Tag Archives: Electric Paint

Exploring Hull 2017 with student voice during Global Entrepeneurship Week

We took Research and Play to the Guild Hall this week.

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week we collaborated with the teams from major projects at Hull City Council and the City of Culture to challenge primary-aged children with STEM to STEAM learning activities.

Focusing on Hull 2017 as a smart city, we used smart technology to explore cultural icons and ‘fascinating fact finding’.

Using proximity sensors and circuits, created with electric paint and Bare Conductive’s Touchboard, children from primary schools across the city triggered sounds to find out more about their home city; past, present and future plans.

Fundamental to the day was the opportunity to capture student voice and actively involve children in activities using innovative tech.

Photo Gallery from the day here.

Inspiring the next generation of digital creators through a peer to peer STEM event

Teachers at Kingswood Academy decided to extend their Big Bang Science event this year, for partner primary schools, to include more ambitious projects for students to share.

Last October’s festival was for one day to promote opportunities through STEM with a peer to peer learning model.

The RM team in Hull have supported these plans and in particular the group of Y11 students leading the festival with their Science teacher, Amy Hill.  It was also this group of students who led lots of workshops with the visiting children from Y6 classes across both days.

Since attending our Tech 4 Change conference themselves in July, as Hackspace advocates, this group of Y11 Science students are now evolving into role models themselves for younger children. Their enthusiasm and understanding of the creative opportunities that computing and the STEM arena bring have inspired KS2 children and given their teachers a range of ideas.


Setting challenges

Over a couple of months we’ve planned projects and activities to engage all learners coming along to collaborate at Kingswood over the two days.


Refining models for art

Each school joined the activities for half a day, with numerous partners delivering a carousel of activities; all through the theme of STEM and for us with a focus on computing.  Specifically, creative computing for all.


MakerEd workshops

Activities included:

  • Designing and making a Scribblerbot to develop the next art masterpiece
  • Circuits’ circus: Projects using electric paint to create robot cards
  • Getting creative with Raspberry Pi and the camera add-on to collaborate with a photo booth project using Python
  • Using proximity sensors with a Halloween theme to invent mischievous new scenarios
  • Music madness with midi keyboards: Designing the next midi keyboard with absolutely anything (actually, with Bare Conductive’s Touchboard).

Scribblybot Art Projects


Art-tastic 🙂


Project iterations


Discovering proximity sensors and code


Themed Looney Tunes!


Photobooth take aways

Full photo gallery here.

“If I can do it, so can you” – Conference Keynote from Dr Sue Black

For those of you who couldn’t join us at yesterday’s conference, here’s a snippet from Sue’s keynote which was recorded using a Raspberry Pi mini computer.  And if you’d like even more info then try here : )

Throughout the Hackspace students were involved and talking about various projects using Raspberry Pi and this particular one had been set up and coded to take photographs for a time-lapse project.

There was also an opportunity for a little bit of mischief with Raspberry Pi when the students planned with us to add a motion sensor to a secret camera assembled on a table top.  All part of the activity plan to share possible projects, of course.

Working with Gary they were investigating whether teachers would be tempted by chocolates on the table and then to look at the photographs captured to see if anybody had an extra sweet tooth.

Actually, if any hands looked like they had a sweet tooth as no faces were seen during this experiment!  Word is that nobody questioned why only one table had chocs and there were a couple of adults who managed to thoroughly test out the investigation……

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Students and teachers collaborated on projects using electric paint, Raspberry Pi, Touchboard and Codebug throughout the day, thinking about how they could be incorporated and further developed back in school.

With activities trialled in the Hackspace each teacher left with a couple of projects to take back to school and share with colleagues.


                                Dots boards and electric paint

Lots of anticipation surrounding the Dots boards!


                 Digi Leaders explaining projects to Mil Vasic

Research and Play: Breathing new life into Photosynthesis

Research and Play just got more creative as a set of Y10 Scientists from The Kingswood Academy join our project.


                            Research and Play

The school have been exploring circuits with Bare Conductive’s electric paint and developing investigations with Raspberry Pi for over a year now, so we’re thrilled that this group can join us to share ideas at the Technology for Change conference on Tuesday 7th July.

