Coding for All With Free C-STEM Studio for Raspberry Pi

Tools Bring Low-Cost, Hands-on Computing to Any Classroom

School kids program robot
Participants in the annual C-STEM Day Roboplay competition use the skills they’ve learned from C-STEM to solve problems with robots. C-STEM Studio is now available for low-cost Raspberry Pi computers, ideal for teaching children to program in C++. Photo: UC Davis College of Engineering

Quick Summary

  • C-STEM Studio teaches middle school math, science through robotics
  • C-STEM Studio now available for low-cost Raspberry Pi computers

The free and user-friendly C-STEM Studio suite for teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics through computing and robotics is now available for ultra-low-cost Raspberry Pi computers, in addition to Windows and Mac operating systems.

C-STEM Studio, developed by the Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education at the University of California, Davis, includes software and textbooks, and can be used to control real and “virtual” Barobo Linkbots and Lego Mindstorms robots.

Raspberry Pi computers are low-cost, fully functional computers that sell for as little as $5. They are developed by the U.K.-based Raspberry Pi Foundation, with the goal of putting “digital making into the hands of people all over the world.”

Raspberry Pi computer
The Raspberry Pi is a fully functional computer that sells for $35 (Raspberry Pi Foundation)

The new release of free C-STEM Studio works for Raspberry Pi, Pi Zero and other Raspberry Pi compatible microcomputers. It runs on both Raspberry Pi’s Raspbian operating system and on C-STEMbian, an open source Linux operating system based on Raspbian. C-STEMbian extends Raspbian with additional components, including C-STEM Studio and a user-friendly C/C++ interpreter to help students learn coding, robotics and STEM.

The C-STEM Center will hold a free, one-day workshop on using C-STEM Studio with Raspberry Pi on April 29 at UC Davis (see below).

Using the C-STEM software, students can more effectively learn how to program Raspberry Pi computers in C and C++, the preferred languages for professional software development and interfacing with hardware.

“Anything we can do with Windows or Mac computers, we can now do with Raspberry Pi,” said Professor Harry Cheng, director of the C-STEM Center. “C-STEM Studio makes it simple and easy for beginners to program a computer with C/C++.”

C-STEM Studio is unique among tools for teaching computer science in schools in that it teaches kids how to program directly in C/C++, Cheng noted, a skill very valuable for studies in college and careers in industry.

Raspberry Pi is designed to encourage hobby projects and tinkering, and C-STEM Studio for Raspberry Pi makes building digital and hardware systems easy and fun, Cheng said.

The software tools provided through C-STEMbian allow users to easily program hardware directly and see the results.

Over 60 school districts using C-STEM Studio for classroom teaching

The C-STEM Math-ICT Curriculum provides K-12 students with up to 12 years of hands-on, integrated math and computer science education with coding in Blockly and Ch/C/C++. The curriculum has been adopted by more than 60 school districts, mostly in California. The center focuses on algebra, a gatekeeper for high school graduation and careers in STEM fields. The C-STEM Algebra 1 and Integrated Math 1 curriculum are fully aligned with Common Core State Standards for mathematics.

Upcoming events

More information on upcoming events and free downloads.

Video: Introducing C-STEM Studio for Raspberry Pi


Media Resources

Andy Fell, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-4533,

Harry Cheng, C-STEM Center, 530-752-5020,

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Science & Technology