Teaching literature with Raspberry Pi

Last week, checking out posts people had made on our Facebook page and the projects they were telling us about, one in particular caught my attention. Sarah Roman, a high school English teacher from New Jersey, had written:

Our English class is going to be using the Raspberry Pi in order to build book-based video games, incorporating Scratch, Sonic Pi, and Python. The students are incredibly excited […]

There was a link to an Indiegogo campaign; we love to see Raspberry Pi used creatively outside of computing lessons, so I clicked on it. A minute of video opened with the title “English Classroom”, but it didn’t look like my high school English lessons. Students work around computers, ignoring the camera as they concentrate intently on… wait, is that Minecraft?

I got in touch with Miss Roman to find out more. She intends (for starters) to get students in her Junior Honors class – that is, 15- and 16-year-olds – building Pi-based games consoles with games that draw on their reading of Dracula by Bram Stoker, and she is raising funds to kit out her classroom with Raspberry Pis and accessories. The students will use Scratch, working collaboratively to create their own graphics, sounds, and housing for the console. Older students will be using the Raspberry Pis in their study of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Of course, these plans are only the beginning of the road for the Pis, both within and beyond Miss Roman’s classroom; her project proposal notes that there could be an opportunity to work with other instructors to show them how they might use Raspberry Pi in their teaching.

English Literature students

This isn’t the first time that Miss Roman has introduced video games to the English Literature classroom. Last year, Juniors reading William Golding’s Lord of the Flies worked in groups to build the island where the story is set from the imagery evidence they found in the text, adding significant quotes and moments to it via signposts and books; putting each student group into the same Minecraft world allowed them to explore each other’s work. Students were thrilled to use information from the book to build their own islands, and would sigh when the class came to an end. Miss Roman says,

Essentially, the Pi is helping me to integrate fiction and nonfiction, different literacies, and boost creative thinking […] I’m extremely happy with the Pi, and I’m sometimes staggered by the applicability it has for my classroom. I think that complex texts and ideas deserve projects that offer complexity as well, and by opening avenues of this kind for students, they have the ability to understand texts in ways that haven’t been previously accessed.

We’re excited to learn about Raspberry Pi being used in this way, and we hope that this crowdfunding campaign garners plenty of support – we’d love to hear more from New Jersey as this project takes off!

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The Benton Park Live Coding Orchestra

We’re always really excited to see the resources and tools we make being used by kids in school. This video is from Benton Park Primary School in Newcastle, where a Sonic Pi orchestra put on a live coding performance recently. You can see setup, practice and some of the performance itself here.

I first watched this with Sam Aaron, who created Sonic Pi, looking over my shoulder, and we were both giggling with glee.

If you’re a teacher and you’d like to get something like this going in your own school, but don’t know where to start, why not apply for one of our free CPD sessions at Picademy?

Benton Park Raspberry Pi Live Coding Orchestra

And if you’d like to hear more from Sam, he’s going to be live-coding some of the music for the evening party at our upcoming Big Birthday Weekend – I hope you’ll be joining us!

Edited to add: you can read more about the orchestra on the Benton Blog.

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Handheld games console – for REAL dummies

Here is the most rubbery review presenter we’ve ever met. Bryan Lunduke is here to show you how even a complete beginner whose hands are made from foam can build a games console from scratch, using a Raspberry Pi.

A tip, Bryan. I know you do not have hands that work (or, presumably, fingernails); but you’ll find that Pibow you’re using looks EVEN BETTER if you peel the backing paper off each layer!

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Big Birthday Weekend – what’s happening, where and when

More than 1000 of you have signed up already to come to our Big Birthday Weekend at the end of February. Tickets for Saturday are now sold out, but there are still about 80 left for the Sunday event.

We’ve had lots of excited email from people who are coming, who want to know more about what we’ll be getting up to. Mike Horne (who many of you know as Recantha) and Tim Richardson, who run the Cambridge Jams and who are doing the lion’s share of the organising for this event, have been kind enough to provide an update for everybody. 

We’d like to say a HUGE thank you to Mike, Tim and Lisa Mather, who are all members of our wonderful community who have volunteered to do the massive bulk of the organisational work on this event for us for free – we’re a very small team and we simply couldn’t have managed this without them all. Thanks guys!

