Setting Up Your Raspberry Pi

We really recommend using a Raspberry Pi for this tutorial! It's a great platform for beginners. It's inexpensive, simple to assemble, and best of all you won't need to worry about installing anything, since all the tools you'll need - including Python itself - are already there.

If you're using a Raspberry Pi for the lessons on this site and you're starting from scratch, here's what you'll need to set it up.

A Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer, simple enough to assemble in just a few minutes and powerful enough to run many applications.

Along with the Raspberry Pi itself, you'll need a few other small pieces of equipment. These days, it's easy to get most of the things you need in a kit, such as this one. For more options, go onto Amazon or your favorite electronics web site and search for 'raspberry pi starter kit'.

Equipment you should have:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Protective case (optional but recommended)
  • Micro USB power supply
  • A compatible SD card, with NOOBS installed (Most kits include a card that already has the NOOBS operating system installed - if you buy a card independently, you'll have to download NOOBS and install it yourself.)
  • Keyboard and USB connector
  • Mouse and USB connector
  • Monitor and HDMI cable

Most kits will come with a guidebook for assembling all of the pieces to get your Raspberry Pi desktop up and running. The Raspberry Pi web site also has a Quick Start Guide that explains all the parts of the computer and walks you through installation.

Once the board is in its case, all the peripherals are hooked up, and the power supply is plugged in, turn on the monitor. You should see an installation screen.


  1. If you're prompted to install several options, only check the box for 'Install Raspian'. Do not select any other options
  2. Click the Install icon
  3. If you get a popup asking if you want to overwrite the existing OS, select YES.
  4. Sit back and wait - this step will take a few minutes.
  5. When the installation step finishes you should see an 'OS Installed' message – click 'OK' to continue.
  6. When the desktop comes up, here are some localization changes that you might want to make:
    • Go to Menu > Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Layout and select the appropriate Country/Variant. For students in the U.S., that will be Country: United States and Variant: English (US).
    • If you want to change your computer's timezone, go to Menu > Preferences > Raspberry Pi Configuration, click on the Timezone button and select the appropriate country and zone name.

For more help with setting up your Raspberry Pi: