Daisy the Dinosaur and Coding
1st class started coding with two different programmes on our school ipads. We started with the coding programme ‘Daisy the Dinosaur’. On this programme the girls were presented with a character and learned how to input commands to make their dinosaur move, jump and spin. They then could press play and watch the dinosaur carry out their commands.
After some practise with this programme the class moved on to the more challenging Scratch programme. We began by instructing the children step by step to put in their background, choose their character and input commands. After they became familiar with the buttons and their uses the children were able to choose their own backgrounds and characters. They inputted their own commands and even made their characters talk! They really enjoyed their time coding and many of them downloaded the programmes to practise them at home.
4th class from St. Joseph’s G.N.S. decided to compete in Vex Robotics this year. Vex Robotics is an exciting and fun programme where school children from the age of eight learn about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Vex Robotics is organised by Dell. The girls had to design, build, program and compete with their robot in regional finals organised by Dell.
When the team registered they received a kit at the end of September. This kit consisted of all the parts along with instructions on how to build the robot from scratch. This was a daunting task for both students and teacher! The girls began working on their robot at the start of October. Friday mornings were dedicated to robot building. Fistly the girls watched clips on youtube about the game that they would be playing in the finals. Different teams were then drawn up, for example a design team, builders, people responsible for the engineering notebook, the drivers and the PR team.
After watching the youtube clips the design team decided to build a straightforward robot that would have a claw that could be raised, lowered, opened and closed. This feature would enable the robot to pick up and drop the hexballs which the game required.
With help from their teacher and using the instructions as a guide the builders set to work on Lexie, which the robot was named.
The builders had Lexie built by the Christmas holidays and they were very proud of their achievement.
After the Christmas holidays, the girls set to work on getting the robot to move. This part of the project proved difficult and advice had to be got from one of the tutors. The girls followed the instructions sent on from the tutor by email and eventually Lexie was working. Everyone was very relieved. Drivers were picked to operate the robot for the regional finals which were held in Kinsale. The girls spent a lot of time driving the robot and getting the robot to pick up the hexballs in the days leading up to the event.
Throughout the process, the girls in charge of the notebook took photographs and took notes each week.
In preparation for our day at the regional finals, the art group created beautiful posters for our display booth.