Bodgers – Making a start

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This week we got things off to a flying start with Bodgers Bingo where the Bodgers had to look out for various phrases as I went through a very long slideshow that introduced them to what we do in the Bodgers group, it went very well with lots of Starburst and Chewits for everyone. My slides are here Day 1 (PDF).

We are going to start of the year by working on the Astro Pi Mission Zero Challenge in which the Bodgers will use a Raspberry Pi Sense Hat to write a greeting and display the temperature inside the International Space Station to the astronauts on the ISS. Here are the guidelines for Mission Zero Astro_Pi_Mission_Zero_Guidelines_2018_19 (PDF).

If you’re interested in buying a Raspberry Pi I’d recommend the following sites:

https://thepihut.com/

https://shop.pimoroni.com/

For electronics components and for breadboards etc. I’ve found https://www.bitsbox.co.uk/ are good value, they also do cheap Arduino clones.

That’s all for this week, we’re really looking forward to next week.

Declan, Dave & Alaidh

CoderDojo Athenry Information Session, Sept 2018

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Thanks to everybody who came along for our information session last Saturday the 15th September 2018.

Michael introduced us to the CoderDojo movement and spoke about CoderDojo Athenry and what we have planned for 2018/2019. His slides are here: CoderDojoAthenry-InfoSession-2018-Sept (PDF).

Martha then spoke about 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.

Julie then talked about our loaner laptops where we provide laptops for people who don’t have their own. Speak to Julie or any of the mentors for more information.

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This year, we have 5 different rooms with different topics in them, for different levels of experience and age.

Explorers- led by Martha for Beginners from around age seven. Here are Martha’s slides CDA-WeeK_01_Information Session.

Advancers- led by Oliver for kids who have already been through Explorers. Here are Oliver’s slides Advancers2018.

Creators- led by Kieran and Mark for older kids who have been through Explorers and Advancers or have other coding experience. Here are Kieran and Mark’s slides Creators-2018-Intro.

Bodgers- Led by Declan also for older kids who have also been through Explorers and Advancers or have other coding experience. Here are Declan’s slides bodgers_introduction.

Hackers- led by Michael for older teenagers who have been through Creators and Bodgers. Here are Michael’s slides Hackers-Intro

You can find more on the About page of this website: https://coderdojoathenry.org/about/  and our schedule for 2018/2019 at https://coderdojoathenry.org/schedule/

We look forward to you joining us!

Bodgers – Coolest Projects UK

As you may remember from before Christmas Kevin, Zack and Barry won a prize in the Raspberry Pi Pioneers competition, part of that prize was an invitation to Coolest Projects UK which was held in London last Saturday.IMG_20180428_130215

The first thing that struck us when we got there was how small the event was, there was about forty projects there, compared to Coolest Projects in the RDS. However this is the first time that Coolest Projects has been run in the UK so it’s a very good start. We also noticed that at least half the projects were hardware based which reflects the fact that there are more Raspberry Jams etc. than CoderDojos in the UK.

The day started with us setting up our “Piggy In The Middle” project, followed by a very nice speech by Philip Colligan. The lads then demoed their project to the public while they were waiting for the Judges. After the judging was finished there were science shows by Greg Foot and Neil Monteiro as well as stands to keep the kids entertained, Zack and Kevin really enjoyed the huge version of Connect 4 that was there. In what has now become Coolest Projects tradition for Kevin and Zack they had their picture taken again with Philip Colligan CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

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Then it was time for the results, the Mobile category award went to Meriem Ait Ziane for her app of healthy eating recipes and advice as well as support for diabetic people and a personalized diet plan according to your health conditions.

The Games category was won by Hamdan Syed and Amiyan Ezdi. The game they coded is called Calorie Challenge, which challenges you to remember the amount of calories in each meal/snack.

The Website award went to George Hart for his project called “Educelevate”. He designed the website to educate children of all ages on various topics.

The Scratch category was won by to Gabriella Jenkins and Liya John for their game “Toad Ahoy”.

The Hardware category went to Avye Couloute for her project: Voice O’tronik Bot. We were all very impressed by both Avye and her project and were delighted to see her win.

We enjoyed our visit to Coolest Projects UK and we can’t wait for Coolest Projects in the RDS.

Back in Athenry Dave helped the rest of the Bodgers with their projects.

Bodgers – Pygame Zero

This week we took a break from hardware and we looked at Pygame Zero. Pygame Zero is for creating games quickly and with fewer lines of code than would be used with Pygame. It is intended for use in education, so we can learn basic programming without needing to understand the Pygame API or how to write an event loop.

Pygame Zero is designed for the Raspberry Pi but it can be installed on other systems, we used Windows without much hassle. It comes installed on the Raspberry Pi already if you have a recent version of Raspian. To install on windows open a command prompt and type:

pip install pgzero

You may need to install Pip if you didn’t install it when you installed Python. To do this go to Control Panel/Settings and then Add/Remove Programs, scroll down and click on Python then click on modify, tick the Pip check box and save your changes.

