Topic outline

  • General

    Logo  esplora

  • Topic 1


    The Arduino Esplora is a device that has a tiny computer called a microcontroller, and a number of inputs and outputs. For inputs, there's a joystick, four buttons, a light sensor, a slider, a microphone, a temperature sensor, and an accelerometer. For outputs there's a buzzer and a three color LED.

    madMaker project

    using esplora in schools

    • Topic 2


      • Topic 3

        Arduino in my pencil case

        In Australian schools, there is an imperative for students to be taught in a way that addresses outcomes mandated by the Australian Government.

        While there is of course content in terms of facts and figures, in the area of STEM there is also mandated process.

        A computer literate person is one who can use appropriate hardware, software and warmware to to solve a computer related problem.

        isaac newton

        Issac Newton (1642-1727) inspired the era of Enlightenment, a time of great scientific advancement, by his application of Scientific Method to the theory of light. 
        Went on to help form Led Zepplin. 

        The Scientific Process, loosely, is a method of finding out about the the world around us.

        An experimenter first proposes a hypothesis, eg plants grow best in sunlight, researches the hypothesis, then sets up two experiments the experiment and the control.

        The control is kept in the dark and the experiment kept in the light.

        A measurement of both plants, such as colour, height or release of carbon dioxide over time can be taken.

        By comparing the two sets of readings (dependent variable) over time (independent variable) a decision made as to whether the hypothesis was proven or not.

        Scientific method

        The idea of using an Arduino is for students to be able to use the Arduino and its associated sensors to design their own experiments in class.

        This then can be applied to various microcontrollers such as micro:Bit.

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            • Topic 6

              Why use an esplora

              With the Esplora, you can write software that takes data from the inputs and use that to control the outputs on the board, or control your computer, just like a mouse or keyboard would. The Esplora is different from all previous Arduino boards, in that it has inputs and outputs already built into to the board. This means that you don't need to know how to connect electronic sensors or actuators to use it as a result.

              As a result, programming for it is a bit different than for other Arduino boards. It has its own library of commands that makes it easier to read from the input sensors and write to the output actuators. You'll see how to use the library in this guide and in the Esplora library reference pages as well.

              • Topic 7

                The Arduino esplora

                The esplora has a library of functions specially written for the board. 

                A library is a set of computer instructions that are written that are added to coad why a sketch is being uploaded to the board.

                esplora explained

                esplora library


                • readSlider()
                • readLightSensor()
                • readTemperature()
                • readMicrophone()
                • readJoystickSwitch()
                • readJoystickButton()
                • readAccelerometer()
                • readButton()
                • readJoystickX()
                • readJoystickY()
                • writeRGB()
                • writeRed()
                • writeGreen()
                • writeBlue()
                • readRed()
                • readGreen()
                • readBlue()
                • tone()
                • noTone()


                #include <Esplora.h>  // here is the library being loaded

                                              // google where it should be stored by default on your machine

                void setup() {
                  // There's nothing to set up for this sketch

                void loop() {
                  Esplora.writeRGB(255, 0, 0);  // make the LED red
                  delay(1000);                  // wait 1 second
                  Esplora.writeRGB(0, 255, 0);  // make the LED green
                  delay(1000);                  // wait 1 second
                  Esplora.writeRGB(0, 0, 255);  // make the LED blue
                  delay(1000);                  // wait 1 second
                  Esplora.writeRGB(255, 255, 0); // make the LED yellow
                  delay(1000);                  // wait 1 second
                  Esplora.writeRGB(0, 255, 255); // make the LED cyan
                  delay(1000);                  // wait 1 second
                  Esplora.writeRGB(255, 0, 255); // make the LED magenta
                  delay(1000);                  // wait 1 second
                  Esplora.writeRGB(255, 255, 255); // make the LED white
                  delay(1000);                  // wait 1 second


                Each one of these functions can be used to read a value that can be read in serial window and/or can be used in data logging and/or to trigger an actuator.
                • Topic 8

                  Getting the board set up

                  The Arduino Esplora is a device that has a tiny microcontroller, and a number of inputs and outputs.  At first glance it looks like a videogame controller.

                  It runs in a similar fashion to the Uno, but not quite.

                  About the board

                  Before Esplora runs, you must load the library.


                  // include the Esplora library
                  #include <Esplora.h>

                  Esplora has its own subset of Arduino commands, based on the Esplora library.


                  Esplora.writeRGB(255, 255, 255);  // sets red, green and blue all to full brightness

                  will not run on the standard Arduino Uno

                  Getting started

                  Look here for example code from

                  • Topic 9


                    Tinkerkits are a series of components made to click into place for use with esplora.

                     Female Male 3Pin Header Housing Terminal Connector Kit for Jumper Wire

                    2.54mm KF2510-3P Pin Header+Terminal+Housing Connector Kits AG


                    are the current best guesses for the Tinker kit connectors

                    • Topic 10

                      The first lesson

                      Elsewhere on this site are various introduction to the Arduino.

                      Before progressing, you should understand the following.

                      • What is meant by an electrical circuit.
                      • The names of various components such as resistors, transistors etc
                      • How Arduino is a community
                      • What is meant by the Scientific Method
                      Look here to see an introduction to Arduino
                      • Topic 11

                        Programming esplora with Scratch 

                        This program can be used to make an Arduino Esplora act like a PicoBoard. Website
                        • Topic 12

                          Pico boards

                          Picoboards are an invention of the Playfun Inventions COmpany. It is a board that has a number of inputs/outputs and can be run using Scratch. 

                          Really cool.

                          Chris Betcher is a well known teacer/innovator from Sydney, New South Wales.

                          Getting started
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                                      Here are some links courtesy of Google:

                                      Classroom materials:

                                      CS FIRST: free & open source
                                      CS Unplugged: free & open source
                                      Computational thinking recourses: from Google + partners
                                      Start with Code: resources for parents, teachers & students
                             Scratch and Hour of Code resources
                                      MIT App Inventor: free introduction to programming and app creation

                                      Coding clubs/organizations:

                                      FIRST Australia: STEM & robotics programs from grade 2-12 - nationally run
                                      Code Club Australia: code clubs & information/material to set one up
                                      Code Club Aotearoa: code clubs & information/material to set one up (New Zealand)
                                      Robogals: promoting STEM education to girls

                                      Careers Information:

                                      Careers with Code: free online resource highlighting CS + X careers and university pathways

                                      Teacher PD opportunities:

                                      Digital Technologies MOOCs: from Adelaide University (free online courses, mapped to the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum for teachers from grades K-8.)

                                      Online Communities:

                                      AU/NZ teachers: an online community of teachers who share resources

                                      Diversity Engagement resources:

                                      Engage CS EDU: resources for use in the classroom & best practices for inclusive teaching developed by Google and NCWIT

                                      Unbiasing: resources to raise unconscious bias in the workplace & for individuals. Includes Google’s internal training & free workshop material

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                                          S4A : Scratch for Arduino

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                                              The second lesson

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                                                        The second lesson

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