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CoderDojo Twin Cities Micropython

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This website and GitHub repository are for sharing resources to teach MicroPython to students in 5th to 12th grades (10-18 years old). The course assumes that either a mentor, teacher or students have access to at least one microcontroller such as the $4 Raspberry Pi Pico or the $10 ESP32. Students should also have access to some low-cost sensors (buttons, potentiometers, ultrasonic distance sensor) and displays such as LEDs or OLED displays.

If you are looking for a specific topic, please remember to use the search function in the upper right of the website. The website is best displayed on a wide screen to see the navigation bar on the left although the website also works on the small screens of mobile phones and tablets.

Course Outline

You can use the navigation area on the left side panel to navigate to different parts of the website. Here is a high-level overview of the main sections of the site.

Section 1: Introduction to Physical Computing

This part is a high-level overview of what MicroPython is and why is has become the most popular way to do physical computing, program microcontrollers and build robots. We also discuss the different types of microcontrollers available, their price and features and how to purchase them independently or in kits.

Section 2: Getting Started with MicroPython

This part will help you get started programming MicroPython on your microcontroller and learn how to hook up parts on a solderless breadboard. We discuss the need for a desktop Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and how to get started writing simple programs

Section 3: Basic Examples

These ten lessons are the foundations for learning MicroPython. They include learning how to blink one or more LEDs, monitor for button presses, fade LEDs in and out using PWM signals, read analog values from potentiometers, read light sensors, turn motors and servos and display rainbow patterns on a NeoPixel strip. Many other labs are variations of these 10 labs.

Introduction to Basic MicroPython Examples

Section 4: Sensors

This section will give you more examples of how to use different types of sensors such as heat sensors, current sensors, rotary encoders, accelerometers, gesture sensors, and magnetic field sensors.

Reading Sensors with MicroPython

Section 5: Motors and Robots

This is our student's favorite part of this site! Once you can make a motor go forward and reverse, you are close to being able to make a robot move. We walk you through the basics of using a simple transistor to control a motor, to using simple motor controllers like the L293D chips.

Introduction to Motors and Robots with MicroPython

Note that we have many other advanced labs that use our $11 Cytron Maker Pi RP2040 Kits. These incredible boards have everything integrated to build robots with lights and sounds.

Section 6: Displays

This section shows you how to use many different types of displays, from simple 7-segment digital displays to complex OLED graphic displays. On the old 2K Arduino controllers these graphics labs used to be hard, but now we have 264K of RAM on the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontrollers. Now these labs are easy!

Section 7: Sound and Music

Having powerful microcontrollers allows us to generate complex sounds, play tones and even playback recoded sound effects.

Introduction to Sound and Music with MicroPython

Section 8: Advanced Labs

We have now covered all the things you need to build hundreds of projects. This section contains deeper dives into other topics such as how to use the MicroPython Remote ```pmremote`````` tools to automate the loading of software onto your microcontroller.

Advanced Topics

Section 9: Kits

This section contains detailed steps to use the popular educational kits that are now integrating MicroPython and the RP2040 microcontroller. There are many kits and these lessons contain full working programs to build complex projects like a collision avoidance robot with OLED displays.

MicroPython Kits

Lastly, we have a large glossary of terms, contact information and references to other websites that might be useful in your projects. Many of our more advanced projects have been moved into separate websites. Here are a few of these sites:

  1. Moving Rainbow - focus on a full curriculum around using LED strips to make displays and costumes.
  2. Robot Faces and have been moved into their own repositories.
  3. Clocks and Watches - dozens of examples that just focus on creating clock and watch projects. These projects use the Pico "W" and the new low-cost SmartWatch displays.
  4. Robot Day - details of building a single-day event to promote STEM at your school using collision avoidance robots.
  5. Beginning Electronics
  6. AI Racing League - this site moves from MicroPython on the Raspberry Pi Pico to full Python on Raspberry Pi single-board computers. It is designed for students who have mastered many of our programming labs and want more challenging projects involving data literacy, machine learning and computer vision.

Glossary of Terms

Glossary of MicroPython Terms


This is an annotated list of other on-line resources to help you learn MicroPython and use microcontrollers.

Micropython References - links to other useful sites.

If you have suggestions for additional references projects, please let us know!