To run your code from Idle or any other IDE you need to add two lines to your code, at the beginning before any other code you need:

import pgzrun

and at the  end of your code put:

pgzrun.go()

We will be using Pygame Zero for graphical input/output in our projects but if you want to have a go at writing a game, CodeConjuring’s Froggit youtube tutorials are a good place to start.

 

See you all next week.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh.

Deadline for Registering for Coolest Projects 2018 is 25 March

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25 March 2018 is the deadline if you would like to enter Coolest Projects, which will take place in Dublin on 26 May. You can find out information and register here: http://coolestprojects.org/

We have had lots of great participation from CoderDojo Athenry at Coolest Projects in the past few years, from our youngest members to our oldest, in all of our groups. People who enter find it a fun and rewarding day.

Here is a presentation from 2 years ago about entering:

https://coderdojoathenry.org/2016/03/03/information-about-coolest-projects-2016/

Bodgers – RPM & KPH

Last Saturday we had a look at how we might figure out how far and how fast a bike is going using a Raspberry Pi. We used a very basic set up with just a micro-switch attached to a toy trike with a little nut taped to the front wheel, each time the wheel rotates the nut would “click” the micro-switch.IMG_20180214_122408

We would need to use a reed switch or a hall effect sensor and a magnet attached to the wheel if we were to use this on a real bike.

We started of our coding by looking at the time.time() function. This function returns the number of seconds, in decimal form, since 01 January 1970. If we want to time an event all we have to do is use time.time() to get the start time and use it again to get the end time and then subtract the the start time from the end time.

We used this to get the the amount time it takes to do one rotation. Now we want to find out how many rotations we have per minute or RPM (revolutions per minute). As our result is in seconds the easiest thing to do is calculate revs per second so we divide 1 by the time it takes to do 1 rotation and then multiply the answer by 60 to get RPM.

Now we wanted to get KPH(kilometres per hour) so first we measured the circumference of the wheel and found it was 50cm or 0.5 Metres. We then calculated metres per minute by multiplying our RPM by 0.5 and we then multiplied this by 1000 to get KPH.

Here’s a picture of what our results could look like when displayed using Pygame. We will look at Pygame later on as it’s an excellent way of displaying information.IMG_20180214_122722

See you all after the break.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh

Bodgers – New Kit & New Projects

Hello again Everyone.

Last week in the Bodgers group we began by looking at our new keyboards and Touchscreens. These will allow us to easily design touch based projects and projects that need a monitor. They will also be invaluable at the start of next years sessions as we can get our code on the Raspberry Pi straight away without any need to connect our laptops.

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We also started planning our next project with a short brainstorming session and we have a couple of ideas we will develop further this week.

 

See you on Saturday.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh

Bodgers – Basic Electronics

Hello again Everyone.

I was away this weekend so Dave looked after the group.

He covered some basic electronics theory such as Ohms Law, how we use resistors in our circuits to protect other components and how to wire up an LED. He also helped the group build a simple traffic light circuit controlled by an Arduino which they then programmed.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation have announced that they are not running the Pioneers Challenge this year and are instead concentrating on the Coolest Projects. This means that Coolest Projects is now open to Code Club and Raspberry Jam members. There will be a UK Coolest Projects in April in London and Coolest Projects in Dublin will now be called Coolest Projects International. See more info here.

We have two sessions before the mid-term break so we will concentrate on coming up with ideas for our next projects and how we might implement these ideas and that will leave us a couple of weeks to get components etc. organized.

See you all next week.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh.

 

Bodgers – More SenseHAT

Hello again Everyone.

This week we continued to play with the Sense HAT and as we’ve been mostly focusing on projects so far this year we took the opportunity to look at some of the theory behind programming.

We looked at how we use variables, loops and decisions in our programs and we also learned about algorithms. An algorithm is a set of rules we can use to solve a problem for example an algorithm to determine if a given year is a leap year. A year is a leap year if it is divisible by four, but not by one hundred, unless it is divisible by four hundred.

We then worked on a program which would allow us to “move” an LED around the LED matrix on the Sense HAT. You can run our code on the trinket.io Sense HAT emulator.

Dave will lead the group next week when he will cover some basic electronics.

Thanks.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh.

 

Bodgers – Prizes and Plans

It was great to see everybody back after the break.

I had a big box of goodies from the recent Raspberry Pi Pioneers competition. We got more swag for both teams that entered including some very nice badges and three really interesting books.

Our Zombie Trolls also got their prize for failing really well 😊. This included a Raspberry Pi, a 5” HDMI Monitor, some basic electronic components, t-shirts and an Astro Pi Sense Hat (Hat stands for ‘Hardware Attached on Top’).

The Sense HAT add-on board was specially created for the Astro Pi competition which gives kids the chance to get their code running on one of two Raspberry Pi devices that are on the International Space Station.Astro_Pi_Ed_and_Izzy_on_the_ISS

The board gives Astro Pi the ability to ‘sense’ and make many kinds of measurements, from temperature to movement, and to output information using a special display – the 8×8 LED matrix. We had great fun playing around with the Sense Hat and it’s definitely something we will get great use out of and maybe we could enter the Astro Pi competition and have our code running on the ISS.

We also took a look at controlling an Arduino from Unity 3D which is something that could be used for 4D/Immersive Technology type game.

See you all next week.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh