Category Archives: workshops

Easter workshop fun

What a  great start to the Easter. Sold out sessions and lots of children keen to do coding and physical electronics.

Just some examples of what’s been happening.

sonic

These are some children coding music with Sonic Pi. It seems that knowing your Grade 1 piano pieces helps with inspiring your composition.

joystikcs

And a packed out session of children learning to code joystick games using the Arduino. Some very inventive ideas.

We used neopixels to create some bright lights.

neo1

And of course, we did Minecraft

minecraft1

 

The power of variables – making music easy in KS2 coding

Variables are really useful – as the name suggests, they can vary. When you make a simple change in the variable, the result can feed through a program rather than you having to type it in everywhere.

So for music, we have developed a function. In functions, you can “send” details to a function and it will carry it out for you. It saves you having to keep typing the function again and again.

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Coding music in a primary school with Arduino

A noisy lesson – take a couple of speakers and get them to play a frequency. The frequency range is about 30 hertz to 20,000 hertz. As you get older, the top level you can hear goes down. I like this lesson as it teaches some key words such as frequency, tone, pitch and vibration. It also builds up into teaching the idea of variables as well as functions. Plus it teaches music.

The basic code for Arduino:

tone (10,500);  // 10 is the speaker pin, 500 is the frequency.

Easy to pick up. Here’s an example.

It’s just tones at the moment. We can use this to make music as well.

Programming a light sensor alarm in a primary school

The basic principle of a light alarm is to measure any changes in the light levels. If the level goes above or below a certain level, something is triggered.

I like this because it teaches variables and responding to a change in that variable.

FOREVER measure the light level

IF the level changes, do something.

You can even use the > and < signs to extend it. The circuit is very simple – a light dependant resistor, 10k resistor , 3 wires and an Arduino. You can add more OUTPUTS or use Scratch on screen to do something.

This is an example of Scratch reacting – by 10 and 11 year olds.

Programming RGB LEDs in a primary school

RGB LEDs are great. They can produce a range of colours depending on the amount of power give to each LED bulb. Once you have access to the colour codes, you can produce 256 x 256 x 256 colours. Which is a lot of combinations.

We use Scratch For Arduino. This allows you to easily edit the analog power outputs. Put in a delay and a repeat and you’ve got a disco. As it’s Scratch based, it’s easy to do for primary children.