Eurotherm is at the Brighton Science Festival again for the Bright Sparks event at Hove Park School. As well as technology demos, we were looking at programming the BBC micro:bit, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and also the Scratch language.
Here’s some more information about what we were showing…
The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, which was given free to every child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK in 2016. You can buy it from a number of places (thepihut) from around £13. You program the BBC micro:bit using any web browser which provides a simulator and the means of copying your program to the BBC micro:bit.
The micro:bit website has a number of excellent lessons which guide you through learning programming basics and the features of the BBC micro:bit.
Download the 2018 project worksheets here.
Also try our 2017 Workshop projects
Raspberry Pi is a complete computer, about the size of a large matchbox, that costs around £30. You will also need a keyboard, mouse, screen and power supply. Alternatively, you can buy everything you need, except the screen, as a kit from Maplin. Since the display output uses HDMI, you might be able to use your TV as a screen.
Some kits to allow you to control electronics from your Raspberry Pi are available from SK Pang. The Raspberry Pi can connect to the outside world using its GPIO pins, and you can control these pins with wiringPi.
We’ll be making mods to the Minecraft game using a Rasberry Pi computer.
PC Pro magazine has an article on making a Raspberry Pi game in Python.
Another fun Python project is Tux Crossing from Gordons Projects.
Scratch is a fun programming environment for learning. Programs are made by dragging and dropping colourful elements of a computer program onto the screen.
At BSF in 2013 we used some projects from the Raspberry Pi Education Manual (PDF).
Construct 2 is a great free program that lets you create fun games that run in a web browser, and on some mobile devices. We showed Construct 2 at Brighton Science Festival 2012.
Greenfoot is an interactive environment for learning the Java language.
Want to join up with others to have more fun with Scratch and other languages? Why not look for a Code Club – a national network of after-school coding clubs aimed at 9-11 year olds. See also this article from Wired magazine.
If you need more information, or would just like to tell us about your project or something you’ve discovered, email firstname.lastname@example.org.