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Newcastle University School of Computing Secondary Workshops

Descriptions of outreach workshops for secondary students. Please form to book a workshop for your class.

BBC micro:bit Block programming and input/output devices

In this session we will use the micro:bit Block language (which is similar to Scratch) to explore the many interesting things that can be done with the device. We will also look at how the micro:bit can be used with add-on input/output devices to create light and sound shows.

Workshop length: 1 or 2 hours Suitable for: KS3
The Magic of Computer Science Unplugged

Computers are not very clever, but they are very fast! Computer science is about finding simple solutions to complex problems so that we can use computers to solve them quickly, reliably and repeatedly.

In this session, we will use games and magic tricks to explore what look like difficult problems and how we can simplify them so that a computer can solve them.

Workshop length: 1 or 2 hours Suitable for: KS3, KS4, KS5
Driverless cars: programming the mBot robot in C++

The world of driverless cars is coming. These systems are based on programming robots to sense their environment.
In this session you will learn how to use C++, an industry standard programming language, to program the mBot Arduino robot to avoid obstacles, to follow lines and to sound warnings and flash lights when dangers are near.

Workshop length: 2 hours Suitable for: KS4, KS5
Programming mBot Robots with mBlock

mBlock is a free, extensible version of Scratch for connecting to and programming Arduino robots and other devices. It provides an accessible introduction to physical computing using a programming environment familiar to many students. It also converts Scratch programs to their equivalent in C++.
In this session we will explore sequencing, patterns, repetition and abstraction through a variety of activities such as avoiding obstacles and following lines.

Workshop length: 2 hours Suitable for: KS3, KS4
Manipulating a Minecraft World using Python

Minecraft is a fun open world game that allows you to build vast objects, just from the click of a mouse. Have you ever wondered how the coding works behind the game and if you can control these features yourself?
In this session you will be using simple Python programming to build objects, change character location and manipulate the world around you! Using a Minecraft Python API, you will interact with the Minecraft world with every single line of code you write.

Workshop length: 1 or 2 hours Suitable for: KS3, KS4
Understanding Network: communicating using binary

The modern world is built on computer networks, from social nertworking to cloud computing to big data. Networks connect many different types of devices and systems that all talk different "computing languages" and that can fail in many ways.
In this hands-on session you will develop your own protocols to communicate with each other across a network and explore problems in networking and how to solve them.

Workshop length: 1 or 2 hours Suitable for: KS3, KS4, KS5
Physical Computing with the RaspberryPi/Pibrella and Python

The Pibrella is a fun little board for the RaspberryPi that can be used on its own, or extended for many other projects.
In this session we will use the Pibrella to make lights flash, make sounds, drive motors and learn how to interface with Raspberry Pi!
Students will use Python to program the Pibrella, learning fundamental programming concepts in a text-based language.

Workshop length: 1 or 2 hours Suitable for: KS3, KS4
Turing Tumble: Marble-Powered Computers

Turing Tumble is an engaging marble run game for building mechanical computers to solve logic puzzles.
It teaches a number of concepts and skills that are fundamental to computing, programming, and digital electronics. These include logic gates, conditionals, binary arithmetic, and digital circuits
In this session, we will use Turing Tumbles to explore how computers work at the basic level. Using switches and other connectors, we will solve different challenges to gain an understanding of key Computer Science concepts. We will develop computational thinking skills while having fun with marbles!

Workshop length: 2 hours Suitable for: KS3, KS4, KS5