Unit 1: Grade 11/12 Computer Engineering Technology: Safety & Careers


This University/College preparation course extends students’ understanding of computer systems and computer interfacing with external devices. Students will assemble computer systems by installing and configuring appropriate hardware and software, and will learn more about fundamental concepts of electronics, robotics, programming, and networks. Students will examine related environmental and societal issues, and will explore postsecondary pathways leading to careers in computer technology. Focus will support robotics and the Robo program here at Western. The course will be 8 weeks in duration with your final mark made up from all of your term work, with later term work weighted heavier than at the beginning of course.

Course Units and Descriptions

Use this table for an overview and navigate to each of the course unit pages.

Unit Description
Review course outline for more details
1 Safety & Career - Intro, computers, organization, safety, careers, and custom proposal
2 Computers & Components - Electronics, operation, design, troubleshooting, and maintenance
3 Digital Logic & Circuits - Binary, boolean, logic gates, counters/register ccts., calculations, design, & build
4 Networking & Programming - IP addressing, data routing protocols, services, languages, and concepts
5 Hardware Interface & Control - Student designed custom project
6 Showcase & Web Portfolio - Testing and presentation

Unit Activity Breakdown Format

You will notice each unit activity below is broken down into five subtopics, SPICE, to guide and help you through the project and assignments related to the unit activity:

  1. Situation - This is the introduction, big picture, or you can think of it as the setting of story/novel
  2. Problem/Challenge - What must be resolved or completed, i.e. what you will need to accomplish
  3. Investigation/Ideas - includes gathering ideas, research and organizing information to help create, construct, and/or complete the Problem/Challenge
  4. Create/Construct - take your best idea and complete and/or build the needed solution
  5. Evaluation - did the Problem/Challenge above get resolved and/or completed

This unit will introduce you to the course, class routines, expectations, organization, safety, possible project ideas, and circuit characteristics.

Unit Content Activity Quick Links, Click to Jump to Specific Activity!
  1. Unit 1, Act. 1: Introduction, Computers, Organization, and General Safety
    1. Tech Info, Routines-info, Remote Learning, Safety, Shortcuts, Journals, Evaluation
  2. Unit 1, Act. 2: Related Career
    1. Ideas, Prezi, Prezi videos, Steps, Evaluation
  3. Unit 1, Act. 3: Custom Project Proposals
    1. Chal., Levels, Ideas, Hardware, Resources, Pricing, Steps, Evaluation,

- TOP - Unit 1, Act. 1: Course Information, Organization, and Safety next


A class of students starting a computer technology/robotics course here at school.



Getting familiar with what the course is all about, related careers, class routines, expectations of the course and the teacher, general administration of class, and safety are all important issues to know and understand. This activity will allow students the opportunity to organize and prepare for course and understand administration, evaluation, marks, routine, possible career direction, and expectations for classes to run smoothly.


The following is list of items that are to be reviewed by students to understand what is going on in this course:

  • Course Details
  • General Safety
  • Detailed Safety Issues
  • Shop/room Layout
  • Shop/room Resources
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Expectations
  • Assessment & Evaluation
  • Class Policies
  • Routines
  • Remote learning
  • Attendance and Lates
  • Moodle Log-in

It is important that students feel comfortable with the above points and should know what is happening in the course.





Start by organizing your supplies and materials for taking and storing your notes and assignments in a binder. A duo-tang will be provided for your in-class journals and safety related paper work and stored in the classroom filing cabinet share. Review the course outline and class routines and write down any questions you have about the course, requirements, expectations, or responsibilities you need to be clear on. Timetable and school policies will also be reviewed using your agenda as a guide. A room and school tour will be conducted to familiarize students with our facilities.

A PDF Survey - Getting to know you will be handed out for students to fill out in-class so that the instructor can get to know you and allow you to write down any important information that you feel the instructor should know about such as extra support, health, social, and/or interests you may want to pass on..

The following is a list of related support document links for students, which will be reviewed in class:

Related Links

The following list of resources can be used to further review, after going over them in class:

  1. PDF Robotics and Control System, Grade 12 Course Outline
  2. PDF Robotics and Control System, Grade 11 Course Outline
  3. PDF Course Achievement Breakdown
  4. PDF Learning skills work habits
  5. PDF Evaluation and Tips Breakdown
  6. PDF Foreperson Responsibilities
  7. PDF Peer Evaluation Process

- TOP - Tech Info Page

One of the first things in class we do is review the PDF Introduction to Technical Classes, point number three above which gives you a great overview of the course operation. The top section of the page has ten blank boxes to be filled in with the important things we will cover in this course. You will find this information by reviewing the course outline and listening to the teacher discussing what is happening in the course. The bottom section will also need to be filled out with two in-class peer partners for contact information and support with-in the class to help foster team support. collaboration, and responsibility.