Hello everyone. Mike Horne and Tim Richardson here to update you on the Raspberry Pi Big Birthday Weekend.

What has been happening?

It has been quite a couple of weeks. On the 13th of January, we visited the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory in the hope that it would act as the venue for the Raspberry Pi Big Birthday Weekend. We were incredibly impressed with the place and we would like to thank Professor Jon Crowcroft for making us feel so welcome and showing us around. It is a brilliant venue and we are very lucky to be able to hold it there.

University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory

Since that visit, it would be fair to say that we haven’t stopped! We opened up booking on the 14th January and since then we have sold over 1000 tickets across the two days and the party. The party sold out first, closely followed by the Saturday day event. There are still tickets available for the Sunday, and we are now running a waiting list for the Saturday. If you’d like to join us on the Sunday or join the waiting list, please register.

What will be happening at the Big Birthday Weekend?

Each person who has registered has been asked how they would like to be involved with the weekend, and we have been absolutely inundated with offers of talks, requests to join discussion panels, offers to help run workshops and to take part in show and tell. Mike has been collating all these different offers and requests and the timetables are now being worked on with Liz and the team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. We hope to be able to release a firm programme within the next week after we’ve contacted everyone involved again. What we can say so far is the following:

  • We will have two lecture theatres and two workshop rooms.
  • Talks include: Andy Proctor, talking about his Raspberry Pi-enabled truck; Jonathan Pallant from Cambridge Consultants talking
    about their penguin and rhino monitoring stations; and a healthy education element (we’ve had loads of offers of education talks). There will be LOTS more – we’re just trying to sort through everything now!
  • Panels will include: a group of youngsters talking about how the Raspberry Pi has changed their lives; advice on running crowdfunding campaigns; a Foundation Education Team panel; a technical panel including Raspberry Pi engineers; and Q&As with all the people you know from the Foundation from social media and this blog.
  • Workshops will include: an introduction to integrating the Pi with electronics; a session for beginner Pi users which will  help them get set up; basic Minecraft programming skills; advanced Minecraft hacking with GPIO interfacing; a Scratch hackathon.

Party time!

On the Saturday evening there is, of course, a birthday party. We have had to limit this to 275 people, due to catering arrangements. Logistics for the party are being spearheaded by Lisa Mather and Tim. Lisa has been an absolute star for agreeing to help with the party, especially as she’s way up in Manchester. From there, she has been organising goodie bags and decorations and generally being brilliant, coming up with ideas to make the Lab look welcoming and exciting, as well as lending her party planning experience to help us not to miss anything! Tim and Lisa are also working out what Pi-powered party games we will be having, as well as organising Pi-powered music for the occasion.

Marketplace

Tim has also been organising the Marketplace for the event. The Marketplace will feature many well-known names in the Pi community including The Pi Hut, PiBorg, 4Tronix, Pimoroni and also a newcomer to the Pi arena: IQaudio who specialise in GPIO audio boards. We are hoping that there will be another couple of vendors joining us, but they need to confirm with us.

Robots!

We’re inviting anyone who has their own Raspberry Pi-based robot to bring it along to show it off. At Pi Wars we had a highly popular obstacle course. This course will be making an appearance at the Birthday Weekend (after Tim has carefully put it all back together again!) and you are invited to bring your own robot to try it out!

Picture from  www.pi-tutorials.co.uk

Picture from www.pi-tutorials.co.uk

Further information

One of the other things we have been working on with the Foundation team is an information page for the event. On this page you will find information on the venue, parking and where to stay in Cambridge if you require accommodation. We hope you’ll find the information there useful. If you have any questions about the event, please mail mike.horne@raspberrypi.org and we’ll attempt to answer them as best we can and then add that information, if appropriate, to the information page.

That’s it for now – we are aiming to keep you up-to-date with what has been happening every week, so don’t forget to keep on checking back!

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Education, space, hacking and explosions – Bett 2015

Last Tuesday the Raspberry Pi education team beetled down to the ExCeL London for Bett, the gargantuan learning technology event. We spent the next four days on our new and fabulous stand talking, educating, demo-ing, entertaining, showboating, dancing and gerrymandering. There were astounding demonstrations of technological ingenuity, feats of strength and curious electro-mechanical devices.

Ready for action: the education team plus James Robinson (leftest), Martin O'Hanlon (bluest) and Sam Aaron (tallest).

