lessons · raspberry pi

Lessons on PI – Lesson 1: The Raspberry PI


This is the first in a series of raspberry pi classes.  When the kids first show up with their hardware they need to immediately get it up and running by understanding the various bits.

What is it?

“The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It is a capable little computer which can be used in electronics projects, and for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word processing, browsing the internet, and playing games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by adults and children all over the world to learn programming and digital making.”

– RaspberryPI.org

This tiny computer is also the physical manifestation of years of research into Operating Systems, electronics and networking.

What’s an operating system?


You’ll understand more later – but keep in mind that a computer will do whatever you tell it to, forever and without tiring.  So you need a way to “tell it to do something”, and a way for it to affect the world.  The operating system is a collection of software that lets you, the user, tell, and gives the computer access to the stuff needed to do.

It’s the program that makes pictures show up on the TV and the listens when you press a key on the keyboard.

Why should I figure it out…

This little computer has the chance for you to get started understanding:

  • Linux (An operating system)
  • IOT (Internet of Things)
  • Programming
  • Electronics

All in one fell swoop.  These are core skills used in all large tech companies.  We use them at my work. Linux is used at almost ALL tech companies.  Programming – core skills used in almost every profession.  Electronics – when you want to to control the world around you there is only Politics, and Electronics.

What do I need?

Get the minimum necessary Raspberry Pi Hardware

What’s it got?

(Check out this image from LinuxGizmos.com)


That little chip marked “Broadcom BCM 2835” has 8,589,934,592 transistors in it!

How do I hook it up?

  • Attach the HDMI cable to the PI’s HDMI Port(see picture above), and to an open port on your TV.
  • Plug in the keyboard and mouse into the USB ports labeled, “Quad USB Ports” in the picture above.
  • If you have WiFi you wont use the ethernet port.
  • Create an image using the PiBakery article seen here:
  • Plug in the Flash Disk into the “Micro SD Card Slot”, which is found on the bottom of the board.  This is the most delicate part of the PI, so be gentle when inserting.
  • Power it up!  Plug in the micro-usb into the “5V Micro USB” port, it should immediately boot.

Now what?

Now that your machine is powered up and on the network… we just have to do a little play.  So lets open up a terminal.  There are two ways to do this.

Opening a terminal on the PI

When your PI boots.  You are presented with the desktop:


On the upper left is a little black box:


Click that to open a terminal.  Which will be a new window on your desktop.

Opening a terminal from a mac

Using the search tool on your desktop:


Specifically, click on this:

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 11.03.53 AM.png

Then type in “terminal” and press enter:


Now you need to SSH into th pi on your network:

ssh pi@raspberrypi.local

Note that if you named your raspberry pi something else when using pibakery, then replace “raspberrypi” with whatever name you used.

The console may ask you if you are “OK” with the new key.  It looks like a bunch of gobbledy gook, but just type in “yes”.

The password is “raspberry”, unless you changed it in pibakery.

Now that you have a terminal… lets play a game!

Special thanks to www.tecmint.com for the recommendations:



Enter this in the terminal and press “enter”:

sudo apt-get install moon-buggy -y

Again enter your password, “raspberry” and you should see the install take place.

The type in:


Space bar jumps!  See how far you can get without crashing your car!



sudo apt-get install ninvaders -y

Then type in:



More you can do…

You have just setup an extremely powerful computer.  Check out some of these other articles on some fun things to now DO with the PI:

MagPi Issue #53 is Fantastic for an Intro To Python Programming!

Teaching Kids Programming – with a game!

Raspberry Pi – Control by Magic Wand!

Raspberry PI for controlling TP-Link POWER

Raspberry PI for Controlling Wemo Power

The complete guide to enabling speech recognition on an RPI3… in NodeJS


Lessons on PI – Lesson 2: On the shoulders of giants (apt-get, and git)


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