- TOP - Important Information, Routine Details, and Support

To help everyone understand daily routines, expectations, student responsibilities there are some steps that you must be aware of, that we will discuss in detail such as:

166 room

Paper Hand-in Bin

165 room

Resource Binder

166-65 room

Current Events

  • Class schedule day
  • School/room map layout (tour)
  • Late arrival process and class entry
  • Absent - note name, reason, & dates to office VP
  • Pre-project preparation
  • End of period journals
  • Paperwork hand-in bin
  • Paperwork over-flow out bin
  • Class share resource table/area
  • Extra handouts & digital copies
  • Daily current events board
  • Supply teacher respect and learning
  • Due date - beginning of class
  • Leaving the room - process (ex. - washroom - 1)
  • Class Sign-out resource binder
  • Seating - support, proximity, and behavior
  • Partners, groups, and leaders - collaboration
  • Late/missed class lesson/work responsibilities
  • Clean up process - yours and others
  • Contact process - e-mail
  • Extra support/help options
  • Don't know, or not sure? ... ask!
- TOP - Remote Learning

Remote learning is something relatively new for High School students and the following points should be considered.

  • Make a schedule and keep a routine to help with even breakdown and consistency of learning - requires self-motivation and being self-sufficient
  • Create a study area and stay organized, use a distraction free environment, in an open public area, so you can focus on learning
  • Require appropriate technology - microphone, web cam, good Internet connection, lighting, ergonomic comfort
  • Communication- hand-up, chat, normally muted, clarifications & understanding of content
  • Read assignments and course material, post in discussion forums (chats), work ahead, participate, and seek help if/when needed

- TOP - Safety
Safety ppt

In this activity, we will review the PDF General Safety Presentation to get an overview of safety concerns students must be aware of in the school and classroom. Students will review and sign a PDF General Safety Contract then take home to parents to also review and sign. Safety awareness and lessons in this class will be on-going throughout the course, and specific to each project so that it is fresh in your minds when starting work on that specific project. Although there are less physical dangers, there are other safety concerns such as working with digital work safely as an example.

Given our current situation with Covid-19, a presentation on PDF Covid-19 Safety and Well Being will be also reviewed, for process, support, and clarification.

- TOP - USB Memory Stick, Files, Folders and Shortcuts

Next it is highly recommenced that you get a USB memory stick, for saving your work on to. It does not have to be large, 2 Gig is plenty of room (use your school H drive temporarily if you do not have your USB flash drive). You will need to follow instructions on the Tech Info handout (PDF page printed and handed out recently, that can be found above) to create six shortcuts inside a main folder named with your course code, and a sub-folder named "year- month-day_shortcuts" (use the same folder name convention for future folder topics) with the following shortcuts created:

  • Pick-up Folder
  • Drop-off Folder
  • Web Course Main Page
  • Web Course Details Page
  • Web Course Journal Page
  • Web Course Marks Page

To keep your electronic work for this course organized, you will need to create more folders for future projects as you continue with the course. The intent is to work off of your USB in school and save to your H: drive when you are finished at the end of class as a back-up process. This way you can take your work with you and work elsewhere if needed and it is usually faster to access a flash drive then the board network. If you are at home, a similar process should be followed, work off of your USB, save to your USB, and back-up to your home desktop drive when you are finished all of your work.

File Naming Conventions and Shortcut Demonstration

To finish you will need to use all three shortcut links in an exercise called "shortcut-demo" and copy and paste the correct shortcut addresses to demonstrate you have done this correctly.

shortcut test
  1. Using your newly created shortcuts, go to the pick-up folder and get a file called "shortcut-demo"
  2. Save the text file to your shortcuts folder (this is a good time to review file naming conventions in the Tech Info Handout again and save it right away with the correct file name, and then open it up
  3. You need to type your name in, using the same format you would when writing your name on paperwork handed in
  4. For the shortcut addresses, right click and click on properties, then copy the shortcut link address and paste it into the text file in the appropriate location and do the same for the other two
  5. Next right click on your web site shortcut link, and click on properties, then the General tab to copy the location where you saved this shortcut link to "Franzens-web-site" which should be your USB Flash drive and then add the actual shortcut file name and correct file extension (more here on File extensions)
  6. Do the same steps as in previous, but now for where you backed up your digital work. Again, it is recommended you use your H drive
  7. Go to the Tech info page on the site and open up the PDF file and copy the section called "Organizing and saving your work" that explains about file naming conventions and paste below
  8. If you did not re-name your file according the file naming convention instructions you just copied, then do that now, then either copy and paste or drag and drop the text file you just finished onto the shortcut Drop-off, to submit for marking

