New Elective at Ridgefield Academy Provides Students a Foundation in Engineering

Raspberry Pi Elective at Ridgefield Academy

Charlie Galliher is the Director of Information Technology at Ridgefield Academy, but that is not his only job.  For the last five years, Mr. Galliher has taught Grade 6-8 students an elective course called Raspberry Pi. This course ties in directly with RA’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning and its STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative.

Mr. Galliher’s approach to this class is not only to provide students an introduction to coding and component based electronics, but also a foundation in engineering.  Students in this class create motherboards and sensors, and from these exercises build, write code and program them for a number of experiments.  It is important to Mr. Galliher that students not only develop skills in the classroom but also understand these are real world skills that can be applied to work and research being done by many companies around the world. 

To make this point, the class took a trip to OSDA, an electronics assembly manufacturing company in Milford, CT to enhance their understanding of the computer building process. There, students see OSDA’s cutting edge capability for rapid prototyping and new product introduction. Students return even more excited to see that what they are learning can be transferred to a future career.

This elective also provides possible opportunities to collaborate with other RA teachers in different subjects, especially art, history, and math where there is crossover and tie-ins with the broader curriculum. 

We look forward to seeing how the Raspberry Pi elective will continue to evolve as it provides students with opportunities to employ creativity, work collaboratively, and problem solve independently and as part of a team, all while building skills that will serve them well through their academic careers and beyond.


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