Advancers – Spirals

This week Eoin led the Advancers group, we looked at drawing in Scratch, using the Pen blocks and some simple maths to draw some patterns.

As always, we started with a Plan:

A Plan

  1. A Button Sprite – to start the drawing.
  2. A Simple Sprite to do the drawing.
  3. Some maths to make it draw a Spiral

We started by drawing a square, to draw a square in Scratch we used the Pen down, Turn and Move blocks.

To get a spiral effect we had to make sure that we moved a little bit further each time we drew our square.

We also decided that we should be able to make spirals with different shape so we  needed some variables to help:

  • Shape – This would tell us how many sides the Spiral should have
    • We made this in to a Slider on the screen so it was adjustable.
    • Min value was 3 and Max value was 100
  • Degrees – This would tell us how much extra to turn, this made the patterns a lot more interesting.
    • Again, we made this one into a Slider so we could adjust it.
    • Min value was 0 and Max value was 360
  • Size – This was an internal variable, which we used to keep track of how many Steps to move each turn, we also added a little bit to it each turn to make the Spiral pattern.

The drawing Sprite

This was the Sprite that did all the work. To work out how far we should Turn each time, we divided 360 by the number of Sides, we then added the degrees value to get the strange effects working.

The code ended up looking like this:

 

The Button Sprite

We used this sprite to start drawing, we used a broadcast so out button sprite could “talk” to out drawing sprite.

Oliver will be back next Saturday.

See you all then Declan and Eoin

CoderDojo Athenry Information Session, Sept 2019

Thank you to everyone who came along for our information session yesterday Saturday 14-Sep-2019.info_session

Michael introduced us to the CoderDojo movement and then talked to us about CoderDojo Athenry and what we have planned for 2018/2019. Michael’s presentation is here:CoderDojoAthenry-InfoSession-2019-Sept .

Julie then spoke about our loaner laptops where we provide laptops for people who don’t have their own. Speak to Julie or any of the mentors (we’ll be wearing blue t-shirts) for more information.

Martha then spoke about Health & Safety and our shop, where we sell tea/coffee with biscuits for €2.00 or €1.50 if you bring your own cup, with all profits going towards equipment etc. for our CoderDojo. The H & S and Coffee Shop slides are here: HS-and-Coffee .

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This year, we have 4 different rooms with different topics in them, for different levels of experience and age.

Explorers- led by Martha for Beginners from around age seven. They use the Scratch programmimg language to build games, quizes and animations. Here are Martha’s slides: CDA-Explorers-S8-Information-Session .

Advancers- led by Oliver is for kids who have already been through Explorers. They tackle more complicated programming concepts, during the year the Avancers group will investigate various topics like gravity, music and even what happens when water boils using Scratch.

Modellers- led by Kieran is for older kids who have been through Explorers and Advancers. The Modellers group will concentrate on making 3D game resources using apps like Blender and Gimp. Here are Kieran’s slides: CoderDojoAthenry-Modellers-KickOff-Sept2019.

Hackers- led by Michael for older teenagers who have been through Creators and Bodgers. The Hackers group themselves usually decide what topics they will cover with many of them working on their own projects. Here are Michael’s slides: Hackers-Intro-Slides.

Kids are free to move between rooms until they find a topic that suits them.

To find our schedule for the 2019/2020 sessions click on the schedule button at the top of this page.

If you have any questions or if you need any help, please talk to me or any of the mentors.

See you all next Saturday.

Declan and the CoderDojo Mentors

CoderDojo Athenry Returns on 14 September 2019!

return

CoderDojo Athenry is starting back with an information session on 14 September 2019 in Clarin College Athenry (“the Tech”) at 12:00 noon. All new and existing members are welcome to come along to find out what we have planned for this season.

Regular weekly sessions will start the following week, 21 September 2019, 12-2pm in the same venue.

New members are always welcome. If you are aged between 7 and 17, just come along on the first day and fill out a registration form. Young people aged 12 and under have to be accompanied by a parent/guardian for the whole session.

And don’t forget, CoderDojo Athenry is run by volunteers and is completely free for participants — no membership fees, no weekly contributions. You should bring a laptop if you have one, but we have some loaner laptops if you don’t. There is more information on our About page.

We hope you can join us. You are welcome to invite your friends along too!

Congratulations to all our ninjas who received belts in Summer 2019!

On 2 May 2019, at our final CoderDojo Athenry session of the 2018-19 year, we awarded a total of 75 belts to our ninjas for their great individual achievements in acquiring and demonstrating coding and computing skills. And then we had a party with pizza!

Here is a link to our presentation from the day: CoderDojo Athenry Belts Day 2019

We are very grateful to Clarin College Athenry and the principal, Ciaran Folan, for their enabling CoderDojo Athenry by making the school and its wifi available to us.

We are also very grateful for the sponsorship and support we have received this year:

  • Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board, who provide us with an annual Youth Club Grant
  • Medtronic, employer of our mentor Declan Fox, who provide us with a grant to match Declan’s excellent volunteering
  • HP Enterprise, employer of our mentor Mark Davis, who provide loaner laptops that we make great use of
  • Boston Scientific, employer of our mentor Kevin Madden, who provide us with 3D printers.

 

Thanks also to everyone who supported us by buying tea or coffee!

Because of these supports, no child or parent/guardian ever has to pay to participate in CoderDojo Athenry.