Ensure your work is saved first on your USB, then drag and drop onto the Drop-off folder shortcut. As you don't have access to this folder, drag and drop one more time and you should get a message saying the file is already there... confirming you were successful in copying the file over to Drop-off. Note: trying to save your work directly to this Drop-off folder will result in your file not being saved and not handed in as students do not have editing privileges inside the Drop-off folder.

writing a log report
- TOP - Journals
Journal sample

Part of the curriculum requirements is to keep a log of your learning and report on which can be done in different ways. Rather than focus on tests, quizzes, and essays, a daily digital journal is a great alternative to planning, tracking, and recognizing one's learning. Some additional details include:

  • Providing a constant and consistent way to measure/see your learning, growth, and progress throughout the course
  • Consciously track what, how, and when you learn in the course which allows you to recognize, focus on, and take more responsibility with your learning
  • It also helps you plan and organize your daily activities and work load
  • Plan homework ahead of time, keeping you engaged in the course, and up-to-date with work

journal  tips
Journal Entry Process

Each day at the beginning of class while instructor is doing a review of last days work and an overview of the current day, you can already start entering-in, information about the current days activities. This can be obtained by either listening to the instructor, copy from the white-board, and/or use the website online journal, to fill in the start of your journal.

Throughout the class or closer to the end of class, enter what you actually did, your peer collaboration, and your new learning as it is recognized. Your information must be in point form, be specific, and have detailed information. Anything vague, broad, or general will not get full marks.

At the end of the class (usually the last 10 minutes), you can complete the journal by filling in the clean-up/organization, and homework sections. *** Discuss with partner about your entry details and see if there is any refinement needed.*** Remember to only put about 15 minutes of homework which could include, things such as: what was done in class and needs to be finished or continued to work on, an assignment coming due, and/or reviewing the next part of the project or assignment. Remember to be specific with your details, so it is easy to see the 15 minutes of actual work intended. When making entries, give it some thought before putting your detailed specific points down, so that they are informative using appropriate technical terms, in-order to get full marks.

Before you leave class, submit your journal for review and marks. After normal class time, the journal will be considered late and my not be marked until next block marking time. If you have submitted your journal and it has not been returned, you can pull it back by un-submitting, to make current day's entry, so you don't get another late mark.

It's All in the Details

Some examples of vague or broad points:

  • Start XYZ presentation
  • Research XYZ topic
  • Finish XYZ assignment
  • Review XYZ information
  • Continue XYZ handout
  • Work on XYZ project

check mark

Some good examples of specific details:

  • XYZ PPT, slides 1-3
  • Research XYZ topic, sub-topic 1 & 2
  • XYZ assignment-step 5
  • Read XYZ info, section 1
  • XYZ questions 5-9
  • XYZ project, part A

Cell/Box Details
  1. Attendance/hmwk: time you showed up: OT = on-time or AB = Absent, late with quick reason, how you feeling today, on the next line start and finish of class, total time in hours.minutes, then on third line how long you actually spent on homework and accomplished
  2. Lesson/topics: what was covered, main topics - use white-board and/or class journal and put into main points
  3. PT: (practical time) what did you accomplish/do with free class work time today, remember be specific with points
  4. Peer Collaboration: either helping or getting help, having a discussion/chat - who and what, be specific with points
  5. NEW Learning: fill in new learning (pick your most significant points in the form of
    • KNOWLEDGE - new information you have learned such as new terminology, a new process, or information that you did not know
    • SKILL – practical work done such as computer file naming/saving process, cutting cardboard correctly, using a tool or machine properly, etc
    • VALUE – is a new opinion formed or feeling based on your experience with new knowledge and/or skill that you have completed
  6. Clean-up/Organization: Cleaning, sanitizing, organizing your working space, learning equipment, learning tools, hard and soft resources, putting things back, planing future work, saving and backup, and preparation for next work period are some general things to look at, but again, be specific with details
  7. Hmwk: what assignment is coming due, 15 min of specific detailed work, possible future work to review
Journal comment
Comments and Feedback

You may find teacher comments directly in journal entry cells or in Tips row. Comments directly in the cell is represented by a small yellow triangle yellow triangle for comment found in the top right corner of cell, which you can hover mouse over to access/see. Ensure cell comments are either resolved or replied to.

To resolve (acknowledge), click on the green check mark at the top of the comment box, and this means you have read and understood the comment, usually explaining what was done wrong and/or how to improve your mark in the future.

With the Tips row comment section, just below your assigned mark by the teacher, these comments will be more generic critiquing on the whole entry for that day.

