don’t have to treat it as a security camera of course – a Raspberry Pi camera project could be used to observe anything, including nature and animals!
Assemble a weather station
If your children ever want to practice being weather reporters, they might love to use a Raspberry Pi to monitor and collect weather data using a variety of compatible sensors.
A weather station Raspberry Pi project could track temperature, humidity, air quality, and wind all at the same time – both indoors and outdoors!
Create a retro gaming system
Did you grow up playing retro games like Mario Kart, Zelda, and Donkey Kong? While many iconic titles are likely to be less familiar to the children of today, it’s relatively easy to turn a Raspberry Pi into a retro games console that they’ll love to experiment with. Raspberry Pi devices are also the birth platform of Minecraft. While it may not be the subject of every course, any good coding for kids curriculum would cite this console as a good resource and practice platform for the Python programming language.
Teachers can have lots of fun with these kinds of projects too!
Construct a computer
The Raspberry Pi, by its very nature, is a computer that’s designed to be built by the user. By connecting components such as screens and keyboards, kids can complete a variety of basic computing tasks while also learning how to program.
Building a computer this way will usually work out far cheaper than buying a ready-made computer or laptop too!
Set up cloud storage
Taking their understanding of computing even further, Raspberry Pis can be used to introduce children to the concept of file storage. Kids can use the Pi’s operating system to remotely access files while learning more about the security risks that affect so much personal and public data.
The Raspberry Pi is a powerful tool that more and more educators are embracing. Could any of these projects inspire your children to get into STEM?