The Raspberry Pi

In this lesson, the class will learn what the Raspberry Pi is and practice setting it up and breaking it down. These lessons assume you won't be able to leave the Pi out and connected, so it's important to get the set up and break down time as fast as possible. If you do have the facility to leave equipment setup, then take a little longer on the activities.

Learning objectives

Students will learn:


Lesson Plan

Introduction to the Pi : 10 minutes

Show the students the Pi and ask if they know what it is. Explain that over the next few weeks they'll be learning how to use one, to write code on it, and to build circuits that will allow them to build a reaction timer. At the end of the sessions, everyone will compete to see who has the fastest reactions.

If you're not sure what the ports are yourself, make sure you look at this picture!

Show this unlabelled picture of the Pi and ask what the various parts are. Make sure you show:

Setting up and breaking down : 20 minutes

We want to waste as little time as possible setting up and breaking down, so we're going to have a competition running over the whole 6 lessons to see how fast we can get it. You'll use the following program to do the timing.

import time
start_time = time.time()
while True:

Tell the students you forgot your stop watch so you'll have to write one on the computer. Start Idle, create a new window and type the above code in. When you run the program the counter will start in the shell. You can adjust the size of the font using the options -> configure idle menu. Show the students what the output looks like and we'll be recording the shortest and longest time.

Ensure everyone is ready with their Pi equipment, and then start the program running. To end it you'll have to press ctrl + c.

Assign team numbers and write down how the fastest and slowest times it took to set up.

Remember where you saved the stopwatch program! We'll be using it again.

The result should be all the screens showing the NOOBS install screen, similar to below:


First booting : 15 minutes

Explain that the SD card that stores the operating system and all our files is currently not ready to use. We have to use the NOOBS interface to install the operating system. Here's how:

Check that the installation is proceeding as expected. You need this to work so that next week they can login to the Pi. This process takes about 10 minutes so while they wait, complete the following activities.

After Linux has been installed this screen will appear:


Ask the students to press the tab key twice to highlight the finish text, and then press enter. The Pi will then reboot and load the desktop.

Pack away : 5 minutes

These steps are included in the handout.


Use the internet to research the parts of the Raspberry Pi. Fill in the picture in the handout.


All students:

Most students: