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.

        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 (dependant variable) over time (independant variable) a decision made as to whether the hypothesis was proven or not.

        Scientific method

        There is a debate about whether students are doing experiments if they are following "cookbook" demonstrations within labwork in school. 

        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.

        The problem is acknowleged there is not enough time to shoehorn in the required curriculum and the time available in schools, given the school play, sports carnivals and whatever else competes for student attention in a normal school day.

        • Topic 4


          • Topic 5

            What is meant by STEM?

            STEM is made up of the first letters of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.(Called an acronym)

            These are the subjects some believe students at school should study hardest.

            Another acronym is STEAM which includeds arts.

            Arduino is well suited to both.

            • Topic 6

              Why use an esplora

              With the Esplora, you can write software that takes information 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 connected 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 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.

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                • Topic 8

                  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 9

                    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 10


                      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 11

                        What is Arduino

                        • Topic 12

                          S4A : Scratch for Arduino

                          • Topic 13

                            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 14

                              Programming esplora with Scratch 

                              This program can be used to make an Arduino Esplora act like a PicoBoard. Website
                              • Topic 15

                                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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                                              The second lesson

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                                                        The second lesson

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