Advice and pointers for starting a STEM electronics lab


I'm investigating the possibility of starting a lab in Cape Town, South Africa for children between the ages of 6-16 to learn STEM concepts by building electronic using Arduinos.

Any pointers and advice on signing up sponsors for hardware and teaching material would be greatly appreciated?

~ mitch ~

Several issues to consider:

First, you need a PC for each station that will use the Arduino IDE. The good news is that they don't have to be high-powered machines. Try asking some of your local stores that sell computers if you could post a sign telling about your program and if they would donate their old machine to the cause. Try to limit two people per work station.

Second, you need the Arduino hardware. Actually, I'd go for a bunch of Nano's at $3.50 each, a number of breadboards to match the number of PC's, and a bunch of parts (e.g., LED's, resistors, sensors, servos, LCD displays, motors, etc.) Look on eBay for "Arduino Starter Kits" and you'll find lots to choose from.

Third, instructional material. There's a ton of it free on the Internet and some of it is quite good.

I think you will quickly find out that the students will come to the course with an idea of what they ultimately want to do. Some basic instruction at the outset of the course, and then let them attack what their interest is. At that point, you are there as a resource person. Fight the urge to give them answers. Instead, point them in the right direction and let them find the answer. They will learn more about problem solving that way, plus they are more likely to remember it.

Thank you for your input. Great advise about using Nanos.

Hi There,

you could check out CODEMAKR ( it's free, was built specifically to take children from MIT's Scratch to the Arduino, it has it's own downloadable app for connecting to the Arduino and compiling in a child freindly way.

give it a go, it was a fully commercial app, until the BBC decided to replace the Arduino in the UK with it's own MicroBit.