A roundup of February 2020


To get a flavour of what we do, we thought we’d share some details of what we’ve been up to during February. We’ve been busy facilitating workshops, creating new projects incorporating cross curricular STEAM based concepts and working on some exciting new collaborations.

Chris continued his work with students in St. Oliver Plunkett National School in Clonmel. This time around he was working with 4th and 5th class. The 4th class group, who had previously worked on coding concepts in Scratch Jr, learned how to programme micro:bits using the Makecode programming environment. After coding name badges, the students used the on-board accelerometer to create their versions of the “Turtle Wushu” game. The workshop finished with students using their newly learned coding skills to make a “Cup of Light”. The micro:bit was used to switch on and off inexpensive strings of LED lights. Working in pairs the group had lots of fun expanding on their computer science skills by building games and applications.

The 5th class group began the workshop exploring the differences between connectivity and conductivity. They tested this by using powered “light tubes” to create circuits using their bodies which they discovered were conductive. After this, the students made their own playable piano by creating conductive piano keys. Next the students created posters based on classroom projects, on Tom Crean and Native American Indians, which they had been working on. They created scripts and made recordings to add interactivity to their posters. The workshop finished with the students creating a foot controller to play the “Flappy Birds” game! All in all it was a busy couple of days covering many different concepts and applications.

The team of Chris, Hassan and Pam also attended the Computers in Education Society of Ireland’s annual conference in Athlone last weekend. Chris led a breakout session focused on bits and bytes. Attendees were given pages with 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 dots printed on them and asked to make various numbers up to 31 based on turning on and off each ‘bit’.

At the conference itself the team facilitated a workshop where attendees made spinners. Using the most basic of materials, including paper, cardboard and string, everyone was encouraged to make their own spinner to take home. Then the fun started as people got to grips with the rhythm of the spinner … while Chris might be a pro on the spinners, it turns out that Hassan and Pam might need to practice a bit more 🙂

A tachometer was used to test the number of revolutions per minute (rpm) achieved by attendees. The maximum recorded rpm was 9,200 on the day.

The workshop concluded with attendees coding a basic compass using the microbit programming environment. The practical, hands-on activities with a mix of technology and good old fashioned arts and crafts seemed to be a hit with those in attendance.

The CESI conference weekend is always a good one for the team with lots of time for chatting with old friends and new … and some exciting collaborations to discuss and progress!