The think it’s all #Maker………it is now ⚽️

A little bit sidetracked, from the initial plan to build a book return box with Dennis and Gnasher sounds, but here goes for a FIFA World Cup maker starter.  With a promise to get back to a Summer Reading Challenge project for Leeds Raspberry Jam next week 📚


First thoughts were a Subbuteo hack, but treasures emerged from a trip to the charity shop.

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Circuit wizardry, with oodles of tin foil and a super quick script in Scratch, were all that was needed to add the magic of Makey Makey into the game.

Cheering crowds for when you score a goal, with added bias of different fans and volume at each end ⚽️

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That short script needs a scoring system next!

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First Light: Electric Paint Lamp Kit

Perfect timing to build on the ‘Dynamic Circuits’ workshop we’ve just delivered with The Ada Show, and continue that exploration through creative tech.

If it weren’t for watching paint dry (literally, that’s not an opinion!), the instructions and boxed kit were so intuitive that it could’ve been ‘open to first light’ in under 10 minutes.

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A quick starter with the twist board and templates saw us up and running with the touch lamp, and origami themes soon emerging.

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Next to tinker with the dimmer and proximity variations before we embark on a personalised project.

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Research published: A year’s #MakerEd in Leeds’ schools

So proud to have worked on this project with the team at Leeds University.

Research centred around interviews and workshops with Y8 & Y9 students, teachers, heads and community makers in Leeds.  Final paper is published here:

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MakerEd Leeds project blog here.

Shake Your #STEAM Power

  • Looking for a project with a social good theme and to build on resilience?
  • Perhaps signposting girls towards STEAM through inspiring female role models?
  • And support to make classroom connections or resources to develop design thinking skills?

These were some of the reasons that I travelled to BETT2017 in January, with an intention to ask the MakerEd community for inspirations and stories.

And that sparked when I discovered and met the team behind this Shake Your Power project.

You might’ve seen their social enterprise online with a more established Spark project. Or recognise their founder, Sudha, from her accomplishments as the percussionist in the band Faithless.

Find out more from her TED X talk from Mumbai below:

The Spark educational kits offers a brilliant STEAM opportunity to explore magnetic induction and principles of electricity, alongside purpose with renewable energy and sustainability .

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The kit is lovely!  Feedback from children that have helped me to build the project and consider activities has been really positive, particularly with the aesthetics and language used in the magazine.

Inspiring girls?  Yes, and actually inspiring everybody including adults.

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‘Quality’ decision making without peer pressure using Picap

Christmas came early last week.  Got to admit that we became embroiled in Quality Street-gate with forceful opinions expressed about which choc should have been replaced.

The trouble was that peer pressure swayed some, and anecdotes through rose tinted spectacles blurred others, into thinking that another choc should’ve been booted first.

Out came the first choc box of the season with a bit of tinkering with the Picap.

Soon we had a set up to give a truly anonymous and representative taste test and decision.

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Must be noted that we’d started with a healthier option for a blind taste test of tomatoes from a plant grown and sold by Ganton School in Hull, and another from a well known supermarket chain. The data confirmed our hunch – the school tomatoes were far more tasty 🙂

For both trials we used the simple touch Python script that allowed us to collect data showing which electrodes had been touched and released.

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And the verdict?

The data suggests that the orange creme should’ve been ditched before the toffee choc.  In our humble opinion of course.

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Making circuits play ball with Makey Makey Go and electric paint

A Summer of sporting optimism and the anticipation of the start of the US Open after th’olympics and Wimbledon.  That’s the background to our latest project, with an intention to nurture problem solving skills and perseverance alongside paddle prowess.

And not forgetting role models though making.  In this case though, linking the sound of successes from Serena Williams and Andy Murray to our own game.


 
The initial idea was to link an extended circuit for the Makey Makey Go to add sound using Soundplant. That meant tinkering with materials such as electric paint, crocodile clips and aluminium foil to get a connection with the bat and ball.

Working from the snickometer concept in cricket, and activating a sound from the ball hitting the bat, soon evolved into a tennis player’s voice from this year’s Wimbledon commentary.

Step One:

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Step Two:

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Step Three:

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And finally:

 

Robotic arms: Clutching at computational straws

I wanted to link computational thinking to tinkering with a low tech approach to explore artificial intelligence for children.

Moreover, to support design thinking skills as we inspire the next generation of digital makers at Raspberry Jam and other maker events with projects sharing robotic arms and other AI examples.

Construction-based activities with the clear focus on high tech progression of learning possibilities.

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Understanding robotics and then design using straws, string and tape was the starting point to launch a series of challenges based on problem solving.

From that led to the inclusion of Strawbee kits.  Whilst still keeping to low tech resources, more robust structures made successfully accomplishing more complex challenges possible.

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Next steps: Debugging to be continued and then programming 🙂

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