Get creative with coding

At science made simple, we are always eager to have guest bloggers featured on our website. This blog is written by Meirin Evans, who is gaining work experience at Cardiff University’s School of Physics & Astronomy during his summer break before starting his penultimate year of his Physics degree in Manchester. If you would like to be a guest blogger for our website, please contact us here


By Meirin Evans

Fersiwn Cymraeg.

The words coding or programming are mentioned a lot at the moment. With this comes mentions of devices that allow you to code or programme. Computers are great when they work (and not so great when they don’t work) but can be made even better if you know how to control them. When you code, think of yourself as a translator between language that people understand and language that computers understand. So coding means writing instructions for computers in a way that’s readable for humans.

Coding is now part of the National Curriculum, but there’s loads of options to try out your coding skills at home too. Get coding with your friends, see what you can do together. Get coding with your parents, you might all learn something!

Where to get started?

Scratch character - Svetoslav Iliev, MIT. CC by 4.0.

Scratch character – Svetoslav Iliev, MIT. CC by 4.0.

There are lots of “code clubs” running outside school for all ages and abilities, like in your local library. These clubs might use Scratch. You can use Scratch for free online at https://scratch.mit.edu/. Scratch allows you to move your character around, change their appearance, change the sounds they make and make things happen to them; all exactly the way you want.

Pi

Raspberry Pi logo – Raspberry Pi. CC by 4.0.

 

 

 

 

Another great thing to try is Raspberry Pi. Thinking of saving money for your own computer? Think no longer, a Raspberry Pi is a computer that costs as little as £4! There is so much help online at https://www.raspberrypi.org/ once you’ve got your Raspberry Pi.

 

 

What can you do?

Recently, I was part of a “Robot Hack Day” where loads of kids came together to show off robots they had built and coded to play music! The end of the day saw all the instruments play together in a massive robot orchestra! Making music is just one of the many things you can do with coding.

Here’s a video showing off some of the robots used in the orchestra

Other things you can do from Rasberry Pi Resources:

  • Make a magic 8 ball
  • Make a sweet shop reaction game
  • Make a burping jelly baby
  • Raise an interactive pixel pet
  • Make a Santa detector
  • Make a stop motion animation
  • Make a digital flower garden
  • Take selfies
  • Make your own Flappy Bird game
  • Make a magic weather window
  • Measure temperature
  • Make a “whack-a-block” game
  • Make your own pong game

Technocamps has numerous resources and runs a school competition across Wales. Some of the Science Made Simple team were lucky enough to be part of the judging panel to decide which projects were the best! The competitions are open to primary and secondary schools. This year the competition was to try address problems in schools, such as sorting pencils or bringing homework from pupils to the teacher. In the afternoon everyone was told to dismantle their robots and build them again to dance around!

Here’s a video of some dancing robots

The possibilities are endless. Really, the only thing stopping what you can do is your imagination.

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Posted in Activity, Curriculum, Engineering, Exploring Science, Primary, Technology