Select Page
E&R Unit 10
Arduino Introduction

Arduino Detail Image

This unit is all about digital electronics and a device called an Arduino.  An Arduino is a small programmable microcontroller that can be used to control lights, motors, servos, and other electronic components.  When tackling a problem with electronics, an Arduino lets you:

  • Build a system with lights, sensors, motors, or servos
  • Write a program that takes inputs and controls outputs

Here, we get to learn how to build simple circuits and control them with an Arduino.  We’ll start with the basics, build some more interesting and complex circuits, and then create our own small Arduino project. As we work through our Arduino challenges, we’ll go through three main parts:

  • STEP 1: Watch the Introduction to Arduino, build a simple circuit, and get your first two programs running.
  • STEP 2: Tackle the Arduino Challenges to learn new functions with Arduinos and the Arduino programming language.
  • STEP 3: Design and build a small Arduino project: make something cool.

When you’re done you will have seen our 5th programming language of the year, and will have learned the basics of circuits and working with Arduino.

Part 1: Arduino Basics

Arduino Introduction

The first part of any new system is to get something simple working.  In this quick part of our unit we’ll get our first Arduino circuit built, attach it to the computer, and upload a pre-built program.  This will help us make sure that everything is working before we change it to make our second simple Arduino program.


 Take a page of notes as you watch the Arduino Introduction video and the First Arduino Program

 Build and program the first and second Arduino projects described in the space below.  (Be sure to check your port!)

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm that your projects are working properly!

FIRST Arduino Project:

The first Arduino Project for you to tackle requires turning a light bulb ON!


Here you’ll find 13 small Arduino challenges that start relatively simple and build in complexity as you keep working.  Start with the first one, and work through them one-at-a-time until you get it working correctly. Each of these challenges increases in difficulty in a reasonable way – some will have you keep the same program just add new parts to the circuit, while others will ask you to keep the circuit the same but change the program in a way.  Work through each challenge, take notes as you work, and ask Mr. Benshoof when you have questions!


 Complete at least the first 8 Arduino challenges below

 Additional notes on Arduino & Arduino programming as you work through challenges

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm each of your working challenges!


1) Blinking LED

Use the same circuit from the Part 1 challenges.  Now we’ll make that light blink!  To do that, change your program from before to look like this new one:

2) LED Traffic Light

Add on to your circuit to include a total of three lights: one green, one yellow, and one red (a wiring diagram is below). Then add to your program to make the lights turn on and off like a traffic light.

3) LED Light Bar

Pick any 8 lights (any colors) and create a row of 8 individually controllable lights. (One light per input/output pin).  Then, create a progarm taht can turn ON all 8 lights at once.

4) LED Color Cycler

Keep your 8-light light bar in place.  Change your program so that the lights turn on one-at-a-time from left to right.  When the last one truns off, the pattern should start back over.

5) LED Night Rider

Keep your 8-light light bar in place. Add to your program so that the lights turn on one at a time from left-to-right, but then the light bounces back from right-to-left.  The light should continue to bounce back and forth like a ping-pong game.

6) LED Randomizer

Keep your 8-light light bar in place.  Change the program so that only one light turns on at a time, but that light should be randomly chosen.  After a second, the light should turn off, and then a new random light should turn on.  This pattern shoud continue indefinitely.

HINT:  To turn on a random light (in pins 3-11), you can use this line of code:

digitalWrite( randomInt(3,12) , HIGH);


7) LED Heart Beat

Use one of the PWM ports (with the little squiggle ~ symbol) to make a light glow brighter and dimmer like a heartbeat.  You shouldn’t have to build anything really new, but instead you’ll just copy the code below into your Arduino loop:


for(int x = 0 ; x<256 ; x++)


      analogWrite( 6 , x );


for(int x = 255 ; x>0; x–)


      analogWrite( 6 , x );


8) LED Matching Heartbeats

Keep your heartbeat circuit together, but make sure you now have two (2) lights plugged in to PWM ports. The PWM ports are the ones with the squiggle next to them, like ~3, ~5, ~6, ~9, ~10, ~11.  Then, add to your program to make two lights alternate between growing brighter and dimmer like alternating heartbeats.

9) LED Back-and-Forth

Rebuild your circuit so that you have two rows of 3 LEDs each.  Then, create a program that turns ON one of the rows while the other is OFF.  The program should then switch rows and turn the first one OFF while turning the second one ON.  This pattern should continue to alternate back and forth.

10) LED Rock-Paper-Scissors

Keep your two rows of 3 LEDs together, but now label them rock, paper, and sissors so that you have two complete sets.  Next, make your two light groups play Rock-Paper-Scissors against each other.  The order of a game should be as follows:

1). ALL 6 lights blink on-off-on-off-on-off (sort of like a “1-2-3” lead-up)

2). ONE light in each group should be randomly turned ON to indicate the choice of that side.

3) The winning side should blink all their lights on-off-on-off-on to indicate their victory.

4) All lights thould turn off.

11) Push Button Light Switch

Follow the diagram and code example below to make a push button light up an LED when pressed.

12) Push Button Toggle

Keep your push button circuit assembled.  Now, change the program so that the button toggles the state of the light.  Pushing the button should. turn the light on (even when you let the button go). Then, pushing the button again should switch the light off.

13) Push Button Counter

Keep your circuit from the push button toggle together, but add a few more lights (so that you have a total of 5 individually controllable lights). Then, redesign your program so that the button turns on more and more lights.  The lights should all start OFF, but then when you push the button, a single light should turn ON.  Pushing the button again should turn on a SECOND light.  Pushing the button again should turn on the third light, etc.

Part 3: Arduino Mini-Project

Engineering Design Process Overview

For the last short part of this unit, you have the freedom to build what you’d like with Arduino.  If you’d prefer, you can continue working on the Arduino challenges from part 2. If you want something new to work on, you can look through the mini project guidelines to choose a project to create, or you can come up with your own idea completely!  Document your process, and be ready to share with your classmates!


 Proper documentation in your engineering notebook of your chosen project, your process, and a picture of what you ended up building.

 Build your project and get it working properly.

 Share your work with your classmates at the engineering roundtable.

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your completed project.

E&R Unit 10 Map
Looking for something?  Here you'll find a library of links to all the documents, images, and videos needed here in E&R Unit 10.