Mini Journal Comment Assignment, (Before You Start Your Journals):

Find the comment shown in picture above, and follow instructions inside the comment to complete for marks. The following is what you should find/create in the comment E12 cell:

This is an example of a comment, you may find for direct cell feedback from your teacher, to support proper entry input. Once read, do one of two things. Usually you will click the green checkmark to show you have read and understand or if further information is needed, select the reply to respond. For this mini-assignment,

  1. Delete/remove the three cohort-day schedule bars (rows 2-5)that is not your cohort, check timetable or ask, if you are not sure which is yours.
  2. Read, review, and copy the Answer/Explanations (for common mistakes made on journal entries) from the Tip Row Cell E14 for this column, in the reply for this comment,
  3. Then read, review, and copy the Tips-Filling in your daily entries (A14) section below that,
  4. for a total of 12 marks.

The information on your daily journal will may be used to summarize your accomplishments end of the course reporting on tasks completed and your learning process through your newly acquired knowledge, skills, and values. This will be a part of your culminating work to showcase your overall progress, process, and learning throughout the course.

Common Things to Know, to Maximize Your Journal Mark

The following points should be kept in mind when filling in your daily entries. Most common place that marks are lost is being too vague or not specific enough with your details in each of the cells. There are common concerns, issues, and problems that students should be aware of:

  1. Include all class and individual tasks, during period
  2. Include three things learned in the form of K, S, and/or V
  3. Careful not to repeat the PT task in the learning section, be specific and detailed to your experience
  4. Remember not to repeat previous learning, as that is no longer new, and not worth marks
  5. Be specific with your new learning entries as a generic broad entry means you learned all of it, limiting what you can put down in the future
  6. You are responsible to work with partner and collaborate, so make the effort to work with someone, so you can report it
  7. You are expected to clean-up, organize, and sanitize at the beginning and end of the period, so participating here = marks
  8. Hmwk must always be filled in with something to support that day, to finish work, and/or support next day/project
What if You Miss a Day? How to Still Get Those Marks!

You may have missed a class for a number of reasons. If you are have to miss a class and can control which day, prioritize which day by looking at asynchronous, synchronous days first before missing in-person days. Remember that asynchronous days can be flexible if necessary... i.e. even though you may, for example, have slept-in, you can still put the independent time in, later in the day.

Here is what you can do to get your journal marks back for the day you missed by filling in the following box/cells:

  1. Attendance: Fill in as usual - AB with reason, time missed, and your homework,
  2. Topics: what did you miss, - see online journal and speak to partner to get the full picture/details,
  3. PT - what you could have worked on and completed,
  4. Partner - who you checked with, to get class details,
  5. KSV - what you plan to do, to catch-up - i.e. review material missed, discuss with partner, what you could do to catch-up,
  6. Clean-up cell- if you were able to catch-up and do some work, what you did to actually to catch-up, or just put not caught-up,
  7. Hmwk - What you can do to prepare for the next day

This will get you 6 out of 10 marks (showing your attention to what was missed and your good intentions to catch-up) the next day, otherwise it will be late. ----- Also: If you can bring/show the work completed for lesson/topics and PT work missed the next day, then you will also get the last 4 marks for a 10/10

- TOP - Evaluation:

Although these are not heavily weighted, they are important project assignments that will benefit you throughout the rest of this course. You can see a student journal sample done by another class with limited expectations and reduced marks, but you will get the idea and see the learning process throughout. The following are paper entry student daily log samples (another class with different format, but similar entries) can be viewed here Assorted Journal Daily Logs, Full semester of Daily Journals, plus end-of-semester Weekly Summary Journal

Evaluation Breakdown Component Descriptions Marks
Always double check that you have completed all components for full marks.
Survey - Answer all 8 questions fully 16
Course Outline Signed - Review, highlighting, show parents, and get signed by parent 5
Tech Info - 10 course components, highlighting, and two peer contacts 14
General Safety Contract - Read, agree, and signed by both student & parent 5
Shortcut Test - 3 shortcuts done, folders, file named correctly 15
Journal Comments - Get your journal, read, review, copy, and reply 12
Daily Journal Entries - specific details, 10 marks daily @1/2 weight, entered weekly 50


If you feel comfortable that you know all the details of the class/course details, you are ready to move on to the next activity. Be prepared to use what you learned in this unit activity to apply to future class work and process. At this point you should be ready for the rest of the course for use with computers, keeping organized with binder and digital files, routines, daily journals, and general safety. If you are still having trouble with specific things, PLEASE ASK!

- TOP - Unit 1, Act. 2: Related Career


You are new to this field area, unfamiliar with possible career directions that this may offer and what steps may be taken to go into a related field.


