Astro Pi workshop

I am always keen to develop my range of workshops and activities for schools and events and was asked to do 4 x 2.5 hour workshops at school during 'activities week'.

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I decided to do a new workshop this year based around Astro Pi and using the Sense HAT

The presentation can be found here

Equipment:


Session outline

  • Welcome to workshop (slide 1 and 2)
  • Quick recap about Tim Peake (slide 3)
  • Watch launch video (slide 4)
  • If this is the first time some people have seen a Raspberry PI show the video on slide 5 and slide 6
  • Quick build activity (15 mins) - Minecraft in Space (slides 7 and 8)
  • Extension - Minecraft coding with Python 3 (slide 9 if needed)
  • Introduce Astro Pi with video on slide 10
  • Hello World (slide 11) - don't give away the excitement about what is about to happen!
  • Continue story of Astro Pi with videos on slides 12 and 13
  • Sense HAT sensing and human senses (slides 14 and 15)
  • Measuring temperature (and pressure etc) (slide 16)
  • The end of the story (or is it?) (slide 17)
  • Pixel Art - (slide 18,19,20)
    • Students can try the sample code of the Mario Cube
    • Students then design their own pictures on the Sense HAT templates
    • Extension: Animation

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Raspberry Fields

Raspberry Fields
A Festival of Digital Making - Cambridge
30th June - 1st July 2018


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It is about 24 hours since I got home from Raspberry Fields and I thought I would put down a few thoughts about the weekend and particularly what I got out from volunteering at the event.

Raspberry Fields was a ticketed two day festival of digital making held at the Junction theatre in Cambridge. In their own words it was a

"chance for people of all ages and skill levels to have a go at getting creative with tech, as well as a celebration of all that our digital makers have already learnt and achieved, whether through taking part in Code Clubs, CoderDojos, or Raspberry Jams, or through trying our resources at home."

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My weekend in numbers:

  • 206 miles driven
  • 24 hours spent in the theatre
  • approx 18 hours spent on stage or in the wings
  • 20 talks supported with 22 people miked up
  • 2 hot dogs eaten
  • More bottles of water drunk than I can count

The weekend started at 4.30am on Saturday morning with the drive down to Cambridge from Birmingham. After a safety briefing I was able to rig up the main stage for the presenters. At one point we had three laptops, one raspberry Pi, a monitor, TV and projector running from my table!

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Most of the two days was spent introducing the next speaker and ensuring that they could present as smoothly as possibly. My perfectionism definitely helped with this!

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Every singe talk was really great and having listened to every one I felt really privileged to be part of such a great community.

  • David Furguson -if you have not yet started using PiBakery for imaging and configuring your SD cards you really need to do it now!
  • Lorraine Underwood - such a talented maker but also so willing to share the FAILs along the way.
  • Martin O'Hanlon - great things you can do with a Blue Dot
  • Andy Melder - wow, such amazing collaboration across so many sectors!
  • PJ Evans - how not to boil your fish and great way to get started with home automation
  • Koichi Nakamura - if I had not seen this for myself I would have never believed you could do deep learning inference on a Raspberry Pi
  • Richard Hayler - always a pleasure to hear about CoderDojo
  • Karen Mouws - coding can and should be inclusive
  • Naturebytes - great seeing the animals 'captured' with a Pi
  • Penny Cater - drones, say no more!
  • Alan McCullagh - the real story of Babbage the bear (and Babbage!)
  • Masafumi Ohta - it was great hearing about Pi community and projects in Japan
  • Femi Owolade-Coombes - I love hearing what you have been up to and the journey you are on
  • Paul Fretwell - how to get started with robots, very useful and informative
  • Mike and Tim - the making of Pi Wars and an important announcement about Pi Wars 2019
  • Jonathan Pallant - I had not heard of Rust - now I want to try it
  • Nicola Curnow - I was fascinated to hear about the work of digital inclusion in Austraila

All the talks were recorded and I will post the link here when they are up on YouTube.

Both days were wrapped up with entertainment with Saturday finishing with Neil Monteiro helping a Pi get into Space followed by Ada.Ada.Ada which really was a spellbinding interactive show about Ada Lovelace. Sunday ended with the Brainiac Live show, this was an explosive finale to the weekend.

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What did I get out from it?

It was great hanging out with old friends from the Pi community and also making new friends too. I genuinely feel that the Pi and community has given me so much over the last six years that giving back some time was just something I was proud to do.

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