Tag Archives: student event

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.

Exploring Computational Thinking through Magic

A group of Year 9 students from Winifred Holtby Academy used the art of magic to consider and discuss key principles of computer science and explore computational thinking.

Card Trick

They watched a series of magic tricks from Jody Greig at Flummix and learnt to perform each one. Throughout the day the students experienced learning experiences based on saliency, logic, flow charts and design principles through the performance of magic.


During each learning session, the students worked collaboratively to create resources and showcase videos to share with peers.  They created an animation of a card trick using Scratch and then completed a series of iPad challenges with some outcomes using iMovie.


We also witnessed some naturally confident performers!

Card Trick to support Computational Thinking from Ed Team on Vimeo.

What did they like best?

  • The learning of the magic tricks with binary along with Science and ICT which is STEM
  • Mostly I enjoyed learning new things that I can go away and try on other people
  • Learning to do magic tricks and also experiencing iMovie
  • I enjoyed EVERYTHING about the day
  • I enjoyed learning the magic tricks which I can go away today and show people
  • I liked the magic tricks the most but also learnt a lot
  • Learning new things and magic


Most students commented about how they were going to try out their new found magic skills on friends and family, and they all recommended the event to peers.

How about describing the day, and what it meant to you, in just one word?


Why would they suggest the day as a positive experience to friends?

  • Because it was fun and you get to experience magic
  • Because it is a fun way of learning
  • Because it was fun and had maths in it
  • Because if they’re into Computer Programming this might help
  • It is fun and has been a change and unique from other lessons
  • It was really interesting and inspiring

The group have also used the project and challenges for evidence towards their Bronze Crest Award which will recognise their achievement with STEM.   Watch this space for the next Dynamo style illusionist stepping out from Hull : )

Opening the Door to Computing opportunities for all

Perhaps now is a good time to explain the origins of the ‘Opening the Door….’ project.

From the onset of the Computing project in Hull,  our aim was to support schools to introduce the new Computing curriculum, develop staff confidence and engage with students creatively and dynamically to impact on attainment and achievement.

It was a bold statement but one that we committed to delivering with an inclusive approach.  We wanted to support and lead through CPD, projects and events to ensure that ALL students were offered opportunities to study Computing.

Just as importantly that all students were able to engage with computing projects, to get excited about Computing, and to be inspired through Computing.

Web banner


From earlier posts you’ll have seen a snapshot of what was achieved at the KS3 Raspberry Jam and event at Kelvin Hall to raise aspirations in STEM, but it’s always been a key consideration to look at progress and impact on T&L in schools afterwards.  The ‘what happens next’ consideration.

There are more school-based activities planned for this term.  There’s a day to develop computational thinking through magic and also a careers focused event looking at the role of a cyber-security professional, with techniques students can use to ensure their own e-safety, and those used to protect the nation from cyber threats.

But of course students are inspired daily in school by their own teachers, and it was a visit to the Computer Science lunchtime club at Sirius Academy that prompted another discussion about strategies towards widening participation.

I’d met some of the students at the Jam, and as I was introduced to them there was a noticeable gender imbalance; the group was mostly girls.  As a couple of teachers at other schools had talked about encouraging girls to participate in Computing activities, I asked how so many girls were engaging with this twice weekly club.

The teacher’s response?  I opened the door.

Opening the door!

The girls had been waiting outside the room before their next lesson, so an invite into the club to get an early seat and an opportunity to be challenged through computing projects led to them becoming active members of the group.

There’s nothing ‘pink’ about this club.  Just a focused and well prepared set of challenges to inspire ALL students.  This enables them to select their most appropriate progression route through challenged-based learning to support personalisation and group work.

‘Just’ doesn’t do it justice – it’s intensley planned 🙂

And so the phrase was born and has stuck.

Opening the door to Computing opportunities for all

What are the challenges offered at Sirius Academy?

Students are extending their learning through a range of projects including programming, robotics, and game-making.  A recent challenge was to build their own electronic circuits and integrate them with Arduino modules to control the robots.  Raspberry Pi mini computers also form part of their resource bank to support challenges.

They’ve also looked at wearable tech and have used the electronic fashion projects to create their own textile projects.

Girls ada fruit 1st April 2014 photo 2

Some activities at the club have been trialled and then integrated into cross-curricular projects. Creating a game controller using a Makey Makey kit gave the students the chance to test out various objects and the students thought it was a great was to explore circuits.  Now there are similar activities planned, with a cross-curricular theme, through D&T and Music.

Additionally, a group of Y8 students recently entered the BAFTA Young Games Designer 2014 competition. Using a carousel timetable, they looked at character design in art, chemical reactions and explosions in science and the ethics of gaming in Humanities.  Other tasks that were delivered through different subject areas included the design of an international marketing plan, vectors and strategy.  Finally students create a detailed proposal for their game.

Opening the door to Computing opportunities for all.

As the project extends across the city when we share ideas and plan towards priority areas, please do get in touch for any further info.

And look out for more examples from other schools who are extending Computing opportunities to ALL students.

For anybody looking for further reading and links, the CAS Include subgroup is a great resource and community.


Raspberry Pi Inventors – Crazy ideas (or not?!)

