Adafruit Boards and Mu
Adafruit make a wide variety of amazing microcontroller based boards which are capable of running their own version of MicroPython called CircuitPython. These boards range from the incredibly small to powerful boards with tons of built-in hardware features. Even better, Adafruit have nurtured and grown a thriving online community associated with CircuitPython and their amazing line of boards. This is a supportive and helpful place to be if you’re a beginner coder – especially if you’re into making small embedded computers (such as the boards made by Adafruit) do funky stuff with real-world peripherals, then this is the place for you.
Mu’s Adafruit mode is made in collaboration with Adafruit and makes it very easy to create projects and write code for their line of boards. For example, your Python code to run on Adafruit boards is stored on the boards. Mu understands this and will detect and open files on any device plugged into your regular computer.
The extra functionality provided by Adafruit mode is contained in the following buttons:
The “Serial” button opens a serial data connection to the Adafruit board you may have connected to your computer. This will result in a new pane between the text editor and Mu’s footer. Any serial data emitted from the device will appear here. If you need to drop into the CircuitPython REPL you should make sure the pane has keyboard focus (just click it!) and then type CTRL-C, as shown below:
The “Plotter” button opens Mu’s plotter. If your device is outputting tuples of numbers via the serial connection, the plotter will display them as a graph. This is incredibly useful for visualising any data you might be measuring via the device. For more information read the tutorial about Mu’s plotter.
If you’re looking for things to do with your Adafruit board, there’s no better place to look than the Adafruit Learning System on their website.
Adafruit Community Code of Conduct
In the interest of fostering an open and welcoming environment, we as contributors and leaders pledge to making participation in our project and our community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, level or type of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.
We are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all.
Examples of behavior that contributes to creating a positive environment include:
- Be kind and courteous to others
- Using welcoming and inclusive language
- Being respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences
- Collaborating with other community members
- Gracefully accepting constructive criticism
- Focusing on what is best for the community
- Showing empathy towards other community members
Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include:
- The use of sexualized language or imagery and sexual attention or advances
- The use of inappropriate images, including in a community member's avatar
- The use of inappropriate language, including in a community member's nickname
- Any spamming, flaming, baiting or other attention-stealing behavior
- Excessive or unwelcome helping; answering outside the scope of the question asked
- Discussion or promotion of activities or projects that intend or pose a risk of significant harm
- Trolling, insulting/derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks
- Promoting or spreading disinformation, lies, or conspiracy theories against a person, group, organisation, project, or community
- Public or private harassment
- Publishing others' private information, such as a physical or electronic address, without explicit permission
- Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate
The goal of the standards and moderation guidelines outlined here is to build and maintain a respectful community. We ask that you don’t just aim to be "technically unimpeachable", but rather try to be your best self.
We value many things beyond technical expertise, including collaboration and supporting others within our community. Providing a positive experience for other community members can have a much more significant impact than simply providing the correct answer.
Project leaders are responsible for clarifying the standards of acceptable behavior and are expected to take appropriate and fair corrective action in response to any instances of unacceptable behavior.
Project leaders have the right and responsibility to remove, edit, or reject messages, comments, commits, code, issues, and other contributions that are not aligned to this Code of Conduct, or to ban temporarily or permanently any community member for other behaviors that they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful.
Instances of behaviors that violate the Adafruit Community Code of Conduct may be reported by any member of the community. Community members are encouraged to report these situations, including situations they witness involving other community members.
You may report in the following ways:
In any situation, you may email [email protected]
On the Adafruit Discord, you may send an open message from any channel to all Community Moderators by tagging @community moderators. You may also send an open message from any channel, or a direct message to any Community Moderator.
Email and direct message reports will be kept confidential.
In situations on Discord where the issue is particularly offensive, possibly illegal, requires immediate action, or violates the Discord terms of service, you should also report the message directly to Discord.
These are the steps for upholding our community’s standards of conduct.
- Any member of the community may report any situation that violates the Adafruit Community Code of Conduct. All reports will be reviewed and investigated.
- If the behavior is a severe violation, the community member who committed the violation may be banned immediately, without warning.
- Otherwise, moderators will first respond to such behavior with a warning.
- Moderators follow a soft "three strikes" policy - the community member may be given another chance, if they are receptive to the warning and change their behavior.