Ready for action: the education team plus James Robinson (leftest), Martin O’Hanlon (bluest) and Sam Aaron (tallest). Clive is weeping openly but laughing inside.

We were happily overrun by what seemed like most of the Raspberry Pi community, many of whom made guest appearances in our back to back schedule. We ran hands-on-workshops in Minecraft Pi, Sonic Pi, physical computing, games programming and much more. We stormed the BETT arena with Astro Pi and Fran Scott’s pyro-computing show. We ran about and hooted. It was a brilliant show. My post-show brain is far too fried to write so here are some of our favourite bits:

Carrie Anne kicks off the show with who the Raspberry Pi Foundation are and what we do

Carrie Anne kicks off the show with who the Raspberry Pi Foundation are and what we do

Set-up day. Dave says this is the only place he could get electricity.

Set-up day. Dave claims that this is the only place he could get electricity.

I am not a number, I am a free man.

I am not a number, I am a free man.

Laura Dixon's (@codeboom) students from the Royal High School Bath talking about  Minecraft coding and their computing club

Laura Dixon’s (@codeboom) students from the Royal High School Bath talking about Minecraft coding and their computing club

Dr Sam Aaron, creator of Sonic Pi, showing people how to create beautiful music with code

Dr Sam Aaron, creator of Sonic Pi, showing people how to create beautiful music with code

Stunned silence then cheering: a blackout at Bett. (Nothing to do with us, honest.)

Stunned silence then cheering: a blackout at Bett. (Nothing to do with us, honest.)

Dave Honess introducing Astro Pi and the ISS. His pitch-roll-yaw demo is now legend https://twitter.com/Raspberry_Pi/status/558960988096307200

Dave Honess introducing Astro Pi and the ISS. His pitch-roll-yaw demo is now legend

Lance Howarth and Astro Pi on Bett Arena

Lance Howarth and Astro Pi on Bett Arena

My favourite moment was being rushed for Astro Pi leaflets at the end of the opening ceremony of the main arena. I have a great feeling about this whole thing — Dave Honess

A first for Bett arena we think: Fran Scott exploding hydrogen -filled balloons in the Arena.

A first for Bett we think: Fran Scott exploding hydrogen-filled balloons in the Arena.

Of course it’s not so easy to blow up stuff in the classroom so we made a safe version, the Balloon Pi-tay Popper:

Fran demonstrating the explosive-free Balloon Pi-tay popper resource.

Fran demonstrating the explosive-free Balloon Pi-tay popper resource.

Connecting Minecraft Pi to the real world: @whaleygeek's Big Red Button of Doom!

Connecting Minecraft Pi to the real world: @whaleygeek’s Big Red Button of Doom!

Our friends from Pimoroni show of their brilliant Flotilla

Our friends from Pimoroni show off their brilliant Flotilla

Karl-Ludwig Butte from BUTTE Verlag puts the BitScope Micro through it's paces

Karl-Ludwig Butte from BUTTE Verlag puts the BitScope Micro through its paces

Andrew Mullolland, a student at Queen's University Belfast, and his LTSP classroom management system for Raspberry Pi

Andrew Mulholland, a student at Queen’s University Belfast, and his LTSP classroom management system for Raspberry Pi

Stewards Academy student @jaymegisbourne demonstrating his Porta-Pi

Stewards Academy student @jaymegisbourne demonstrating his Porta-Pi

Raspberry Pi Certified Educators Cat Lamin and Tom Sale show how easy it is to use Pis in Primary Schools

Raspberry Pi Certified Educators Cat Lamin and Tom Sale show how easy it is to use Pis in primary schools

Carrie Anne picks up her Best Author Award for Adventures in Raspberry Pi...

Carrie Anne picks up her well-deserved Best Author award for Adventures in Raspberry Pi…

...and celebrates in style with David Whale (@whaleygeek)

…and then celebrates in style with David Whale (@whaleygeek)

And that was that. Four days of manic educational goodness.

Thanks to CPC for supporting us, we couldn’t have done it without them. We had a fabulous stand and a great team across the way to give hardware advice and support.

