Big Lottery funded DM CIC workshops start in Peterhead

We have been fortunate to be awarded a Big Lottery grant for 5 Driverless Car workshops in the North East of Scotland! We have arranged with Peterhead Academy & Inverurie Academy to start this term, Peterhead have an Afterschool Club for S2+ and We’ll be working with the Inverurie S3 Engineering class.

We’re running the Driverless Car workshop we piloted with Northfield Academy & Transition Extreme after school clubs (funded by ACC’s U-decide (participatory Budgeting)) – so a five week course, introducing the concepts of Machine Learning & Driverless Car technology.

Week one is always relaxed, fun & creative, with the teams creating their car chassis, camera mounts and raspberry pi placements. The Peterhead pupils were fantastic, engaged, entertained, interested, enthusiastic and inquisitive, all the attributes we love to see in innovators of tomorrow!

Below are a few photos from tonight’s session, we look forward to working with the class for the next 4 weeks!

If you’d like to know more about the Driverless Car workshop, want to get us into your school, or have any other questions about our STEAM activity, do email us! we’re getting busy!

Big thanks to the Big Lottery funding, it’s been invaluable! A lot of kids that wouldn’t usually get this type of STEAM education are now, thanks to this funding.

New Mission To Mars in Riverbank Primary School

Digital Maker CIC have started their 7 week course “Journey to Mars” in Riverbank Primary, Aberdeen.

We have previously run this workshop in St Peter’s, Woodside & Seaton Primary Schools, where pupils get hand on experience of electronics, computer programming, team work, design & engineering tasks, as well as experiencing critical & creative thinking, growth mindset, communication & problem solving.

The 7 weeks consist of, “scene setting”, where we discuss space travel, Scottish geography, NASA Mars exploration history, the solar system & anything the pupils bring up when shown the videos & images we bring. We then build a working Rover, working with CamJam robotics kits & laser cut PTFE chassis, the pupils have to construct & wire their robots from illustrations & trial & error. We love this task, as we see a lot of “Growth Mindset” creeping in, it always starts with “this is too difficult” to “yeah! look at our finished robot!”… emphasis on “trying” and making mistakes is key to our teaching philosophy. A lot of knowledge transfer can come form this task too, where pupils that complete the task early, ask to help others & show pitfalls & tips to complete their robots.

The following weeks, we design & build garages / habitats for our rovers from cardboard & MakeDo construction kits. We then explore making a simple program in a customised Blockly environment on the Raspberry PI to control the robot from a set start point to drive into the base, creating a repeatable algorithm. We learn about coordinates & instructions & what an algorithm is & does.

We then start introducing sensors & electronics to the kit, a line follower, an LED, a distance sensor… with around 4 weeks of deep learning & play / experimentation in using electronics & computer coding to control robotic tasks.

We have learned a lot ourselves when teaching this workshop & would like to thank all the schools that have had us so far, it’s really rewarding to see pupils surprising themselves with what they are capable of & enjoying challenging tasks.

Mission to Mars workshops

Digital Maker CIC have been working in some schools in Aberdeen, thanks to the Aberdeen City Council “U Decide” participatory funding we won last year.

We’ve just finished in Seaton & Woodside primary’s, running 7 week courses with the P6 & P7 themed around a “Mission to Mars”. During our time with the pupils, we’ve covered, Scottish Geography, Design, Electronics, Maths, Mapping, Engineering, Computing & Programming, pulling a wide range of skills & activities together, to create & manage working Rover (Robotics vehicles).

We’ve had fantastic feedback from the pupils & teachers. Below is a lovely testimonial from Ms Masters, P7 Teacher in Seaton.

I have loved having Awesome Tech in our class, and so have the children. They have helped teach skills such as resilience and applying a growth mindset, and there have been so many amazing ‘lightbulb’ moments! The children are applying skills and meeting outcomes that can be tricky for teachers to incorporate otherwise- and can be beyond our own subject knowledge! It has given confidence to pupils who find other areas of the curriculum challenging and allowed them to hone their skills in working as part of a team. It’s rare to have visitors who not only have such subject knowledge but are also so effective at working with children- my class think Martin and Phil are just the best and look forward to every visit!

Line Following robotics Rover & Raspberry Pi set up for programming