And of course we must thank our mentors, who volunteer their time and expertise entirely without charge week after week, to make CoderDojo Athenry the success that it is.

Here is the full list of belts we awarded:

  • Explorers:    34
  • Advancers:  25
  • Bodgers:     8
  • Hackers:      5
  • Creators:     14
  • Black Belt:   2

Special mention must go to Eoghan McGuinness and Ruaidhri Madden, who received their black belt awards. Both have been in CoderDojo Athenry for several years, working their way up through the groups, and this year started Mentoring. Well done, Eoghan and Ruaidhri!

CoderDojo Athenry is now closed for the summer. See you all in September!

Bodgers –Magic Ball

This week in the Bodgers group we revisited Pygame Zero and worked on a fortune telling game based on a Magic 8 ball.

I gave the group some artwork I prepared in the Paint.NET graphics editor and we wrote some code to animate them.

I’ve added the code and images to Dropbox here.

See you all on Saturday for Belts and Pizza, don’t forget to bring drinks.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh.

Bodgers – Soldering & Crimping

Usually in the Bodgers group we use breadboards and jumper wires to connect our components together which is fine for prototyping, but today we looked at some techniques for making more permanent connections.

Soldering is a process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and then flowing a filler metal into the joint—the filler metal having a relatively low melting point. The metal to be soldered is heated with a soldering iron and then solder is melted into the connection. Only the solder melts, not the parts that are being soldered. Solder is a metallic “glue” that holds the parts together and forms a connection that allows electrical current to flow.

We started by soldering some header pins on stripboard, then we looked at using a desoldering pump to remove excess solder. Then we looked at stripping insulation from wire, soldering two wires together and using heat-shrink to re-insulate the wire.

An electrical crimp is a type of solderless electrical connection. Crimping is normally performed by first inserting the terminal into the crimp tool. The wire is then inserted into the terminal with the end of the wire flush with the exit of the terminal to maximize cross-sectional contact. Finally, the handles of the crimp tool are used to compress and reshape the terminal until it is cold-welded onto the wire. We crimped both insulated and uninsulated terminals onto some wire.

 

See you all next week.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh

Congratulations to our Ninjas at Coolest Projects 2019

Congratulations to everybody from CoderDojo Athenry who participated in the CoderDojo Coolest Projects International in the RDS Dublin on 04 May 2019.

We had three projects which all sparked a lot of interest with the public at the event. Adam presented his game “The MegaMaker”, David and Michael presented “FidoFinder” and “Go With The Flow” was presented by Mark.

 

Special congratulations to Adam who was runner up in the Games category and the Go With The Flow team represented by Mark who were runners up in the Hardware category.

 

Bodgers – Cool Projects

Hello again everyone.

In the Bodgers group we’re starting to put our projects together for the Coolest Projects Showcase.

“Coolest Projects International is a world-leading showcase for young innovators who make stuff with technology. If you’re up to 18 and you’re making something with technology for fun, to solve a problem, or as a creative outlet, then we want you to come out and share your project with us! This free event will take place in the RDS Main Hall, Dublin, Ireland on 5 May 2019.”

Find out more here: https://coolestprojects.org/

If you have any questions you can contact me at coderdojoathenry@gmail.com.

Don’t forget we’re off for the next 2 weeks, we’re back on 27-Apr-19.

see you all then.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh

Bodgers – RFM69 Radio Modules

 

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Hello again everyone.

This week we looked at the Adafruit RFM69HCW Radio Module, these modules allow us to send messages between Arduinos without using Wifi or Bluetooth.

Adafruit have a tutorial here on setting up the module. The basic steps are:

  1. Solder on the header pins.
  2. Solder antenna or wire cut to the the proper length for the module/frequency
    • as our frequency is 433 MHz  we cut the wire to 16.5 cm.
  3. Wire up modules to your Arduinos
  4. Download the RadioHead library to your Arduino IDE.
  5. Load the RadioHead69_RawDemo_TX code from this library to the Arduino you’re using to transmit.
  6. Load the RadioHead69_RawDemo_RX code from this library to the Arduino you’re using to receive.
  7. Test

Next Saturday we will be putting all of the different components from our projects together and testing out how they work.

see you all then.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh

Bodgers – Texts & Emails

This week we looked at sending texts and emails from our python scripts.

To send text messages you will need to set up an account on Twilio which is a platform that allows coders to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages from their programmes. You then install the Twilio python library which will allow us to send texts from our script using code like this.


# Download the helper library from https://www.twilio.com/docs/python/install
from twilio.rest import Client

# Your Account Sid and Auth Token from twilio.com/console
# DANGER! This is insecure. See http://twil.io/secure
account_sid = 'your account_sid'
auth_token = 'your auth_token'
client = Client(account_sid, auth_token)

message = client.messages \
                .create(
                     body="Hello Bodgers",
                     from_='+440123456789',
                     to='+353123456789'
                 )

print(message.sid)

To send an email we use smtplib which is an email library that’s built into python and which works well with Gmail. We need to change our Gmail setting to allow insecure apps and then we can use the code below to send our message.


import smtplib

server = smtplib.SMTP('smtp.gmail.com', 485)
server.starttls()
server.login("my.email@email.com", "myPassword")

msg = "Hello World"
server.sendmail("my.email@email.com", "some.email@email.com", msg)
server.quit()

See you all on Saturday

Declan, Dave and Alaidh