A huge thanks to everyone who gave talks and demos and who helped out on the stand including: Sam Aaron, Laura Dixon, Martin O Hanlon, Alasdair Davies, Dave Honess & UK Space, Eliot Williams, Paul Beech, Jon Williamson, Phil Howard, David Whale, Tim Mockford, Simon Belshaw, Lauren Hyams, Fran Scott, Mike Horne, Tim Richardson, Jamie Mann, Matthew Parry, Cat Lamin, Tom Sale, Wolfram, Stephen Norbury, Naturebytes, Samantha Lubbe, Barry Byford, Karl-Ludwig Butte, Robin Newman, Andrew Mulholland, Spencer Organ, Geraldine Wright, Stewards Academy Raspberry Pi Club, and Cefn Hoile. If I’ve missed anyone then sorry and please email me!

Lastly a big thank you to all of the teachers, students, parents, educators and anyone else who came to see us. See you again next year!

The last word goes to James Robinson who sums it up nicely:

This year I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the BETT show with the Raspberry Pi Education Team, I’ve been to BETT show a number of times in the past but never as an exhibitor. The four days were brilliant, being able to showcase some of the awesome projects that can be done with the Pi, sharing the FREE resources made by the foundation and helping teachers get hands on experience.

For me one of the highlights was being able to share some of my own pupils’ work and experiences with the Pi, as well as chatting to other teachers about their experiences. It was great to see so many many people from the Pi community coming to support the Foundation team. Conversations and presentations focused on learning in its broadest sense and using technology to create and inspire rather than simply coding.

James about to send up a time-lapse Pi on a helium balloon to spy on other stands.

James about to send up a time-lapse Pi on a helium balloon to spy on other stands.

What most surprised me is the number of people from around the world that had come to the show and were impressed at what we in the UK were doing with the Computing curriculum and in particular the approach the RPF were taking. Many people were surprised at how much the Foundation does for free, including resources, competitions and of course Picademy.

Among my favorite moments were Dave’s excellent explanation techniques; Ben’s nonchalant coffee drinking and Clive’s waste not want not attitude to helium! I look forward joining in next year (if they’ll have me back).

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Thirty-five Pixels, powered by Raspberry Pi

Creative Director and Interactive Developer Michael Newman was tapped by UCLA Extension to design their 2015 winter course catalog cover. To accompany his work, he also designed, developed, and built a Raspberry Pi-powered interactive installation called Thirty-five Pixels which is currently on display at UCLA Extension’s 1010 Westwood building through the 2015 Winter Quarter.

Michael Newman along with his installation Thirty-five Pixels in situ.

Michael Newman along with his installation Thirty-five Pixels in situ.

Although it uses a single 50″ LCD HDTV mounted vertically, the masking on the piece gives the effect of a 7 by 5 matrix of individual circular displays. On the inspiration for the design, Michael says:

Using the mantra “Play, Learn, Explore, Connect” I have created a framework which abstracts my experiments into a visual experience. First exploring physical media, such as black and white ping pong balls and CNC controlled devices, I iterated through a variety of concepts and ultimately developed a digital mechanism that can display both simple, dot matrix style data, and complex data and images simultaneously.

Thirty-five Pixels runs on a Raspberry Pi Model B+ and uses a camera module for motion detection and image capture. The piece is also Internet-connected so that users all over the world can interact with it and control what it displays. It can pull content from Twitter, Instagram, and other media such as past course catalog covers.

You can try out the remote interface here and also watch a camera’s view of the piece to see how you have an effect on it. Michael wrote about Thirty-five Pixels on his portfolio site, which I encourage you to look at for technical details and for some of his other fantastic work.

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Flotilla

Liz: Here’s a guest post from our friend Paul at Pimoroni, who has a really exciting Kickstarter to share. You know Paul’s work already: he designed the Raspberry Pi logo, and he’s the brain behind the ridiculously successful Pibow case. Over to Paul!

When I was in nursery school, our class had a BBC Micro. One day, it was my turn to play. I’d been ‘painting’, and being young and uneducated, didn’t wash my hands before using the computer, and got paint smears all over this shiny beige machine.

I got shouted at by the teacher a lot and didn’t get to play. Protecting the shiny new machine was more important than learning.

This is why I love Raspberry Pi. It’s a computer you can be rough and experimental with. If it breaks, it’s replaceable, unlike an expensive iPad or laptop.