- If the community member is unreceptive or unreasonable when warned by a moderator, or the warning goes unheeded, they may be banned for a first or second offense. Repeated offenses will result in the community member being banned.
- Disciplinary actions (warnings, bans, etc) for Code of Conduct violations apply to the platform where the violation occurred. However, depending on the severity of the violation, the disciplinary action may be applied across Adafruit's other community platforms. For example, a severe violation on the Adafruit Discord server may result in a ban on not only the Adafruit Discord server, but also on the Adafruit GitHub organisation, Adafruit Forums, Adafruit Twitter, etc.
This Code of Conduct and the enforcement policies listed above apply to all Adafruit Community venues. This includes but is not limited to any community spaces (both public and private), the entire Adafruit Discord server, and Adafruit GitHub repositories. Examples of Adafruit Community spaces include but are not limited to meet-ups, audio chats on the Adafruit Discord, or interaction at a conference.
This Code of Conduct applies both within project spaces and in public spaces when an individual is representing the project or its community. As a community member, you are representing our community, and are expected to behave accordingly.
This Code of Conduct is adapted from the Contributor Covenant, version 1.4, available on contributor-covenant.org, and the Rust Code of Conduct.
For other projects adopting the Adafruit Community Code of Conduct, please contact the maintainers of those projects for enforcement. If you wish to use this code of conduct for your own project, consider explicitly mentioning your moderation policy or making a copy with your own moderation policy so as to avoid confusion.
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The Circuit Playground
The Circuit Playground is family of small microcontroller boards with LEDs, buttons, and sensors built in. Designed specifically for novice programmers, the Circuit Playground enables students to get up and running quickly with physical computing without worrying about many of the traditional barriers to entry. Developed by our friends at Adafruit, the Circuit Playground is the core tool used in Unit 6, Physical Computing in CS Discoveries.
Programming with the Circuit PlaygroundCode.org has developed a special set of commands for App Lab, our block-to-text app development environment, called the Maker Toolkit. Using App Lab and the Maker Toolkit, students can quickly build apps that communicate with external hardware using the same language and environment they've already become comfortable with.
One of our primary goals in integrating the Circuit Playground into CS Discoveries is to reduce the barriers that teachers often encounter attempting to teach physical computing. To that end, we've developed a system that requires only minimal software installation and wide platform compatibility. If using Chromebooks, we've provided a browser extension to install. For all other platforms, we've created a standalone app that allows the programming tools on our website to communicate with the Circuit Playground over USB. Visit the Maker Toolkit setup page for more details on how to get your computers set up.
What’s the difference between App Lab, Circuit Playground, and Maker Toolkit?
The Circuit Playground is a series of circuit boards produced by Adafruit with a variety of sensors and ouputs built in. There are two variants of the Circuit Playground, both compatible with CS Discoveries:
- The Circuit Playground Classic - the first version of this board which can be programmed with either Maker Toolkit or the Arduino IDE
- The Circuit Playground Express - the newer version of this board which can be programmed with the Maker Toolkit, Microsoft Makecode, Scratch 3.0, Circuit Python, and more .
Wondering which version you have? Check out Adafruit's guide.
The Maker Toolkit is an additional set of commands in App Lab that allow you to communicate with and control a Circuit Playground plugged into USB. You can enable the Maker Toolkit in any App Lab project by clicking the settings gear above the toolbox and selecting "Enable Maker Toolkit."
The Maker App is a standalone app that allows the Circuit Playground to communicate with the App Lab and the Maker Toolkit.
Getting Circuit Playgrounds for your Classroom
Code.org has partnered with Adafruit to create a classroom kit of Circuit Playground boards and accessories necessary for implementing CS Discoveries Unit 6, Physical Computing. The kit contains 15 Circuit Playground boards, 15 Micro USB cables to connect the board to a computer, and a few other accessories. The curriculum is designed for a 2:1 student to board ratio, so a single classroom kit supports a classroom of 30 students.
For smaller classrooms, we recommend investing in a set of Circuit Playground Individual Kits. The individual kit is designed for a single student or share-pair and costs $29.96.
Budgeting for the Circuit Playground Educator Pack
The full cost of the Circuit Playground Educator Pack is $350. All educators receive a 10% discount when they apply the code ADAEDU at checkout, which reduces the price of the kit to approximately $315. Note: The ADAEDU code only applies to orders of $250 or greater.
Many teachers are able to request funding from their school's technology budget to cover the full cost.