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Royal Institution Computer Science Masterclass Series: Robotics at Surbiton High School – June2019

Royal Institution Computer Science Masterclass Series: Robotics at Surbiton High School – June2019

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On Saturday the 8th of June, I ran a physical computing workshop with Mikel at Surbiton High School. It was part of the Royal Institution Computer Science Masterclass Series.

It was a robotics workshop based around the Micro: bit. Our aim was to include an element of coding, electronics & making skills to build a remote-controlled robot and program it using Python, while also allowing the girls and boys to choose the features of their robot. For example, deciding on the motor speed; robot chassis design and wheel size.

In preparation for the actual day, Mikel and I had several meetings to plan the workshop format, map out the different areas of code, modify components and adapt the worksheets. On the day of the event, we set up all of the computers, downloading the necessary software ready for the participants. The room which our session was based in was laid out on 3 different levels, with rows of computers which spanned across the room in an arc shape. This layout later proved to help things to run more smoothly, since there was more space and it was easy to access everyone when they needed some help.

When the attendees came in, we gave a brief introduction to the workshop and talked them through a few points to help with the running of the morning.  There were about 26 year 9s in total and they split themselves into small groups of twos & threes.

I felt that the year 9’s managed to work through the session very well and independently. Nonetheless, on occasion, I had to point them in the right direction and to help them to troubleshoot. All of the attendees that we mentored were really engrossed in the workshop, and within their separate groups, they went through a cycle of tweaking bits of the code and thinking about what could be changed to make their robot perform or look better.

Towards the end of the workshop, everyone had successfully created a robot that was able to move in all directions. For those who also managed to reach the LED programming stage and the bumper activated direction change, they soon realised that there were so many more possibilities that could be added to their robot. What I think made the experience even more enriching was that the pupils got to collaborate with each other; showing other groups what they had made and coded and even a bit of friendly robot racing and robot tipping.

On the whole, I think that everyone really enjoyed exploring the Micro: bit further, and hopefully, they will carry on building upon this experience.

P.s. Stay tuned for the last Coderdojo at Kingston University blog of the season, where I will run an adapted version of this workshop.

Avye

Hi, my name is Avye and I love making, coding, designing, exploring new technology and swimming! This site is about the things I get to experience, discover and enjoy. Welcome to my world!

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