Select a related career field that you may be interested in and research it to present in the form of a presentation 13 to 15 slides in length. The presentation must show a titles and key information in different forms such as text, charts, maps, illustrations, and/or images. Text points should be 50-60 % of slide while images and/or charts should be no more than 40-50% of slide. Content on slides to include the following topics (bracketed info is extra explanation of what is on those slides):

  1. Job Title and General Description
  2. Contents/overview
  3. Responsibilities (daily expectations)
  4. Salary/Wage Levels (based on current entry, mid level, senior level positions, company, and location)
  5. Related Skills (soft and hard skills)
  6. Interests (hobbies, spare time, games, material things, sports, relaxation, health)
  7. Values (opinions, importance of specifics, beliefs, standards, commitment)
  8. Schooling (possible schools, program information, application, etc.)
  9. Preparation (what you can do now, resources, planning, all the facts, building maturity/responsibility, etc)
  10. Requirements (related association, certifications, what you need to accomplish, complete, learn, experience, etc.)
  11. Future forecast/outlook (3, 5, & 10 years down the road, stats on growth rate, comparisons)
  12. Summary/Conclusion
  13. Resources and Further Support (your research sources used, great places to check for more info, etc.)

- TOP -Investigation/Ideas:

The first task involves selecting a related field in Computer Technology that you may feel interested in and researching details about that area. If you are having trouble deciding on which trade, you could try an Online Employability Skill an Attitude Quiz to help you decide which field might be best suited to look into. Below are some great resource links to assist with finding more information in a career field in Computer Technology that you may be interested in.:

Construction Career

Choosing a career as a student can be very difficult when you don't have enough information to make the right decision. Using Google Slides will be your best practical option although using the Prezi presentation online, could be also used to design some really interesting and dynamic presentations. The Prezi below is one I created for Engineering Design has a lot of the questions student may have, not just on Engineering, but also steps students can take in High School to help them make the right decision on their career direction. An important place to start, to get information on your career field will be to look at reputable associations. In Computer Technology, there are a lot of unofficial but well named associations that can be used to support a plan towards that career.

- TOP - View the Prezi presentation here or use the in-line one below:

- TOP - Prezi Related Career Videos
Resource links

Check out these resources for your PPT creation and presentation:



Create and Construct General Information

This is the section called Create/Construct step, which if you have understood the SPICE design model process from the investigation/ideas section, is the part of the process where you select your best idea and to create a solution based on the problem/challenge. With all activities we use this section or step (of the SPICE design process), to give you the actual steps that are recommended to take, to accomplish what you need to do to complete the project, task and/or goal. For this career research and presentation, here are the steps you will take:

Sample Career Page Research Report

Sample Rough Report PDF and DOC

- TOP - Major Steps
  1. Get a copy of the PDF handout guide to review research project instructions, requirements, and mark breakdown for you to keep in your binder
  2. Choose a unique Computer Technology related career, using the PDF sign-up sheet that will be provided
  3. Copy the topics to a doc file as a guideline for areas to research
  4. Research your topic areas, compile all of your information
  5. Create a customized template for your presentation to add text/images to
  6. Add main points and images to each of your slides
  7. Add talking points (only presenters can see) for each of your slides
  8. Practice presentation for preparedness and timing (4-5 minutes)


Your presentation should have large printed points that you can use to expand and talk about during your presentation. Your presentation points should also answer/cover the required topics with some detail.

  • You are to create a rough career information source page (partial sample to left). The source may be as simple as a word doc using a maximum of 1 page both-sides to include text, possible illustration/pictures, and chart/table showing key details of your interested computer technology related career
  • Start your research by copying the requirement topics to a word processor application, change your topics to separate headers, then add your researched information below each of the header topics along with source links as you get them, i.e. focus on your research first, the key information required for this presentation
  • Next, create your presentation template/format that will accommodate, a header/footer, title, key points, and a supporting image(s) for each slide approximately 50/50 ratio. The key points must be large enough to easily read from back of room on class projected screen, have high contrast to background
  • For the actual presentation, you are to talk about (do not just read presentation slide points) details of each topic in detail, and be prepared to answer questions details at the end of your presentation from your partner timing/peer marking you. Presentation to be approximately 14 slides with about 20 seconds per slide on average to cover the 4-5 minimum presentation time length
  • Check out 20 Great Examples of Power-point Presentation Design, 108 Best Presentation Ideas, Design Tips & Examples for ideas and best practices plus further tips can be found here
  • When complete, submit your presentation in both Google Classroom and the drop-off folder (export as a PDF) on or before the due date with standard file naming convention, ex: tej_d-joe_career-eng-field.xxx. All presentations will be copied to the pick-up folder to share with everyone in the class as a resource to keep for current and future interests
  • Prior to presentation, use the self and peer evaluation table to double check that you have all required information. 2 marks will usually represent at least 4 points of related topic information, so ensure this is the case, then you will need to work on presentation to the class, keeping the time between 4-5 minutes and about 3 minutes of questions/discussions maximum if needed

- TOP - Evaluation:

Ensure that you have completed all requirements, included related pictures, and lots of related resources. see PDF handout guide for breakdown of marks, self and peer evaluation to be done at the time of presentation and handed in day of presentation. Also, you can check out these PDF 2 self, peer, and teacher evaluation sample sheets.

