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A mini-beast made from a small cardboard box, with pipe-cleaners, feathers and glitter. Programmed using a Micro:Bit to respond to different stimuli.
A mini-beast made from a small cardboard box, with pipe-cleaners, feathers and glitter. Programmed using a Micro:Bit to respond to different stimuli.

"MicroBeast" created using a BBC Micro:Bit. Part of a suite of 'Beasts' created as learning resources for a physical computing workshop at a Leeds Museum site. The Micro:Beast is interactive, responding to different stimuli and inputs.

Punch cards, activity sheet, raspberry pi hooked up to five balls of playdough and a speaker.

Raspberry Pi 'Playdough Piano'. Drop in workshop for children looking at the history of the jacquard loom (uses punch cards as the first computer program) and translating that to a coding activity where children designed and played a tune, and then re-coded the Raspberry Pi to change the sounds.

Raspberry Pi computer, speaker, electric circuit components and a mock 'servants board'.

Coding and electronics come together at Lotherton Hall, the second domestic dwelling in England to install electricity. Using an image of the real servants' board in the house, children created the code to light up and LED and emit a sound to summon a servant.

Physical computing, using hardware such as Raspberry Pi, Micro:Bits and similar is incredibly empowering for children and young people. Through ‘open’ computers such as these, people can learn the skills to adapt and change the world around them, or even write a computer program to be run on the International Space Station.

Linking practical, hands on coding workshops with our Museum collection provides the opportunity to delve into history (Jacquard looms, invented in 1804, were the original ‘computer’, wiring a system to call a servant in a country house, exploring mythological and fantastical beasts and then coding new beasts, etc) and also engages new audiences. I feel passionately that this is a direction that museums can really benefit from going forward.

As Steve Lomas, Founding Director of Raspberry Pi said;

Don’t let your kids grow up to be Muggles, teach them the magic of coding.

 

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