Avocado Beginner Board - Learn to program with Arduino
This kit is great for those of any age who want how to learn how to program while also using and learning the scientific method.
The Avocado Beginner Board
The Avocado Beginner Board makes learning programming simple, fast, and fun. With the Avocado Beginner Board, our Lab Notebook, and an Arduino (not included), you can learn how to program at a fast and engaging pace.
Why the Avocado Beginner Board?
Thirty years ago, my first program was "Hello World!" in BASIC. In 2013, when I showed my 10-year-old some beginning programming books in Python, she wasn't impressed or interested. In the present age of 3D computer graphics with millions of colors, text-based output is lame. Nowadays, everyone wants to code iPhone Apps. The problem is that iPhone Apps are complex and difficult. They're not a first step into programming. While there are a few software packages that produce fun output, they don't teach programming languages that are used in the real world. Usefulness in the real world is why the Arduino platform attracted me. With the Arduino microcontroller, beginners learn a simplified version of the C programming language and use it to create fun programs that make real things work.
Although Arduino is easy to program, it can be a pain to setup.
In order to execute a small program that turns on three LEDs, you need six jumper wires, three LEDs, three resistors of a certain value, and a breadboard.
This is where the Avocado Beginner Board adds value.
With the Avocado Beginner Board, no wiring is needed. Nine LEDs, two sensors, two switches, and a speaker are permanently wired to a sturdy circuit board that snaps right into an Arduino microcontroller. With the Avocado Beginner Board attached to your Arduino, it is fast and easy to create programs and see instant results.
Why the Lab Notebook?
One of the great things about working with the Avocado Beginner Board is how quickly you can iterate and experiment as you learn. This is facilitated by the Avocado Beginner Board Lab Notebook. Just like a science class, students learn through iterative experiments of increasing complexity. The book begins with an introduction to the scientific method. Each lesson then starts with fundamental programming principles, a review of the commands that will be used, and an example program. After coding and executing the sample program, problems are presented that require the student to synthesize and apply their learning in new ways. Students quickly change and execute their modified code to test their assumptions. This iterative approach quickly builds problem solving aptitude, a critical skill for any person in a technical field.
The Functional Prototypes
Three assembled Avocado Beginner Boards prototypes have been produced. The initial PCB design was sent to a professional PCB maker to qualify the design and verify the quality of the supplier. Upon receiving the bare boards, I assembled the first board myself. The other two boards were assembled professionally to test the production process and obtain accurate quotes for assembly. All three boards were tested and verified to be working as intended.
The first 12 of 20 example programs in the Lab Notebook are already written. It will be professionally published as an 8.5" x 11" perfect-bound book. Presently, I expect it to be 75-100 pages. An answer key for all the problems will be included at the end of the book.
The Production Plan
With this Kickstarter, we intend to make a minimum of 100 boards. The funds requested will go toward procuring PCB boards, the electronic components, professional assembly, and publication of the Avocado Beginner Board Lab Notebook. Based on real data gained from producing the prototypes, discussing modest ramp up with the vendors, and economies of scale, I have high confidence in my ability to deliver the product on time. All vendors are American companies shipping from US cities. Final assembly and testing will occur in Albuquerque, NM. The initial Kickstarter orders will ship from our business headquarters in Albuquerque, NM.
Yes, if we meet our initial goal, we will be announcing stretch goals. I've already got several ideas for awesome stretch goals that will enhance the Avocado Beginner Board, delivering more value to our backers.
The Avocado Electronics T-shirt
Risks and challenges
Because the prototype is quite far along, the main work left to accomplish is the completion of the Lab Notebook. Writing must be finished, then it needs to be copyedited and formatted before it is sent to the professional printer. I have extensive experience writing non-fiction, having authored journal articles and a PhD dissertation. I am also experienced in writing for young scientists. Over the past few years, I've written a handful of grade-school science lab lessons for parents to work through with their children. I don't expect any difficulty in completing the Lab Notebook.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)