Arduino microcontrollers are showing up everywhere, because they are inexpensive and very, very useful in many electronics and robotic builds. Plus, they are open-source, which means you can take other people's ideas, modify them, and make them your own.
For us, these little boards are great. You can build cool electronics projects like those we saw in class, plus you can use them as the "brains" in robots. And they serve as a great introduction to physical programming. You will program them to listen to sensors and, based on that feedback from the environment, they will do something by controlling actuators.
These are used often at the university level, so getting used to them now not only gives you creative geniuses the ability to invent now, but it also gives you an advantage over others when you start your post-secondary careers.
To help you remember what you learned last year, reference my cheat sheets, try tracing through these Arduino sketches, and follow this lab. You can also watch my video introduction to programming Arduino.
Our major learning goals for this unit are: