Tag Archives: workshops

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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Robot coding using text based coding in a primary school

Great trip to Brampton primary school. We used Arduino text based coding to control robots. Text coding is harder as it needs words to be spelt correctly and all grammar and punctuation in the right place.

Once the code is uploaded,  the robot can simply be controlled with a battery.  The children performed a range of manouevres including squares.

Building a maze in Minecraft with the Raspberry Pi

Inspired by a picture on a blog – I have decided to program a maze in Minecraft.  But this is no ordinary maze. It will have trap doors, sliding doors and other ways of confusing the people. I wonder if I can recreate a crushing roof where it comes down slowly?

Anyway – this is my first go. I am working on a much bigger one. This is 10 by 10. The next one is 15 by 15. The door shuts when you get in and you have to find the magic tile to get out.


Using an 8 x 8 LED matrix with an Arduino

This was fun. The matrix has  8 x 8 LEDS. They get turned on and off by selecting the column pin and row pin HIGH or LOW.

This is an example of what you can do.


So how is this done.

The matrix has 12 pins going across at the top and 12 pins at the bottom. After some playing around, this is how it works

It’s to do with the 3 times table (and the 8 times table)


  • Row 1 controlled by pin 3
  • Row 2 controlled by pin 6
  • Row 3 controlled by pin 9
  • Row 4 controlled by pin 12
  • Row 5  controlled by pin 15
  • Row 6  controlled by pin 18
  • Row 7  controlled by pin 21
  • Row 8 controlled by pin 24

If you turn a row ON (HIGH), the LEDS have power.

The LEDs come in green and red,

  • Column 1 controlled by pin 1 / 2 (green is 1, red is 2)
  • Column 2  controlled by pin 4 / 5 (green is 4, red is 5)
  • Column 3  controlled by pin 7 / 8 (green is 7, red is 8)
  • Column 4 controlled by pin 10  / 11 (green is 10, red is 11)
  • Column 5 controlled by pin 13  / 14  (green is 13, red is 14)
  • Column 6  controlled by pin 16  / 17  (green is 17, red is 8)
  • Column 7 controlled by pin 19 / 20 (green is 19, red is 20)
  • Column 8  controlled by pin 22 / 23 (green is 22, red is 23)

If a column pin is LOW, the LED turns ON.

So to get number 12 to light up GREEN , it’s in Row 2, Column 4 so we have Pin 6 HIGH, Pin 10 (LOW)

If we want 21 to light up at the same time, it’s in Row 3, Column 5 so we have Pin 9 HIGH pin 13 LOW. But Because row 2 and column 4 are also ON, that will light up more than we need. So we need a delay in the circuit.

I’m going to add some diagrams to explain this. The code is here.