Tech Will Save Us x CBBC Live!

Wednesday 4th November

We spent the weekend at CBBC Live in Hull. It was a really huge event with lots of different tents housing everything from Doctor Who coding challenges and the CBBC Fab Lab, to the Absolute Genius tent where we met Ohbot which we had great fun interacting with. The main stage of the show was in in Hull City Hall and had a jam packed program of live shows and visits from everyone from Danger Mouse to Dick and Dom. We haven’t heard a final count for the day but word on the street was that there were as many as 25,000 young people and their parents at the event over the two days.

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For Technology Will Save Us it was an opportunity to show off all the great things we are doing with the micro:bit in the Technobabble tent. The micro:bit is heading out to every Year 7 student in the country in the Spring term. They will get lots of hands on experience getting to grip with the micro:bit but we knew we would have a much younger audience at CBBC Live. There were some amazing people offering micro:bit coding experiences and visitors would have plenty of opportunities to code so we decided to showcase how much you can do with a single piece of code.

 

We had a full weekend...

We programmed the micro:bit with a scoring system and buzzer. Every time a change in voltage was detected on Pin0 we would add another point to our scoreboard and sound a buzzer. Very simple you might think, but from that one piece of code, some household objects and a few extra crocodile clips from our Electro Dough kit we made three different games.

First up was the football game, where your fingers did the walking and flicked a ball into the back of the net. When the ball hits the back of the goal it compresses two pieces of aluminium foil together which completes the circuit and sounds the buzzer. Next, our basketball game. In this one we used some electro dough to create the same type of circuit as the football game. Once the electro dough basketball landed in the net the buzzer would sound and another score would be added. Our final game was a fishing game, you’ve probably played a version of it before. We created a seabed from tinfoil and attached it to our micro:bit, we had origami fish which everyone made and decorated inside of which we hid a paperclip, and for the rod we inserted a magnet in one end and at the other end was our micro:bit. In this game the scoring worked in the opposite way with each buzzer and point signalling touching off the seabed as opposed to collecting a fish. Competitors had three lives to catch as many fish as they could from the pond.

 

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Offering physical ways of interacting with the code turned out to be a great way to inspire people to consider how it’s working and what they could change, a favourite was changing the scoring system on the fishing game to count down from three to zero, Giving people a starting point to improve on and starting with a physical outcome is just another way of understanding and learning what code is and how we can use it to our advantage. Vlogster from Technobabble certainly enjoyed it.