Learning is more important than the thing you’re learning on. But this attitude of fear and reticence still prevails. We still see a lot of doubt, and a “that’s not for me” feeling when it comes to tinkering and plugging things into circuit boards. As much as we love playing with breakout boards, and the geekery involved, the friction that goes with it can easily turn a 10 minute job into an hour. Digging out wires, reading datasheets, and finding three blog posts with different libraries in various states of undress; we think these are unnecessary distractions.

So, being Pimoroni, we had a lightbulb moment and decided to fix a bunch of issues at the same time. A year later, Flotilla was born; making all these frustrations a thing of the past.

Flotilla is a system of smart, affordable breakout boards backed by great software that lets you easily use them on the Raspberry Pi. The idea is that you can just break out a Pi, pop in a Raspbian SD card with the Flotilla software installed, plug in the Dock then start playing and learning without knowing much of anything beforehand.

widgets

The first level is Cookbook. You plug widgets into the Dock. Cookbook suggests recipes that involve those pieces. So plug in a Light-sensor, a Barometer, and Cookbook might suggest you build a weather station or a Digi-pet.

cookbook

The next step is Rockpool. A simple app-like interface for defining rules. So you can say “If the temperature is high, turn a motor with a fan on”. It’s impossible to get wrong, and can be used without typing. You can build surprisingly complex projects; such as line-following robots, musical devices and games.

rockpool

The Pi can also act as a WiFi Access point and web server. This lets you connect to Flotilla from your tablet, phone or laptop, and control Cookbook and Rockpool from a web-browser. Great if you’re running your Pi from a battery. On a robot, say. :-)

After that, you’re into the world of Scratch and Python. We’ll be providing lovely Flotilla libraries to get you started.

The whole idea is top-down learning. People start by having fun, and doing and discovering what interests them. If they like it, they can delve further into how things work. Clive says it best in the video. It’s “learning by stealth”.

We’re pretty sure Flotilla is the first fully-fledged plug-and-play digital tinkering kit. We’re also sure that the Raspberry Pi is the right place for it. The easier it is for everyone to start learning, and being comfortable with computers and electronics, the more time scientists and engineers have to make spaceships, instead of a better coffee-maker, or pet-feeder.

We’re on Kickstarter now, and would love you to support Flotilla so we can turn it into something everyone can use, in schools, at home, in the lab, and contribute too :D

http://flotil.la

- Paul & Jon & the Pirate Crew.

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Resources Restyled

Back in April, when we launched a revamp of our whole website, we introduced a section of free learning resources. Recently we’ve been working on a new and improved design for the layout of this material, and we’re launching it today for a selection of our resources.

balloon-pi-tay-popper

The new look and feel of our free learning resources

Our new in-house designer Sam has produced the templates along with a brilliant set of icons, components, characters, illustrations and bespoke GPIO and wiring diagrams.

The Learn and Make activities are:

We have also revamped a number of Teach resources, each containing lesson plans and links to the Programme of Study:

As well as a new guide to for teachers:

We think they’re looking great – and hope you all do too!

We’ll be migrating all of our resources into the new template in the coming weeks. The content still all lives on GitHub, and you can still collaborate; if you’re a regular contributor, you’ll notice that there are some extra files to make the templates work.

New recipe cards for our learning resources

Gotta collect ‘em all!

 

Remember all our resources are available for free under a Creative Commons licence, so you can print, copy, share, modify and do anything you want with the materials – we don’t want to restrict educators in any way! We know some of our Raspberry Pi Certified Educators from Picademy have been using their own modified versions of our worksheets to teach the Computing curriculum – it’s a great way of tailoring the material to the needs of their own students.

Those of you who are coming to see us at BETT this week will see we’ve also been giving out recipe cards for each of these new style resources, which again have been beautifully designed by Sam. Teachers – if you miss us at BETT, you can download these recipe cards to print out for your wall displays.

Carrie Anne leading the first session of the day at BETT

The education team out in force at BETT

Check out the rest of our teach, learn and make resources look through our BETT schedule on our website.

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Social animals: electric eel tweets with a Pi

Meet Miguel Wattson (geddit?), the most piscine member of the Raspberry Pi community. Miguel is an electric eel who lives in a tank at the Tennessee Aquarium; and his keepers, with some help from some computer science interns, have decided to use Miguel’s tendency to generate electricity to do some showboating.

miguelwattson

Bzzzzt.