Evaluation Breakdown Component Descriptions Marks
Always double check that you have completed all components for full marks.
Researched Notes - doc with all topics, related info, resources 20
Content - included all required information and resources 20
Layout - organized, visually appealing, and easy to read 15
Presentation - Content, communication, knowledge, and time 20
Self and Peer Evaluation - slides and presentation 20

Unit Conclusion

Understanding about the course, routines, expectations, safety, assessment and evaluation, digital organization, journal entries, you will be able to maximize your learning and understanding. With your researched career and many related ones presented by your peers, will help you decide on possibles with your own future. Knowing this information will empower you and make you more confident where you want to take your future and what you need to do, to get there!

- TOP - Unit 1, Act. 3: Custom Project Proposals



Arduino Uno project


Raspberry Pi project

A computer technology engineering class of students are learning about design process, computers, circuits, electronics programming, networking and interfacing as part of the course have started with circuits and need to continue with other components of the course. By using a microcontroller such as the Arduino Uno or a single board controller, the Raspberry pi (RPi) along with additional hardware components, will allow students to design and build customized projects, based on some pre-defined levels of complexity and their interests. Through research, design, programming and selection, students can learn more about requirements and how to complete related projects.

- TOP -Problem/Challenge:

Working with hardware and programming requirements that must be completed, students are to use the Arduino Uno board (11's) or the RPi (12's) as a project base controller to work from. These devices have in common a programming port, input and output ports. Used with a prototyping breadboard, wire jumpers, and electronic hardware along with programming using Arduino C++ or Python coding will allow students to initiate different hardware/software interfacing and control.

Students will research three project ideas that will include the controller, use of breadboard, electronic hardware, and programming:

  1. Basic level to have a minimum of 2 inputs and outputs with 4 basic coding functions
  2. Intermediate level to include a minimum of 3-5 inputs and outputs with 8 coding functions
  3. Advanced level to create a combination of complexity of hardware and programming resulting in an automation and control practical project (can be simulated)

Each project idea is to include information, details, and related pictures in your report:

Tech Report
Key Information to Include for Each Project Level:
  1. Title, complexity level, controller details, and project description /2, /2, /2
  2. Hardware components, description, supplier, and cost /2, /3, /4
  3. General build steps/process -main step with description /2, /3, /5
  4. Software and programming - language, preparation, and coding functions /2, /3, /4
  5. Overall Project operation of how it is supposed to work /2, /3, /5
  6. Conclusion of learning experience in the form of knowledge, skills, and possible values /3, /4, /6
  7. Minimum of three related resource support links /2, /2, /4

More Details

Project ideas can use basic hardware to simulate inputs/outputs we already have such as tact switches, simple sensors, LED's, and or piezo buzzers to simulate a game board, security system, or a traffic light as some examples. These project reports must be in your own words summarizing with the key points (i.e. not copied from a source document/tutorial), and be supported by images. Once complete, students will present their project ideas to the rest of the class to share and possibly gain further support, ideas, and interests.



- TOP -Project Level Complexity

Different projects can be all relative to each other, so the intention for a simple beginner level project, think low number of common inputs/outputs, minimal programing functions. Intermediate would have several inputs/outputs including some different types, moderate programing code, and may have some networking. Advanced project levels would include several inputs/outputs and of different types, programing, with networking involved. Another factor for the level of your project is the amount, size, and/or scope of the project, will also add to the complexity of the project.

- TOP -Possible Ideas You Could Look At:
  • Security system - sensors, cameras, contacts, etc
  • Automatic lighting control
  • Christmas lighting control
  • Garden centre - irrigation, temperature, water, and lighting
  • Heating control for home, room, indoor garden, etc
  • Smart mirror - news, searches, feedback, weather, time, agenda, etc.
  • Weather station
  • Garage remote
  • Small robot (like a vacuum cleaner or similar) - servos, sensors, lighting, etc.
  • Home theatre - screen, feeds, control
  • Home Automation - sensors, voice, time, control lighting, blinds, coffee, heating, security, plants, media, etc.
  • Alarm clock
  • Traffic light control
  • Integrated board game
  • Phone app. remote control
  • Parallel/Super computer
  • Game emulator - hand held, desk, station, etc.
  • Portable computer
  • Large format drawing

