All the best parties jam with @sonic_pi 

This week was party week to celebrate the 4th or 1st birthday, depending how you look at it, of the Raspberry Pi. Of course it wouldn’t be a birthday without a present and to celebrate it in style the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the Raspberry Pi 3 with built in WiFi and Bluetooth- NICE! So nice we couldn’t resist The Pi Hut’s price of £30.

All_about_code showed us his Pi3 hooked up to an Energenie which he had bought at the Raspberry Pi Birthday Bash in Cambridge at the weekend. It allowed him to control the plug socket remotely. 


He also told us about some of the workshops he had attended and gave us some idea for lessons. We did do a bit of coding this week with Sonic Pi looking at the Challenge for Tim Peake. After that it was time for a little boogie to one of Sam Aaron’s live coding videos and then we tucked in to the delicious cake kindly sent to us from Preston Raspberry Jam. Thanks Alan!

Spring Term 2016 Session 5


What do u do if ur about to run Pi Club and there r workman in the way? – Get them to show the children the inside of the alarm their working on of course! 

Well what at first looked like a disaster actually turned out to be an informative opportunity! Due to the extensive school building work that’s going on we are having to work around the workmen as much as possible. When we turned up to run Pi Club we soon realised it might be a little tricky as the workmen were busy wiring up the intruder alarms in the room, however when they discovered what the children were doing they were very impressed. They had never seen a Raspberry Pi before and couldn’t quite believe that children so young were confident in using GPIO pins wiring them up to breadboards, using jumper wires, knowing to use ground, understanding the use of resistors to protect the LEDs and then coding it all to be operated by a button. We took the opportunity of their presence to give us a little tutorial on the work they were doing inside the alarm and showed us the circuit pins, LED, sensors etc. 

After we had had a good look inside the alarm we set to work on looking at GPIOzero. Now all our sd cards have been updated to Raspbian Jessie we can make good use of this feature.  It makes using the GPIO pins so easy and we no longer need to open Python through idle. We used the Getting started resource off the Raspberry Pi website

This resource shows us how to control the output and input of the GPIO pins using LEDs, buttons and Python. The children were given the sheets and asked to work through them and try to debug any potential issues. During the session a couple of children thought they had a problem with their Pi – they had a code that ran, they had wired up correctly but still the LED would not light. The one thing they had not checked was did their LED work in the first place? We showed them a quick and easy way to check by using a cell battery and holding the LED legs to it positive to positive and negative to negative of course. 

Bingo the original LED was not working so we tested a new one before attaching it to our circuit. 

Everyone was really enthused at the ease of using GPIOzero and look forward to working through the resources over the next couple of weeks. 

Spring Term 2016 Session 4

We make sense of the Sense HAT with @TheMagP1 essentials digital book.

This week Elise and Isaac started to work through the MagPi essentials digital book for the sense HAT they won in the Astro Pi competition. They started off by scrolling messages, lighting up individual letters, creating images and setting orientation. After this they detected the temperature in the room.

30 degrees in mid January? 

“SAY WHAT!” Somebody needs to turn the radiators down! Once they had played around with some of the sensors, they decided to start creating an Interative Pixel Pet. After a few designs I think they have decided on their pet design ready for coding next week.

Some of our other Digital Leaders continued work with the Pibrella, this week using the excellent resources from Cam Jam Pibrella Workshop. George and Austin challenged themselves to run a code to mimick the way traffic lights work. They firstly discussed the correct sequence, then wrote an algorithm for it. After this they wrote their code in Python. Mrs C even cut out surrounds for the lights. Great work guys!

Spring Term session 3

Year 5 space lessons get exciting with Pibrella fun from @cpc_tweet and @GeekGurlDiaries

After showing our Digital Leaders the Geek Gurl Diaries Digital  Garden project video last week we gave them the challenge of creating something different to control using the Pibrella add on we bought from CPC. Then using a motor, wires and some Python code make their design spin when the button was pressed.

Jack and Matthew decided to concentrate on year fives space topic, after all the excitement of Tim Peaks first spacewalk, they built their own solar system out of paper balls and kebab sticks.

Of course this would’nt be Pi Club if it didn’t involve a Raspberry Pi. Jack and Matthew then added a motor to their solar system and connected it to the Pibrella. After this they wrote their code in Python so that when the button was pressed their Solar system spun round. It was trial and error getting the speed right and they had many a time when it flew straight of the motor. 

Some of the other projects included spinning optical illusions, helicopters and even a Landrover. Everybody had great fun playing around with their code, adjusting timings and controls, debugging and challenging each other.

Spring Term 2016 session 2

It’s like finding a Golden Ticket- @all_about_code introduces us to the #PiZero @MagPiTeam.

What would you buy with a spare £4? Yes that’s right it’s not a mistake it says £4. The Release of the Pi Zero allows even more children to access a computer and discover their coding abilities for less than the price of a tub of Haribos! Now that’s just Genius! The Pi Zero is an Ultra small, hack able pocket money price computer that runs Raspbian and all the applications we love like Scratch, Sonic Pi, Minecraft etc. Already there are loads of project ideas popping up all over the place. The MagPi magazine even gave the Pi Zero away on the cover of their December Issue with a bumper project guide inside, the demand was so high that they had to print more copies of the magazine and all stockists of the Pi Zero completely sold out even to this day. We think this alone makes any owner of a Pi Zero feel like they have a Golden Ticket for Willy Wonkers Chocolate Factory. 

We will be looking into some of the Pi Zero projects next term. 

Our Pi enthusiasts were all very kean today to put their skills learn’t in 2015 to the test and embrace 2016 by dabbling in a little Python. Some using the Unicorn Hat and others using Pibrella. 

UNICORNHAT- Noah and William took great pleasure in firstly working out how to control each individual pixel using the x and y axis and RGB. They then worked out how to alter the amount given to the RGB values in order to mix the colours and then managed to code all this in Python. 

PIBRELLA- Jack and Matthew used the Pibrella for the first time today. Firstly they used the Pibrella Cheat Sheet from › pibrella then once they felt confident they coded the Pibrella to flash the lights, sound the buzzer whilst printing their name on screen at the touch of the big red button. 


All this in just an hour – imagine what could be achieved in a whole day.

Spring Term 2016 Session 1

It’s not everyday you get to program your teacher – thanks to @baggiepr

This week the digital leaders helped run a programming session for year 6. We had previously looked at Algorithms and last week had a go at designing one for our morning routine. This week year 6 got to have a go at writing an algorithm to program their robot teacher to make a jam sandwich. Easy or so they thought! It wasn’t until they actually tried out their algorithm that they started realising the importance of giving clear and precise instructions. Each pupil was provided with a list of controls and commands that they could use.




 It wasn’t long before year 6 realised  that each one of their algorithms had errors in, so they joined forces to debug and come up with a whole class one. The end result resembled a jam sandwich of some description, but who forgot the butter? 

This was a fantastic session that really enthused the pupils. It really consolidated the meaning of algorithms in a fun and engaging way – after all it’s not everyday you get to control your teacher, or is it?

Here is a short clip of part of the session.

Thanks to Phil Bagge for the tutorial. 

Autumn Term 2015 Session 7 

Year 6 go undercover with @Raspberry_Pi @starbucks hidden cup camera.

In literacy year 6 are currently looking at the spy based novel Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. Part of their task was to design a blueprint of a spy gadget incorporated into an everyday object. Of course our Raspberry Pi enthusiasts immediately saw an opportunity to have a little tech fun and at this weeks Pi club session enlisted the help of @all_about_code to help them with their top secret mission. Their idea was to hide a Raspberry Pi and camera in a take away coffee cup then spy on the school by live streaming using motionPie.

Day one – They loaded the motionPie software on to a blank micro sd card then inserted it into the Pi. After setting up the Pi with camera, power bank and wi Pi they attached an Ethernet  cable , then using the Fing app on the iPad they found the IP address, once they had this they typed it into the web browser and the motionPie camera image appeared. After logging in as admin and setting up the wifi they rebooted and unplugged the Ethernet cable. This now allowed them to use wifi connection to view the camera image. Once the set up was complete they neatly tucked everything into the takeaway coffee cup that they had cut a very sneaky hole into. They aligned the camera lens and hole, placed the lid on the cup and then planned their mission for the next day.

Day Two – After showing their SpyCup to the rest of the stunned Year 6 they set off around the school with a member of staff holding the cup who pretended to have a sip now and again, while they visited every class to see if any Digital leader jobs needed doing. Little did the whole school know that they were all being watched on the smart board back in year 6 via a live stream. They even got a sneak peek in the staff room. I think it is safe to say Mission complete.

Thanks to @all_about_code for the training, for the full tutorial visit

Autumn Term 2015 Session 6