Use an Arduino and three LEDs to make an electronic, binary die to teach students about data representation, programming basics, and Arduino in an engaging introductory activity.

  • This is a great first programming exercise for introductory courses, because very little material needs to be covered before introducing this activity, and students begin problem solving in a programming context early on.
    • This introductory activity also reinforces introductory Arduino lecture content (e.g., setting pinModes, manipulating LEDs to be on/off, running certain pieces of code when the button is pressed).
  • Activity: Students will make a representation of a six-sided die (the singular version of dice).
    • The activity involves students programming the Arduino’s button and 3 LEDs to make the electronic die.
  • Activity Prep:
    • Create pre-wired circuits on an Arduino with Arduino’s button and 3 LEDs.
      • This makes it so students don’t need to worry about the hardware side of Arduino so they can jump straight to the programming aspect of this activity.
  • Activity Goal: When the button is pressed, a random number from 1 to 6 will be represented in binary by the LEDs.
  • Successful completion of this activity will result in boards that look like the picture below.
    • This board shows a die representing the number 3.
Circuit board with working LEDs

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Interview with Mark Zarb

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