Adafruit Circuit Playground accessories


#1

Hi Everyone,
I was not part of the pilot, but I will be teaching CS Discoveries next year and saw that students will be using the Adafruit Circuit Playground. I received a grant to purchase these, but since I am not familiar with them I don’t know what accessories I might need to go with them. I have to purchase them soon or else the money will be revoked and given to someone else :frowning:

Please help!

Thank you.


#2

Hi @asalas

Great to hear from you, and that’s awesome that you have a grant to purchase supplies for the Internet of Things unit. We are still wrapping up developing the unit, but I can tell you the draft list of materials that we plan to be putting in our official Code.org kit (which Adafruit will be posting on their site closer to the summer).

Our classroom kits will include:
15 Circuit Playground Boards --> note that if you buy circuit playgrounds right now they may not have some of the necessary software pre-installed, so you will likely need to follow up with us after you get them for instructions on how to get that on the board if they’re not working right. We are working with Adafruit to make sure that all the boards have the right software installed so they are more “plug and play”. URL: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3000
15 USB cable A/MicroB - 3ft --> One per board. URL: https://www.adafruit.com/product/592
10 x Small Alligator Clip kits (set of 12). URL: https://www.adafruit.com/product/592
12 x Multicolor LED Sequins (pack of 5) URL: https://www.adafruit.com/product/3377

Note that our classroom kits assume a 2:1 student to board & cable ratio. Depending on the amount of money you have, you can of course buy more.

Best,

Dani
CS Discoveries Team


#3

Thank you Dani. That helps!


#4

Hi @dani

I have a budget that I’m told needs to be spent this month, so I will probably be purchasing some circuit playground boards a little earlier than what is ready from Code.org. As far as the software that might need to be installed, is this something that I could follow a step by step with my students and have them do this fairly easily or do you recommend waiting until the boards are ready? Would it be possible to post these directions on CS Discoveries page somewhere?

Thanks!


#5

Hey Joe. There are some directions currently on Code.org that should help with set up.

This walks you through the computer set up and using within App Lab. I think we’re all hoping that by waiting, the process will become simplified. I’m sure most students could the follow step-by-step directions. I’d suggest doing it once yourself on a student machine just to make there are no issues with permissions that pop up. After that, just keep in mind that it’s all still being developed, which means the process could change from time to time.


#6

Hi @mharvey,

Thanks for the info!


#7

I was present during the summer training for CSDisco and there was mention of a discount code for purchasing kits. Does anyone know if the discount is available now? I just received my budget money and have to spend it by October or I lose it…


#8

HI Stephen,

The discount codes for teachers participating in our professional learning program won’t be available until early 2018, which unfortunately doesn’t match well with your timeline. However, the classroom kit is available for purchase here now if that option makes sense for you.

Best,
Sarah Filman


#9

I am putting together a shopping list for my supervisor. We have money that I need to spend with in the next two weeks. I was wondering if the Adafruit Playground Express also works with the Code.org units? I’d like to use the circuit boards with both Code.org and with Microsoft Make Code. Any thoughts?


#10

I would caution against the Circuit Playground Express only because it is still in development and doesn’t yet fully support all of the sensors, or even all of the Arduino commands. I’ve spoken with the folks at Adafruit about it and they are confident that they can make it compatible with the Maker Toolkit, but I can’t guarantee there won’t be bugs still around by the time you need to use it. The only board that we are officially testing with and supporting in this first year is the Circuit Playground Classic.


#11

I will be teaching Unit 6 Lesson 2-11 staring in January. Currently I only have the circuit boards and the Micro USB cables for the students. I installed the software and ran through all the lessons myself, and I didn’t see anywhere that the alligator and LED Sequins were needed. Is that for lessons outside my scope, or did I miss something?

Thanks!
Amy


#12

The LED sequins were not a part of the first version of this unit, but are included in a lesson at towards the end of the revised unit that we are currently working on. We expect to launch this revised version towards the end of January, so keep that in mind if you are planning to teach the unit out of sequence. If you don’t have the LED sequins you could certainly skip that lesson and jump straight into the final project.

Hope that helps!
Josh
CSD Team


#13

Hi Josh,
Are students currently able to use the alligator clips in Code.org?
Thanks!
Alison Anderson


#14

It depends on what you want to use them for. Early on we had the ability to use the numbered pads around the edge as touch sensors with alligator clips, but have unfortunately run into stability and peformance problems related to that. In the interest of a stable and reliable curriculum we’ve disabled that feature until our engineers can get the performance under control. You can, however, use the alligator clips to connect leds, buttons, and lots of other external devices to the board. Currently we only provide block support for programming leds connected in this way, but we’re working on adding more, and we do provide low level blocks that read and write to the pins.


#15

Charge Only vs. Data/Sync USB cables.
I ordered a Circuit Playground from Amazon to try it out and it didn’t come with a USB cord. I made a very important discovery about USB cables when I tried to use one I had at home. There is a difference between cords, even if they appear to fit correctly. I found the following statement on https://learn.adafruit.com/circuit-playground-lesson-number-0/usb-connection, which may be important to many of you.

“A HUUUUUUGE number of people have problems because they pick a ‘charge only’ USB cable rather than a “Data/Sync” cable. Make 100% sure you have a good quality syncing cable. Srsly, I can’t even express how many times students have nearly given up due to a flakey USB cable!”


#16

I see your detailed information regarding the 15 Circuit Playground Boards. To my understanding with the new update, will the information you posted here still cover the updates, or does anything change?

I am trying to find the place where I can get the kits, so I can order them now for next year. I have to work fast or I will loose the funding that they have ear marked for me.
Thank you for your assistance.
Harriet Foster
McDowell County Schools.


#17

The updates to the curriculum don’t change anything about the kit or purchasing process. You can order kits directly from Adafruit at https://www.adafruit.com/product/3399