This months theme is “Water a plant day”. Not as big a topic as International Women’s day, or Earth day, but really important nonetheless. Especially when you forget to water your wife’s (or mother’s) potted plants while she is away and they all die. So for this months workshop we’ll be building an electronic system to detect if a plant needs water.

This project will be using an Arduino and a water sensor, as well as a bit of Python to make it work. It’s a great introduction to some of the very inexpensive electronic and embedded computer kits you can get today. Arduinos and Raspberry Pis cost around the $30 mark. Kits with all sorts of sensors can be purchased for around $50-100. This makes it very easy to get into building connected devices, and ultimately (with maybe an Electronics Engineering degree) the Internet of Things (IoT) industry. It is a really exciting time to be an electronics enthusiast as these devices would have had prices in the $1000 mark 15 years ago.

There are lots of options to get into electronics and building little hardware projects, as well as lots of things to learn. All of it won’t fit into the time we have for the workshop, but we will get through the basics of Analogue and digital, sensors, as well as some intermediate Python. This workshop will be focused less on creative expression, but the skills that we cover will make all sorts of cool art exhibits possible.

Register

The event is free and being held at Bitmaker at 220 King Street West on the 2nd Floor, starting from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. To attend, please register at Eventbrite.

What is happening?

This event will have a Drop-in Lab, and the workshop will focus on learning about the Arduino and some intermediate python.

Drop-in Lab

Bring your own ideas, or use our project guides that are available for all skill levels. Everybody works at their own pace with help from the Mentors. Available activities for our drop-in sessions are:

  • Scratch – creating interactive stories or games (beginner, ages 6-10, minimal typing)
  • Web Development – make your own website or application (intermediate, ages 10+, typing skills required)
  • Arduino – learn hardware program with this easy-to-program circuit board (intermediate, ages 10+, typing skills required)
  • Something else? – tell us what you’d like to learn! Let one of the mentors know what you have in mind, and they will assist you with finding resources

Arduino Workshop – Plant water sensor

This workshop will be run by CoderDojo TO Mentor Michael (Me!). Participants will build a prototype plant water sensor using an Arduino and a moisture sensor. You will only need to bring your laptop, but you are welcome to bring your Arduino (or sensor) if you have one. This will be a prototype which we will make on an electronics breadboard. The project will be a simplified version of the one found here. We’ll be replacing the relay and water pump section with an LED to keep things simple, but that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t follow those instructions later to have it actually water your plant. The programming will be done in Python and will make use of some of the intermediate Python that is covered in the Beginner python next steps article.

Things to Remember

  • Kids coding drop-in lab, ages 8 – 17 only
  • Bring Your Own Laptop or Android Device
  • All skill levels welcome
  • Bring your own ideas or use our kid-friendly resources
  • Adult accompaniment required at all times
  • Bring a snack, but remember that we are a Peanut-Free environment
  • Have Fun!

If you have any questions, please email toronto@coderdojo.ca

Michael West

About Michael West

Michael is a CoderDojo Mentor with 10 years of teaching experience in IT. He has worked in Asia for several years teaching English to kids, and loves to program and tinker with electronics in his spare time. He currently works as a Technical Trainer at SuMO IT Solutions delivering ServiceNow Training