They’ve already started to plan projects to bring along on the day and, along with their own teacher,  will invite others to join them and collaborate to develop further ideas in the live hackspace.  Activities will include:

  • Getting creative with capacitive touch using electric paint and Touchboard (ideas below)
  • Developing games and controlling devices using Makey Makey
  • Exploring and designing personalised ‘wearable tech’ using Codebug
  • Using Sonic Pi as a visualisation tool to code musical compositions with scientific data
  • Racing Cannybots as another way to explore contextual modelling
  • Collecting health data and looking at creative visualisation possibilities with the Young Pioneers
  • Getting creative (and possibly slightly mischievous) with Raspberry Pi and Pi-Cam project possibilities

Ideas to share as a taster before the conference?

This week the students have been finalising capacitive touch projects which are focused on creating resources and models to support revision.  Groups have each selected their own topic from their Y10 course.

One group has taken the electromagnetic spectrum as it’s stimulus; another space and planets.


                   Revision notes as a starting point 

The group looking to add ‘modern learning’ (their words) to breath new life into Photosynthesis have been investigating ways to explain areas and share learning tips.

Their ideas have a waft of reminiscence from the BBC Adventure Game (circa 1986…eek) as they take a song, a plant and some nail varnish as core elements to design and create their model.

This time it’s not the BBC Microcomputer but a Touchboard that’s launching their interactive designs.  And the plant will need to be more sturdy than an aspidistra if it’s to hold up to paint and clips : )


      An aspidistra, nail varnish and a tune

Did you know that the pilot show for Adventure Game included a planned activity using salt water to conduct electricity?  It was pulled.  How times change……

Hope you can join us to find out more about how Research and Play is supporting teachers across the curriculum through creative computing projects.  You can register here for your free ticket.

Opening the door with inclusive opportunities using Raspberry Pi

It seems timely to give an insight (and an update) as teachers and learners in some of our special schools continue to embrace the computing curriculum with an impact and enthusiasm sending messages around the city.

Especially timely after receiving an email about one school’s plans for a Raspberry Pi in the garden and asking why did I need to get the caretaker involved.  And what’s it all about? And why do others describe it as exciting? Hmmm…..

Rapiro with AD

Raspberry Pi headlines at World Book Day

Previous blog posts highlight the work and projects from Kath Oliver and colleagues at Tweendykes School.  They’ve taken Raspberry Pi into school and designed and adapted activities from using as a tool to explore cause and effect through to extending programming skills with some students.

Kath’s also been grappling with the Rapiro robot and recently getting a Raspberry Pi to talk to her 3D printer (slightly less grappling) for further activities with student projects.  And that’s led to other schools sharing ideas and learning from recent successes, struggles, highlights and grapples (won’t mention it again, Kath!).

Which brings us onto the plans and activities at Northcott School, after they heard about the flexibility of using Raspberry Pi to support learning through inclusive opportunities *.

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Circuit wizardry?

As a school planning to embed more computer science into their curriculum, Northcott School wanted to investigate how projects could be adapted to meet a range of ASD learner needs and also to incorporate staff CPD.

Last term teachers from the school joined us to collaborate through the Research and Play project. We launched with the Bare Conductive team using their electric paint and Touchboard resources as a starting activity and teachers created their own circuits for interactive displays and resources.

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Thinking, making, testing

This term we’ve been working with a group of students in Y8 who have created their own circuits using the electric paint.  These activities stemmed from an initial project looking at algorithmic design and game control using Scratch with Makey Makey.

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Is it a plane?

Incorporating a physical computing element was a natural progression following the questions from the students and their enthusiasm to create a project which involved other adults from the school, working with the group of students, to use a Raspberry Pi in a real world scenario.

Perfect timing to hone those newly discovered electric painting techniques with the similarly new Raspberry Pi Dot Boards.  Or ‘Epic Boards’ as they’ve been called since : )

Birdbox preparations

Collaborative planning

And finally to the story of the Caretaker, the Pi and the collaboration which has resulted in ‘Project Woodpecker’.   The students have heard but never seen their resident woodpecker in one of the many garden areas within the school grounds.  Their caretaker has. Could a Raspberry Pi project capture photographic evidence?

We’ve spoken about motion sensors & wi-fi, considered line of sight and resident fox issues, discussed weatherproof tech and power solutions.

As a group that has grown, with the headteacher, TAs and more colleagues joining us, we’ve explored through the computational thinking element of the project.

box of bird pi

Box of Pi Trickery

And now it’s a waiting game……photographs to follow?

*The Opening the Door project, to promote Computing opportunities for all, is building on existing networks of support and experiences from teachers to support collaborative planning and share lessons learnt.  As we learn more with each project.