Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Raspberry Pi CodeClub Week 5

Armed with the tested and verified worksheets, I was optimistic that everyone would be making their leds flash by the end of the session.

I also hoped for a faster get-up-and-running time now that I'd added the HDMI settings to the /boot/config.txt files on all the Pis. This seemed to be a success as everyone got their Pis working and connected to the screens without any assistance from me. A first!

Actually, a couple of Pis were stuck with the old 'not reading the SD card'. I'd already shown the group the 'trick' of removing the card and blowing on the contacts: a quick reminder and the children were able to fix the problem themselves.

We also had a visitor to the club today. A reporter from the local paper had come to write an article about the school's CodeClubs being awarded Star Club status and took some great photos of the children posing with their Pis. I hope I was clear enough to explain the ethos and philosophy behind CodeClub and Raspberry Pi, but I guess I'll have to wait to see the published article to find out...

I was struck by how confident some of the children have become at assembling their Pi and constructing the circuit. They whizzed through the simple led blink activity and launched into extending into a reaction game by adding a couple of switches.

Quickly completing the Scratch control code the two boys who've already done some Python didn't take long to start tackling that version. Fantastic progress!

I wanted to build some momentum around our Astro-Pi ideas by demonstrating as many of the sensors that the Astro-Pi board as I can. This week I set up a MiniMU-9 (that I'd been using for a kite-mapping idea) with my lovely PI 2 to demonstrate what kind of measurements might be possible with an accelerometer and a gyroscope. Thanks to David E Grayson's excellent visualiser code I was able to give a really graphical display.

Casualties of war 

We had one Pi dropped on the floor and, unfortunately, it landed smack on the GPIO pins. I resisted the impulse to try and bend them back during the club and have brought it hope to attempt a repair in calmer surroundings.

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