micro:bit at British Science Week with Upton Noble School

Pupils at Upton Noble School Church of England VC Primary School in Shepton Mallet kicked off British Science Week (BSW) 2018 on Friday 9th March with a fun ComputerXplorers Programming for Primaries workshop where they programmed micro:bit micro computers to play the iconic rock, paper scissors game.

Guest of honour David Warburton, Member of Parliament for Somerton and Frome and a parliamentary private secretary to the Department of Education, spent the morning at the school where he watched on as Year 5 children learned to programme micro:bit micro computers to play their favourite childhood game. After the workshop Mr Warburton joined in the fun and took on some of the children at the game.

Said David Warburton:, “It was wonderful to support the ComputerXplorers programme at Upton Noble Primary School. Computer technology evolves at a huge speed and is now part of so many areas of life, so it’s vital that we give children the opportunity to learn skills at an early age. Through their unique Programming for Primaries Workshop, ComputerXplorers have a really fun and innovative way for schools to introduce a range of creative computing techniques.  I must say it was also very impressive to see how enthusiastically the children at Upton Noble Primary took part in the micro:bit programme.”

The free two-hour workshop was delivered by director of ComputerXplorers Bristol and Bath John Fisher as part of British Science Week which aims to enhance children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and maths. He led the children step by step through the process of programming the leds on the micro:bit to light up in the shape of rock, paper or scissors at random each time the micro:bit was shaken (simulating the ‘one, two, three start of the game). Micro:bits were connected to each other through the device’s built- in radio.

John Fisher believes micro:bit is an excellent tool for empowering primary school children to become ‘digital creators’.  He explained: “We all consume digital media every day, but there is still a misconception that programming and coding is only for technology specialists.

“The micro:bit workshop proved that this isn’t true. The children had a great time and Mr Warburton was very impressed by what he saw. The rock, paper and scissors game was a bit of fun but more importantly, this experience of programming sets them on a path to engage positively with technology throughout their education.”

ComputerXplorers’ Programming for Primaries has been running for five years and this is the third time it has been held in conjunction with British Science Week. To date, more than 1,500 children and 100 teachers have benefitted from free workshops and CPD sessions offered as part of the initiative.

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