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Raspberry Pi Projects for Kids [Paperback]

Daniel Bates
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Mar 2014 1783982225 978-1783982226
Technology today is growing rapidly, with all sorts of cool gadgets, applications, and games made thanks to the rise of computer programming. The Raspberry Pi is a crafty device that has promoted the teaching of basic computer science in schools, catching the attention of both young and old. Although learning to program offers a unique set of skills that allows you to explore your creative side, it has its own challenges, which may mean you will need a helping hand.

This handy guide will launch you into the world of computer programming by showing you how to build your own amazing applications. Raspberry Pi Projects for Kids contains several awesome projects for you to get hands-on with, including creating your own games, crafting your own simple electronics, and making your own interactive map. By learning how to use Scratch and Python in your programming, you will be a computer scientist in no time!

After you have become comfortable with setting up and playing with your Raspberry Pi, you will be transported into this exciting world of technology, where you will get to grips with using Scratch, Raspberry Pi s official programming language, in order to develop your own version of Angry Birds! After connecting new circuitry, lights, and switches to your Raspberry Pi, you will then get to use Scratch to create your own reaction game. See for yourself who s the quickest off the mark!)You will finally get to step things up by developing an interactive map of your own hometown using the Python programming language. You will be working for Google before you know it!

This book will teach you everything you need to know about using your Raspberry Pi in order to develop your own games, applications, and electronic circuits. It s time to have your Pi and eat it, because you will be able to create virtually anything you like.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (25 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1783982225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783982226
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 18.8 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 406,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Daniel Bates is a Computer Science researcher at the University of Cambridge his day job involves inventing designs for future mobile phone processors, and when he gets home, he likes playing games or working on one of his coding projects (or both!). Daniel has been a volunteer for the Raspberry Pi Foundation since 2011, and is enthusiastic about introducing new people to computing. He has previously written Instant Minecraft: Pi Edition Coding How-to for Packt Publishing.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By ColinD
Format:Kindle Edition
First, a disclaimer: I'm one of the volunteer technical reviewers of the book, albeit I do not know Daniel the author and hence do feel I remain impartial. Having read it cover to cover more than once and having gone through every single example I do feel I'm qualified to comment on the book and recommend it.

The book is split into essentially three projects (one with extensions - see below) with the compulsory Getting Started with the Pi that all Pi books seem to have leading the reader in. However kudos to the author for both introducing the command line in the first chapter (an important topic), and also providing a short troubleshooting section for common my-Pi-doesn't-work problems.

Over to the projects: the first, writing a simplified version of Angry Birds in Scratch, is a great way into programming. What I absolutely love about this project is that it introduces an element of real world physics into the equation of how the character moves around the screen. This isn't just yet-another "my cat moves" project. Oh no. On Page 30/31:

"Adding physics...
First, let's add some gravity".

This is done by using separate x and y "speed" variables. Changing the value of y by a negative amount will effectively act to pull the character a little back to earth. This is a great concept to introduce to kids: that variables can be used to control stuff, and you can simulate real-world physics in a computer. It really sets off those neurons: what else can I model in a computer? Absolute top marks to the author for including this. I was smiling a lot when I read this section while reviewing the book.

Onto the second project, and from here on in we're moving from Scratch to Python.
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Format:Paperback
I was sent a review copy of this book by the publisher, Packt. As usual, however, this will be an impartial review.

Raspberry Pi Projects for kids is a slim volume printed in black-and-white by Daniel Bates, a computer science researcher at the University of Cambridge. In the past (though I’m not sure about currently), Daniel has volunteered for the Raspberry Pi Foundation and did a lot of work on early versions of Minecraft Pi Edition. He previously wrote Instant Minecraft: Pi Edition Coding How-to for Packt, the publisher of his new book, Raspberry Pi Projects for Kids.

The book has an easy-going, but very clear, style and has been very well written and edited to be concise but accessible to it’s target audience: kids and their parents.

The book opens with the usual introduction to the Pi and a guide on how to get it set-up. It’s 14 pages long and includes a good troubleshooting guide at the end.

The next chapter is Scratch-based and goes from first principles through to creating a clone of the Angry Birds game. I applaud the author for this chapter. Too often, Scratch programming examples are very simple and don’t go far enough in showing what can be done with the language. Daniel Bates has taken the approach that what kids want at the end is a working game with everything in place. So, he’s even covered getting projectiles acting as though gravity affected them.

The next chapter moves onto Python and into the world of physical computing. Whereas other books go into circuit prototyping with breadboards, Bates has taken a different approach. His circuits are built with cardboard, paper fasteners and paper clips!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for kids who are interested in learning programming quickly and easily by playing with a Raspberry Pi 4 Jun 2014
By Norbert Varga - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I’ve read this book on the weekend, and liked it very much. The author knows how to keep the attention of the reader (who is possibly a kid) through the book.

The introduction section is pretty straightforward and well illustrated with photos, so anyone can understand how to power a Raspberry Pi up and install the operating system. The book’s structure is good, it’s nice that the introduction starts with using Scratch which I think is a very good tool to show kids how programming works. Building a simple Angry Birds clone with it is quite simple yet entertaining, and shows a lot of the capabilities of Scratch.

The next chapter is about building a simple controller device and wiring it to the Pi. The author should have included some actual photos of the building process, not just schematic images, but at least those are fine and a crafted kid would be able to build it by reading the book. The Python examples are easily understandable and explain GPIO pin usage clearly. The interactive map chapter shows how to use GUI elements with a nice example using Google Maps API to download map images and displaying it in a self made application window. The chapter also explains how to interact with the window.