Microcontroller boardsMicrocontrollers

You may have had some initial experience with Parallax's Boe-bot and/or Arduino microcontrollers. Both are similar, and can be used for a lot of different types of projects. Another popular one is Raspberry Pi, which has a little more options to it and is considered a single board computer vs a microcontroller. Depending on what you plan to do with the controller will help you decide on the type of board you will need. Although some boards may look better, you want to look closely at the complexity, programming languages, price, ease of use, community support and its specifications. Arduino is know for it's ease of use and popularity for a wide range of tasks, and for this reason we have several already, for students to start on. Life hacker goes through three popular microcontroller boards as an example, to pick one for a specific project. Here are some links to board types:


This is allows you to see what your project idea is going to look like or how it works before taking an extensive amount of time, materials, and build process. There are companies that do this as a businesses and commonly have "rapid prototyping" as part of this process. It is critical to do, prior to a final build using appropriate CAD drawings, appropriate materials, and build process. By making a prototype before your final build will save you time, cost, and resources.

For your own project, try to see what could be prototyped before attempting to go straight to the final build. Showing some pictures of your prototyping in your wiki would go a long way in showing more process in your documentation to help others see your steps. Trying to build a final in one shot is not only a waist on time, but a waist of all of your resources.


You will need raw materials to support your hardware. Understanding material properties, advantages, ease of use, weight, strength, cost, etc will help with the selection process. There are two major areas that you can look up to get information on materials namely:

When you select materials for your project build, always look into which will work best for your project build. Take a look at your project and start thinking about the materials you would prefer to use for your final build. Remember for your prototype, to use other materials that will allow you to build and test easily. Knowing how to work with materials such as soldering, brazing, gluing, bending, cutting, etc are considerations you must look at.


We use standards to keep things simple, save money, organization, good practice, safety, reliability, quality, minimize waste, increased productivity, etc. When working with your project using standards is going make your project easier to work with and build. For example, size and spacing standards can be used to allow more parts to be adapted to your project frame.

Your project should use common standards found internationally. Take the time to use common standards in whatever your project is going to be. Everything, from using a standard power supply, to common sized fasteners will make your project build that much better..


Whenever possible, design and building in modules can be advantages. Parts can be interchanged and replaced when needed easily and quickly giving you flexibility. There are many examples of using modular components whether it is parts that fit into your computer to you kitchen cabinets,at home to programming, and without it, things would be a lot more difficult to work with.

There are a lot of great examples of the advantage of designing and building with modules. See what parts, programing, and components you can turn modular on your project.


SimplifyIf your design seems complex, look to see if you can simplify, whether it is to streamline your design, materials, build,or process, taking the time to do this will save you a lot of trouble down the road. Simple speaks to everyone as more user-friendly, easier to use, cheaper to make, easier to build, and more accepting.

With your project development and process, take the time to simplify wherever you can to make things simply.... easy.


Allowances are key to things fitting. Fitting meaning things such as parts fitting, allocating enough time for a project to be completed, and having extra material just in case. As obvious as this may seem, it is common to find yourself a little short, whether it is the part not fitting, something cut too small or big, or not having enough parts or time to finish a project. Too much allowance can also be a problem, and tolerance becomes another important aspect to consider. Try to keep this in mind with your projects.

Joining & Fastening

There are lots of options for joining and/or fastening. Some are more permanent then others. Using fasteners, it makes sense to keep the same sizing standard and minimize the number of different sizes in a project to keep it simple and easy to work with.

If you have a kit, you will most likely have everything you need, but custom projects, you will need to make decisions on what to joint/connect project components. Above are some links to refer to for more details on what might work best for you.

Programming standardsGeneral Programming

Programming is a key part of these projects, as we are working with microcontrollers which require programming in order to work. Depending on the type of microcontroller will determine the type of code that will be needed with it. Common to all programming involves a number of key areas that fall under best techniques and coding practices. This will help with reading the code, prevent mistakes, and keep similar standards expected in programming.


parallaxThis is a great introduction to microcontrollers. If you have not worked with them, this board comes in a kit called the Boe-Bot and has a basic microcontroller board with built in breadboard that is programmed with PBASIC. This was used as an introduction to programming by Parallax in grade 10 Computer Technology course. Now students learn to work with our new Tetrix kit with Arduino.


