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Full Stacks, Makers, and Pi's? Oh My...

Recently the biggest question that I get asked is, what in the world does a “Full Stack” approach mean? In a nutshell, it means that students get to touch all phases of the “making” process. Ironically, the next most frequent question that I get asked is, what is a maker?

A maker is someone who builds something. Anything. We focus on the Coding and Engineering flavor of making, but makers exist in all different industries. Our Full Stack approach lets students build techy things, but it requires them to participate in design, planning, coding, building, testing, graphic design, and even marketing. They get to participate from inception to marketing.

What would an example “Full Stack” project look like, you ask? Great question. Consider the following problem from our spring break builders camp:

“It is the year 2020 and the world’s communication systems, including the internet, have been knocked out by a race of alien invaders. We do not know who they are yet, but we do know that they look like a mix of lizards and grizzly bears. I know, right?! We are stranded at CodeForce global headquarters, and we have been asked to set up a new communication grid.

With the internet down, this seems all but impossible. But wait a minute! A memory is slowly coming back into your minds eye. When your parents drive you around, the listen to something called a radio! It is an old system that predates the internet. Maybe it is so old that the Lizbears didn’t worry about it.

Yes!! It’s still operational. Our job - design an new device that will hack into the FM radio and broadcast our pirate signal! We must find our parents!”

This is a beginners building project that captures our Full Stack approach. Breaking down each component, we can see how it applies to our STEAM


  • Students will learn basics about how FM radio works, including some basic rules for broadcasting.

  • Students will learn basics about the Raspberry Pi


  • Students will build their mini-computer (We use the RaspberryPi)


  • Students must write the code to broadcast their signal.


  • Students will test their devices and troubleshoot problems.

Graphic Design

  • Students will name their devices

  • Students will create a logo for their new invention.


  • Students will demo their device on the last day of camp.

This project really runs the gamut of the different STEAM area’s that we touch. Plus, it is a pretty typical example of the kind of projects that your kids will work on at CodeForce. We believe that coding is a critical skill that students need, but it’s only one small part of what our future engineers can do. We want to make sure our students leave us having experienced the Full Stack of potential careers (See what I did there?).

Check out our camps and classes and we hope to see you soon!

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