Students from Y7-Y10 worked with adults at the recent Jam to invent the craziest inventions with Raspberry Pi.  

They considered everyday situations and challenged each other to find new solutions using sensors and thinking about unusual locations.  Listen to some of the students describing their inventions for Alan’s podcast here.

IMG_0490 IMG_0482 IMG_0494

A personal favourite and perhaps the most ambitious?

The ‘Anti Jaffa Cake Theft Device‘.  Using a Pi and a movement sensor hidden in the jaffa cake, a wind turbine pops up if anybody tampers with the cake and blows the thief away.

A bit extreme?  The team motto was ‘Go big or go home!

IMG_0491     IMG_0492

Or how about a motion sensor inside of you that could send a photograph to Twitter when you hear music?   Dad-dancing alarm?

Here are a couple more examples from Alan’s Twitter feed:

Hmm… Not sure how useful this invention might be. @ITAMCHull Hull #rjam pic.twitter.com/r63poqSDsN

Pi in the Sky for Hull Schools?

Well I haven’t come across a Raspberry Pi in the Sky project in one of our schools, yet, but there’s lots of creativity being planned across the city with these mini-computers.

A small group of our teachers received some training before Christmas to support with using Raspberry Pi to deliver the curriculum and through coding clubs for extended student projects.

The aim of the day was to find out what a Pi was, what it wasn’t, how they could be used for learning and why.   A big ask?

One teacher commented about the ‘Well planned and organised day“, whilst another said it was “An absolute inspirational boost that many people need“.   Have you added CPD to support the new curriculum with Pi into your development plans yet?

Here’s a snapshot of comments from teachers.  You’ll see that technology’s not always the best medium to collate ideas!


Pi 2 Pi 3

There’s another opportunity for CPD at the ‘KS3 Raspberry Jam’ in Hull on 20th March.  Look out for the earlier blog post with more information, and register yourself and 3 students to attend the day at Andrew Marvell Business and Enterprise College.   It’ll be another opportunity to observe Alan O’Donohoe’s inspiring delivery and network with colleagues and STEM Ambassadors across the city about ideas for an engaging Computing curriculum.

Want inspiration for student projects using Pi?

Babbage Bear

The Pi Group from Andrew Marvell will be displaying their projects and activities throughout the day and there’ll be the chance to ask them about their next steps with Pi and Lego. They’ve also kindly agreed to film the day for us, using Raspberry Pi (of course!), which means that a time-lapse video will be available as a resource afterwards.

We’ll be capturing ideas from all of our schools on the day and sharing great examples of innovative projects.

I know that some of you are starting and continuing with clubs and projects this term, so it’ll be another great opportunity to collaborate.  Need some support?  We’ll add it to the CPD plan!

What will you call your Pi Bear at your school?   Will it still be Babbage once the students learn about more Computing legends?  Ada seems like a popular choice at the moment!

Hope to see you at the Jam!

“Inspiring the digital creators of tomorrow – Teaching computational thinking through magic”

For this event we’ll be using iPad technology with a magical focus to teach computational thinking.  In particular, we’ll be looking at exciting learning through the concept of algorithms.

Winifred Holtby Academy have kindly volunteered to host this whole-day event on Wednesday 18th June 2014.

top hat

As ever, students will be joined by a teacher from their own school who will be actively participating in the group projects throughout the day.  This time each teacher will be able to take away a copy of teaching resources in an E-book format to deliver, adapt and expand the sessions back at their own schools.

Event Overview (for students & teachers)

  • Using the art of magic to teach key principles of computer science and computational thinking
  • Use of iPad technology for learning with CPD opportunities for teachers
  • Based on material from the eBook, The Conjurer’s Classroom
  • Each section will focus on a different challenge using iPad tools

Conjurer's Classroom

“Inspiring the digital creators of tomorrow – A Raspberry Jam for KS3 students”

Thursday 20th March 2014 – (9.15am – 2.45pm)

at Andrew Marvell Business and Enterprise College

“A Raspberry Jam for KS3 students”

Raspberry Jams have already enabled teachers to see what kind of projects colleagues are developing for their Raspberry Pi computers and in turn developing some resources for teaching computing in their own classrooms.

In Hull we’re working with Alan O’Donohoe, again, who will facilitate this student event.  As an established Computing at School (CAS) Master Teacher and trainer, Alan has taught Computing from Key Stage 2 to GCSE and among other things is the founder of the Raspberry Jam movement. http://about.me/alanodonohoe

With our intention to firmly place the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths curricular areas at the heart of everything we do, we’re also excited to have support from regional STEM Ambassadors for this event.

Teachers and Ambassadors will be actively participating in the group projects throughout the day with 3 KS3 students from each school.   Some schools will also support the day with KS4 mentors who have already showcased their computing expertise through Pi and coding clubs in their own school.

Intended outcomes:

  • To inspire the potential computer scientists of tomorrow and to showcase all of the exciting opportunities in the field of computing.
  • Students will have the opportunity to work in teams to program Raspberry Pi, solve coding problems, be creative, be enthused and have fun through Computing.
  • This event is aimed at Key Stage 3 students and will also give teachers who attend the opportunity to get hands-on with a Raspberry Pi and consider how they can be blended into lessons.