Arduino is one of the most common and easy to learn languages. Here are some resource links to help you with this hardware.

redboard back
Redboard front

We had purchased several RedBoard - DEV-11575 microcontroller boards that are a mix of UNO's Optiboot boot loader with FTDI and R3 shield compatibility. As this is open source hardware/software the schematic pdf is readily available for your to view along with free the IDE coder to program and upload your wiring C or C++ code to your Arduino microcontroller. The back of this board is a lot smoother an less prone to scratching and shorting out because of the electronic surface mount design (SMD) instead of pin through hole (PTH). This method is cheaper, but if you want to replace microcontroller chip, you can't. Short of the above, the two boards have the same microcontroller and can be programmed the same way. Here is a link that talks about the differences, advantages of the Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

raspberry pi


Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a powerful little computer that fits in the palm of your hand. Powerful enough to offer basic office computing, low-level gaming, Internet and e-mail access, media playback and many other features.

General Resources

Here are some general resources that may help overall, with your project.

Ubiquitous Computing.
ubiquitous computingUbiquitous computing

Ubiquitous computing is a more common term in the computing industry that relates to computers all around us and described as the next wave of computers. Below show further information that relates to this area..

- TOP -Common Hardware and Accessories

There are several hardware components that could be used with your controller that include pre-made integrated circuits, assorted inputs and outputs, power control. The following is a small list of some of these components that can be used with a controller to create a controller with hardware and programming interface.


Raspberry Pi Starter Kit


Arduino Starter Kit

  • Prototyping bread board
  • Female/male, male/male wire jumpers
  • Tact Push buttons - momentary, switch
  • Slide buttons
  • LED's solid/RGB and resistors
  • Potentiometers
  • Piezo buzzers
  • Joystick
  • Relay modules
  • Photo-resistor
  • Tilt sensor
  • Number entry pad
  • 7 segment display
  • LCD display
  • Integrated and logic gate circuits
  • Transistors
  • Photo diode
  • Servos - continuous/non
  • DC motor
  • Passive infrared sensor (PIR motion sensor)
  • Infrared emitter/sensors
  • Temperature sensors
  • Ultrasonic sensor
  • Mouse and keyboard
  • Speakers
  • Power supplies
  • SD cards (storage)
  • Cases, frames, and housings
  • Mini WI-Fi dongle
  • Mini Blue tooth dongle
  • Monitor displays
  • Motor controller
  • Transceiver
  • I/O extension/expansion
  • Radio frequency receiver
  • Sensors - orientation, pressure, humidity, and temperature
  • GPS (Global Position Satellite)
  • Accelerometer

- TOP -Resource Links

Below are several resource links that you can checkout to help you with your project, design, ideas, costing, process builds, tutorials, etc.

Electronics and Arduino realated project resources

General information sites related to these type of project components:

Related project idea sites you can check out:

Local suppliers you will find in the area:

On-line suppliers for material and costing:

- TOP -When Pricing Parts

When building a new project, you will need to purchase certain materials. Here are some things to keep in mind when planing your material purchases:

  • Purchase from local or places that have decent shipping charges
  • Ordering from other countries can have hidden cost and time associated with customs and additional taxes
  • Comparative price to see which supplier is going to sell it the cheapest
  • Save on shipping, buy ordering from one supplier
  • Ensure supplier does have the part in stock, otherwise your order could be held back for days if not weeks at a time



- TOP -

The following steps will help keep you on track and complete the project:


  1. Using Google Classroom, you will find some of the documentation listed below
  2. Start by reviewing the PDF Custom Project Proposals HO and the website information above
  3. Decide on your final unique project proposal idea and sign-up on PDF sign-up sheet Each idea must be unique and on a first come bases
  4. After selecting your final project, looking at its requirements, knowledge, and resources, create a rough report with preliminary information, pictures, resources, and support to support and then also show your initial designs the first two project levels basic and intermediate to support your steps to your final selected project proposal goal - things such as microcontroller operation and use, breadboard operation and use, electronic components, circuit operation, coding type and functions needed, etc.
  5. For each project you will need to find all of the required parts needed and list using the supplied Google PDF spreadsheet template
  6. Continue your research looking for your hardware, build steps, programming functions, operation details, related project images, and learning to put into your PDF project proposal report
  7. Note: specialized parts not available can possibly be ordered and/or simulated with simple input/output components to test code and program automation operation
  8. Check that you have added all required information for your report proposal and once satisfied you have it complete, self evaluate the content and layout marks, have a unique partner also mark your content and layout on the evaluation sheet
  9. You will present/share to the class your MCU project proposals, in about a 4 minute presentation with the intention of getting general peer feedback, further ideas, and short discussions

- TOP -Evaluation:

The following is a breakdown of marks related to this custom project report and presentation project.

Evaluation Breakdown Component Descriptions Marks
Always double check that you have completed all components for full marks.
Custom Project Proposal - sign-up 10
Rough Research - 3 levels, details, steps, parts, pics and explanations 20
Custom Project Proposal - content details of 3 project levels report 80
Presentation - 4 minutes for content, communication, & knowledge 20
Total Marks 130