LEDs can be confusing to order.
- WS2812b are individually addressable light strings that let you program amazing animated light scenes.
- They work on 5v and need seperate power
- IP65 is a measure of waterproofing and has silicon protection around all the pixels making them much more durable to twisting and drone strikes.
- Can be ordered with 30 / 60 / 144 chips (or pixels) per meter. 30 pixels per meter is about 1 per inch.
- WS2812b can be cut between any pixel.
- Three wires feed into the strip: 5v, signal, ground.
About $18 (China) to $32 (Amazon)
LED string can draw a lot of power; far more than any Arduino style board can supply. The WS2812b chip is really 3 leds in 1 (red, green, blue). White is RGB all turned on at once. Cut off a 10 pixel strip for prototyping as the Arduino onboard regulator can handle that. Longer installations require a separate power source.
There are two types of AC DC power supplies used.
The metal cased ones are much better but have exposed 120v wires so don't use these for students.
A 5 volt 5 amp black plastic cased transformer should supply enough power for 10' of non-white pixels.
Search for "5V 5A AC/DC Power Supply" About $15.
Schools have plenty of Arduinos on hand. However they are very limited in memory and speed. The ESP32 chip is cheap and super powerful with plenty of memory and amazing wireless options. They cost about $7 from China. Note the esp is a 3.3v system but takes 5v in. You can use any pin as a signal pin into LED string.