Lightboard Lab is a loops/lists/tuples lab assignment for a CS0/CS1 course. For this lab, students program 8x8 matrices of LED lights via a Fadecandy microcontroller. Students are encouraged to work in pairs and/or individually for this lab.
This laboratory encourages students to work together. Create even greater opportunities and incentives for students to work collaboratively in and outside the classroom in order to grow a more inclusive student community.
Lightboard lab is engaging because students are programming a tangible piece of hardware. Though highly pixelated, the 8x8 matrix is effectively another form of output to program, providing a welcome break from the monitor. Introducing basic (yet fun) hardware programming in CS0/CS1 provides a new take on what can be done with computer science, and this is meaningful and relevant for students. For example, in marketing, signs and billboards using lights to scroll text and display animations. Additionally, students program the boards to produce various custom animations, including spelling their name, a flag, an emoji, or another fun pattern- which is an example of incorporating student choice.