 

Electric eels (actually a kind of knifefish, so strictly speaking they’re electric fish, which sounds much less cool) have the ability to discharge up to 860 volts from three large organs made from electrocytes – organic cells which work like the voltaic pile in an early battery –  which they use to stun prey, to communicate, and to navigate. An electric eel at full power only discharges for a couple of milliseconds, but even so, has the ability to electrocute a full-sized human.

This is all very glamorous and exciting, but the problem for eel watchers is that all of this drama is silent and invisible. There’s no way to tell just from watching whether or not an electric eel is discharging. Happily, there’s a way around that.

Sensors (I’m guessing electrodes in the water, connected to ground, whose resistance can be measured – but I do not have an electric eel to test this setup on – your ideas in the comments please!) in Miguel’s tank detect when he discharges. These signals are sent to a LED light and speaker system in the aquarium, where they make static rapping sounds, and flash lights to demonstrate how frequently Miguel discharges. Here he is, doing his thing at feeding time.

But the aquarium team didn’t stop there. Miguel’s electrical activity also sends a message to the attached Raspberry Pi, telling it to send a tweet. Miguel’s Twitter feed is full of fishy puns, eel facts, and messages about conservation – along with the occasional “POW” and “BUZZ!” A database of tweets is constantly added to by staff at the aquarium (Miguel does not have fingers and consequently finds it hard to type).

“Ironically, the eel code was written in Python,” said Evgeny Vasilyev, one of the computer science interns  from Tennessee Technological University’s Business Media Center. “The project’s main set piece was Raspberry Pi, a low cost computer which provides all of the necessary functionality in a compact package.”

The Pi not only sends the tweets – it acts as a throttle to make sure that Miguel doesn’t start spamming the feed when he gets overexcited. Feeding time, for example, gets Miguel so overstimulated that he discharges more than once a second. The Pi keeps the frequency of tweets down to a reasonable level.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press has some video of the setup:

You can follow Miguel on Twitter at @EelectricMiguel. You’ll notice that he follows Tennessee Aquarium’s pioneering tweeting groundhog (no, we have no idea what a groundhog is doing in an aquarium), @ChattNoogaChuck, whose profile boasts that he is the aquarium’s chief seasonal forecaster.

If you’re following Miguel, keep an eye out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, when he’s fed, for bursts of activity!

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Fran Scott’s #Error404 show at BETT

It’s not long to BETT now where the Foundation education team will spend four whole earth days doing great works.

Fran Scott

As well as a non-stop stand schedule of talks, demos and activities we’ve also got a number of off-stand monkeyshines including two live stage shows by Fran Scott, who you may have seen recently on the Royal Institution Christmas lectures. Fran will be performing her show #Error404: The Explosions-based computing show and revealing “Computer Science for the problem-solving, creative and imaginative subject it innately is and through live interactive coding, humour and explosions(!)”. (That had me at “explosions” and I was reading the sentence backwards.)

fran scott

If the Raspberry Pi Foundation had a mantra, it would be “computing is not coding”. It’s so much more than that; in fact in the early years of education, it should just be called ‘Thought-provoking Fun’. Fran’s show is a brilliant practical demonstration of that, and she has a talent for explaining science and engineering principles in an entertaining way that everyone can understand. As well as computing the show hooks into the science curriculum (gases and combustion) and also contains dancing and bananas. There’s loads crammed in and it’s a fantastic show— it’s going to be packed, so get there early!

baloon popping cartoon

To tie in with the show we’ll be giving away goody bags containing everything you need to make your own (non-explosive!) version of Pi-controlled balloon popping which would make a fab classroom demo or even a great way to wake your parents up in the morning.

Where and when

The shows are on Thursday 22 Jan at 13:10 and Saturday 24 Jan at 12:55, both in the BETT Arena. Fran will also be on our stand (The Hub! near N8 visitors’ entrance) on Thursday afternoon between 16:00 and 17:00.

Find out more

You can read more about the show on Fran’s site and also download an information pack which includes links to the English Computing curriculum. You can also get in touch with Fran if you want to find out more about the show.

Warning: Blowing stuff up and messing around with pyrotechnics is dangerous so do not do it. Fran is a trained pyrotechnician and a member of the Association of Stage Pyrotechnicians. Do not blow stuff up or set light to stuff or play with matches or stick red Crayola crayons up your nose (as my brother once did). Bad things will happen.

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