I think Raspberry Pi Projects for Kids is a very cool book for a child who is interested in how programming works, and wants to try it out quickly and easily without being bored reading other science books about programming. If you have a child who might be interested, go buy this book (and a Pi)! :)
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and useful book for Kids and Adults 28 May 2014
By Sam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As an Enterprise Architect focusing on Smart Building and sensors, I want my kids (7 year old John and 5 year old Emma) to have fun with electronics and computers, but I also want to keep it fun and also make sure they learn the basics of computing.

This books is fantastic as it covers just enough details for setting up Raspberry Pi - it is very nice for a 7 year old to have a good instruction/steps to follow. The Scratch game projects are so much fun, having worked with Android and iOS game programming, I never thought gravity, physics, sprites can be so much fun !!!

Also I am using my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 editon tablet PACKT mobile application to read the ebook - it is a great reading experience.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great way to introduce kids to hardware and software 7 May 2014
By Romin K. Irani - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
The book is compact, around 100 pages long and I believe aims to introduce kids to programming via the Raspberry Pi.

The chapters are as follows :

Setting up your Pi: This chapter is essential so that you get introduced to the Pi and also make sure that all is well with setting it up.
Introduction to Scratch : This chapter is a nice introduction to Scratch. And I particularly loved the example project “Making Your Own Angry Birds Game” , which most kids will relate to (I mean even us Adults !)
Testing Your Speed : I thought this chapter was the best. It combined the Raspberry Pi with a little project to build your own Hardware controller out of the most simple pieces of stationery and wire. The hardware controller was then used to write a game in Python, the code working with the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi. If the kids get this chapter, I think they will have a riot of ideas and will be able to adapt this application to several other scenarios from daily lives.
Google Maps : The last chapter was an introduction to writing a program that integrates with Google Maps for your local area.
To use the projects in the book, it is important that you do have a Raspberry Pi with you, setup with an internet connection. I do not believe that the kids need to have a programming background to pick up stuff, though some of the Python code does require an experienced programmer to explain things to them. In my opinion, the ideal age for kids in this book is around the 10-14 age group.

Overall, this is a great book to introduce kids to Raspberry Pi and software/programming languages like Scratch and Python. I believe by mixing both hardware, graphical programming language and a text based programming language, it provides a flavor for everything to the budding programmer of tomorrow and is bound to help kids start thinking in multiple directions.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun projects that introduce programming and electronic concepts 27 April 2014
By Joshua Datko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While my daughter may be too young to start learning electronics, I’m on the lookout for interesting projects. Raspberry Pi Projects for Kids by Daniel Bates has three fun, well described projects.

The first project shows how to create your own game with Scratch. I’ve heard of Scratch, but never seen it in action. Daniel has readers build an Angry Birds like game and I think it’s a great project to introduce kids to programming. The interface reminds me of an environment Bret Victor describes that is highly interactive and responsive.

The next project introduces basic electronics by building a custom game controller. I can see kids really enjoying this project. The project would probably need parental assistance, but I think this would be an opportunity to work on a project with your child. The last chapter details how to add a GUI and use the Google Maps API. Again, this is a fun project although I’m not sure it is very Pi specific.

Overall, this book is a good collection of projects. If you already know some programming, then you can probably tackle the projects by yourself. If you are a kid who wants to learn programming and electronics, than partner up with a more experienced friend and get going!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this eBook to write this review.
4.0 out of 5 stars Three original projects. 17 April 2014
By David Bernier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book presents three original projects. There is a Scratch-based project, a GPIO/Hardware project using Python, and a Python-GUI project.

Before reviewing the projects, I would like to comment on a trend found in most, if not all, books dedicated to the Raspberry Pi. It is my hope the future authors of the genre will see that there is no need to include what seems to be a mandatory chapter dedicated to setting up the Raspberry Pi or preparing the SD card with the latest Raspian distribution. A links to the most up-to-date Raspberry Pi Foundation "Quick Start Guide" web page [....]) does a good job at this and also serves as a good example on how to find information related to hacking away with the little computer that can. Readers would then be rewarded with books entirely focused on projects. To finish on this rant, I was glad that there was no 'Python 101' pre-introductory chapter that also plague several Raspberry Pi books.

Now that I've almost fallen into the trap I was criticizing, let's get down to the projects business. The first project is about programming an Angry Birds type of game. This one reviews the Scratch interface (good job at keeping it down to three pages) and the various components of making a video game. Those seeking a quick step-by-step recipe might be in for a disappointment as the instructions are focused on designing the functionalities of the game. This is a good base for learning how to design a program. I will most likely end up using some of this material to teach my own students.

I really liked the 'Testing Your Speed' project. This one will end up in my own lesson planning. This project exploits the Pi's GPIO pins by building a controller made out of office materials such as paper clips and fasteners and sticky tape. I liked that apart from obtaining male-to-female wire and/or a Pi Cobbler breakout board and a prototyping breadboard, there was no need to order other components. However, the chapter's layout would benefit from clear and obvious warnings regarding the dangers of shorting the wrong pins on the GPIO ports as it looks rather diluted within the bulk of the copy.

Finally, the last project is about making an interactive map using Python and its GUI modules. The project relies on using the Google Maps API to obtain mapping data. A list of widgets presented at the end of the chapter outlines valuable extension potential from this project.

While this book is not recommend for elementary school age kids, I definitely recommend it to teachers and parents seeking to support kids learning how to code.
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