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LFI Super Coders’ Class Activities

LFI Super Coders Program

What do we do in the group?  It’s a busy hour!

THE AIM is have a fun and positive learning experience, where the children can learn coding and enjoy using the computer, by making their own games and playing together on the network. 

They have to learn some Maths making their sprites move around and hopefully this coding programme will encourage them to enjoy science at a broader level.

There is a variety of  activities for them to choose from so that the children can work together or at their own pace as it suits them and there are lots of stickers, certificates and prizes to recognize all the skills they are learning and games they create. 

This year we are flying high to space! 

EIRSAT 1  – Ireland’s First Satellite – Designing its Mission Patch Competition 

Space Week – October 2018

Every satellite worth its salt needs a unique logo or ‘mission patch’ to be stuck on it, and the children entered a competition in October to design one for Ireland’s first satellite EIRSAT-1, that is the ‘Educational Irish Research Satellite 1′ for International Space Week.

We have therefore been finding out more about the UCD Space Lab where a team are  developing the cube style satellite.

There were some great designs by the children (note the flying leprechaun!) and lots of discussions and videos about space … some children have already been to NASA and played on the old rockets!  Here’s a sample of some below:

                              

 

This Year’s Project — Astro-Pi – Space Adventure!  

Writing to Astronauts on the International Space Station

The European Space Agency and Raspberry Foundation are running a competition to encourage coding and scientific investigations using the Pis and ‘sense hats’.

We are entering this international competition for primary schools  to code a message using Python on the Pis to run on LED lights on a ‘sense hat’ attached to the raspberry pi that will be read by astronauts on their Raspberry Pi on a space shuttle orbiting earth!

Mission Zero 

Click here to see one of messages in Python sent off to astronauts in International Space Station (ISS), saying ‘Hi’ and measuring temperature and humidity using the online virtual sense hat, a piece of equipment which can sit on top of their Raspberry Pi in real life and measure heat, movement and more. The messages from children around the world will be played in May 2019 and certificates will issue indicating their run time.

Raspberry Pi Project Material, from Raspberry Pi Foundation

Click here to see the project material some of the more grown up children are using to explore the uses of the sense hat for Mission Zero.

Using the Sense Hat & Pi to display messages and cartoons along its LED display 

Last year we used the sense hats and some older students had great fun coding in Python the LED lights to create a moving figure in lights, below.

   

What is a The Raspberry Pi?

 This mini computer has been designed a few years ago in the UK for children learning coding and comes pre-loaded with lots of fun programs.

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What is done at the various LEVELS? (more details below) 

There are various courses for the children to work through at their own pace, depending on their level of skills

They will be working their way through several online programs, Scratch programming, code.org, raspberrypi.org/projects, BBC touch typing for children and more.

As a parent what you can do

The children are very proud of working with their parents and we often hear about your time together later in class.  After completing the initial paper based set of Scratch skills they will be creating logins to various courses and you could work with them on some of these courses …

login to Scratch

Code.org     

BBC Touch Typing for Children 

 

For the more experienced coders … 

Essentials of Sense Hats – PDF from Raspberry Pi Foundation

Sonic Pi – electronic music program on the Pi

MORE DETAILS OF THE ONLINE PROGRAMMES / RESOURCES BELOW

1  Beginner Level – Scratch

What is the Scratch Program?

 Scratch is the main program used and with it your child can program their own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share the creations with others in the online community.  27 million projects have already been shared globally.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

 Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the prestigious MIT Media Lab.

Scratch Skills Card Sheet 

Using Scratch 2 on their Pi the children work through the card and learn how to make their various cartoon ‘ sprites’ / characters move in 12 different ways

 

As they complete each of the 12 skills, they get a sticker on their card.  On completion of the 12 skills, they get their first certificate. 

 

 

 

Code.org

This is an online professional site with programming skills for 6 years upwards. It teaches real beginners how to click and drag, and various skills like looping, with fashionable games like Star Wars.  Each student has their own login, where their work is recorded.

On completion of 500 lines of code they get a certificate presented to them in class.

2 Intermediate Level 

Scratch Games & Code.org

  • They can start making games in Scratch, putting together the 12 skills they have learnt by copying the coding from game sheets.
  • Then they start making their own games using their new skills, incorporating a few items stipulated like a variable and a score.

Python programming 

Sense Hat: They can learn how to write some code to make their ‘sense hat’ light up.

Minecraft can be tweeked using Python, much to the delight of the children who love Minecraft.

Other Skills learnt as they go along:

Maths

They have to learn some maths to plot the position of their animations and make them move:

  • X, Y axis and coordinates
  • angles … move 90 degrees south
  • Compass directions (north, south, east and west).

Techie Stuff –

  • assembling and trouble shooting their computer station
  • upgrading the Raspian Operating System,
  • customising their Pi.

Touch Typing

Many are enjoying practicing their touch typing using the popular award winning BBC Dance Mat. They get a certificate on completion of the 12 levels of the 4 stages.

There’s a big difference in the keyboard skills of those that do this course and those that don’t.

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OTHER FUN ACTIVITIES

Binary Bracelets

Bracelets made for a loved one or themselves using 2 different coloured glass beads to spell out their name

 

Astronomy

There are some short stunning YouTube videos  with beautiful photos of nebulae and galaxies courtesy of the Hubble telescope, which I hope  encourages a wider interest in science.

 

Sonic Pi – electronic music

This electronic music system comes free with the Pi, and some children have a lot of fun making tunes using this.

 

 

Minecraft – Pi Version 

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How is the class time  structured? 

1   The first 15 minutes we assemble the Raspberry Pis.

  • This gives the children the chance to learn about the hardware, and how to trouble shoot any of their technical problems …

For the next 30 minutes the children work through various activity sheets of different levels.

  • They get a sticker on completion of each activity, and a certificate on completion of the sheet.
  • This means that they and I can see their learning progress

3   Show and tell …. the students can show their games on the projector to the class and describe how they made it.

4   The last 15 minutes is ‘Free Time’, for them to do what they like on the computer.

  • Many love playing Minecraft on the network together, building and destroying their worlds they create together. [Minecraft Pi version comes with the Raspberry Pi.]

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RESOURCES

Programs:

*** Scratch MIT

*** Code.org

*** BBC Dance Mat – Touch Typing

** Sonic Pi – electronic music

*** Pi version of Minecraft

*** Raspberry Pi.org

Raspberry Pi Projects

Books

*** 20 Games to Create with Scratch by Max Wainewright

* Code Your Own Space Adventure by Max Wainewright (a bit wordy, students say)

 

 

 

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