Raspberry Pi and Codrone

Kathrine Chalman Huddleston August 1, 2017

To encourage more STEAM learning, the Charles Ralph Holland Memorial Library held “Code a Drone” with our very own CoDrone and “Learning Raspberry Pi with Mr. Hyde” sessions. Both of these programs taught our teen patrons the basics of computer science and allowed them to utilize the library as an interactive resource for learning. All the materials for both of these projects are now available as part of our new makerspace cart, and there are instructions with each set.

For “Code a Drone,” the drone came disassembled, so teens first put together the remote as a team to navigate and upload code to the drone via Bluetooth. Next teens inputted lines of code into the free Arduino system to signal the drone when to fly, how far to go, in what direction, and where to land. This was much easier said than done, but the teens had a great time learning by doing. No matter what skill level the teens were at, they were still able to upload a few lines of code with the examples and online tutorials provided. The drone was also functional with the use of an app for teens wanting to take it for a quick spin.

“Learning Raspberry Pi with Mr. Hyde” involved connecting Arduino Mini Nano boards to module airplane servos and LEDs. This allowed the participants to program the lights and servos with Arduino’s open-source electronic prototyping platform. The teens enjoyed assembling their servos with “eyes” capable of detecting light and coding LED lights to blink at different rates per minute. Retired professor Mr. Hyde offered to teach the class as long as we bought the materials. The Teen Summer Learning Resource Grant made these two programs possible and provided us the materials to keep on teaching these courses and adding to our curriculum.

Type: Active
Age: High school
Optimal size: 11-20
Estimated cost: $100+
Planning time: 5+ hours
Frequency: One-time

Learning outcomes

  • Gain familiarity with Raspberry Pi and some computer science basics.
  • Gain familiarity with the Arduino platform and how to “verify” before uploading code.
  • Be able to program the Pi to work with available equipment (LED lights and servos).
  • Be able to fly a mini drone and learn how to code basic flight commands.
  • Increase knowledge of computers.
  • Learn how to work as a team.
  • Learn how to use the library as a resource for understanding technology.
  • Demonstrate curiosity.
  • Sharpen academic skills (e.g., study skills, research, reasoning).


Both coding projects were publicized in the local newspaper, the Jackson County Sentinel, weeks before. Flyers and handouts were passed around during the town’s annual Poke Sallet Festival and displayed in local businesses. The local schools sent information home with each student, and local teachers promoted the event. It was also spread by word-of-mouth.

The Charles Ralph Holland Memorial Library’s events took place every Thursday and Friday, 3–5 pm. The CoDrone Pro session was facilitated by the director, Kate Chalman, and patron Donald Hyde instructed the teen participants in Raspberry Pi.

The makers of the CoDrone Pro have detailed instructions and lessons for setting up and operating the CoDrone. The lessons progress from beginner to advance, with mission exercises including CoDrone battles. We only covered the beginner levels, but teens were encouraged to return and learn the more advanced lessons. A link to all the lessons can be found here: https://basecamp.robolink.com/cwists/category#products=%5B1%5D&selected_sort_by=alphabetical.

The Raspberry Pi lessons were facilitated by Mr. Hyde and the handouts included the pictures below in the other resources section. In the lesson, he helped each teen in turn connect and upload commands to their Nano board. Commands included lighting up, pausing, blinking, and turning on the mini airplane servos. These lessons were outlined on Arduino’s website, and much of what Mr. Hyde went over is covered in Arduino’s online resources: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/ArduinoNano.

The materials needed for both projects were purchased off of Amazon and the links can be found below. Also needed is a laptop or computer for each teen to program from. Only one needed to share for the Codrone.

Usb to mini cables:   https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-3-Pack-Plated-Hi-Speed/dp/B007NLW3C2/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1496881822&sr=8-6&keywords=usb+mini+b+cable

Mini Nano Boards:  https://www.amazon.com/Longruner-ATmega328P-Controller-Arduino-KY64-10/dp/B01MSYWE6B/ref=pd_sim_147_6?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01MSYWE6B&pd_rd_r=JNPDMYWVRDNHTV2HBRCT&pd_rd_w=NZO1f&pd_rd_wg=5yRyG&psc=1&refRID=JNPDMYWVRDNHTV2HBRCT

Mini Airplane Servos: https://www.amazon.com/Longruner-Helicopter-Airplane-Controls-KY66-5/dp/B01NB8M039/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1496886140&sr=8-9&keywords=servo&th=1

LEDs: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UWBJM0Q/ref=psdc_2314207011_t1_B0181WE5I6

Robolink Codrone: https://www.amazon.com/Robolink-Programmable-Educational-Beginner-Tutorials/dp/B01K3VCN64/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501649573&sr=8-1&keywords=codrone


About half of the teen participants had basic coding knowledge, but the other half had little to no experience. None had actually worked with a CoDrone, Raspberry Pi, or Arduino. All participants were interested in learning more. In the end, the program was successful in introducing teens to new technology and piquing their interest and curiosity, as participants requested that the program be held again in the future. It was also by far one of the most popular activities the library has ever held.

The program as a whole was not without some hiccups, however, as the teens needed help assembling the CoDrone’s remote. For reference, there are many lessons provided online. There was also not enough time in the one session to teach everything that Mr. Hyde had intended to go through, and the teens barely had time to connect the mini airplane servos. My suggestion to fix this issue would be to break the lessons up into multiple sessions and, if needed, purchase additional equipment such as RC servos or robot cars to keep things interesting each session. Both programs should be split up into multiple sessions to cover more lessons and help with troubleshooting.

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