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Using a Lilypad for a first project

Create a Cushion with twinkling lights This project is to make a cushion with twinkling lights. The light circuit was added to a cushion project during the making of the cushion. This blog assumes you have a cushion project or fabric to sew the circuit on.
This project uses the lilypad and circuit as a decorative feature and so it is sewed on the outside of the cushion. This will assist with changing the programming of the lights and replacing the battery. The cushion will be decorative and not washable.
You could do a similar project and hide the lilypad inside. Consider how will you change the battery.
You will need: Fabric for your cushion - we made a 50cm cushion. Protosnap Lilypad Development Board Conductive thread Alligator clips or wire for each light Needle Embroidery hoop Dress makers chalk Software Code: Sewing Instructions: Download Arduino Software - https://www.arduino…
Recent posts

Self opening Box - STEM project

I recently purchased this most amazing book. Rubber Band Engineer by Lance Akiyama. The purpose behind the purchase was to find some quality projects that had instructions and pictures to learn new techniques with construction.

I know you can find them on Pinterest, but many sites have great pictures but lack instructions or quality instructions. Wanting to explore construction with predesigned projects that worked I have found this book to be exactly what I needed.

The first project was an opening box using pneumatics. I enlisted the enthusiasm of a year 5 child to gage the difficulty of the task. During construction I was required to assist with measuring accurately, sourcing the glue gun and glue sticks and holding the duct tape.

While the box looks complicated it went together so well I found I am "Just as smart at a 5th Grader".

A visual procedure for the project. The box is made from 6 15cmx15cm squares of cardboard. These are then covered with coloured paper. Join the tub…

STEM "toys" that work in the classroom

What physical "toys" can you use in the classroom?STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. This blog looks at some of the resources I have been experimenting with. They are often found in Toy shops and Games shops and can be used to teach STEM and computational thinking. 

I have not been paid for these tools or this blog.

ChibitronicsDescription: A kit with a book of activities to learn about circuits. It includes activities once a circuit is completed you can draw a picture to go with it.

Positives: The use of drawing activities engages people who may not otherwise be interested in electronics. It is easy to follow instructions. All the materials are included so it is a one off cost. Engaging activities that build in difficulty. The kit gives a good understanding to how circuits work. The use of paper circuits can be integrated into origami and pop up cards and books. This is an easy introductory concept for anyone to try.

Negatives: The main negative…

How can Teachers learn to code?

Coding the latest buzz wordThere is an international movement to teach coding in schools, everyone is talking about coding, the media, schools, not-for-profits, summer camps, women's magazines. The difficulty is the responsibility for integrating coding into the curriculum falls on the teachers who are not all equipped with the skills to teach coding. 
Why?Teaching coding skills is not about teaching everyone to be a programmer. It is about digital literacy and ensuring all students understand how technology works. It also teaches a thinking style referred to as "Computational Thinking".

Computational Thinking (CT) is the thought processes involved in formulating a problem and expressing its solution(s) in such a way that a computer—human or machine—can effectively carry out. (Jeanette Wing 2-14) (Source)

It was first referred by Seymour Papert in 1980 and then in 1996 and it is an important thinking style for solving complex problems.(Source)

Around the world education syst…

Rockin' the Rock Cycle

How do you make the Rock Cycle Interesting?I love geology, I think it is amazing the problem is not many people do. Making the rock cycle interesting without a field trip to Uluru or the Blue Mountains is even more difficult.

I based my lesson on a YouTube I found by Chad Ackerson. He explains the rock cycle beautifully as he demonstrates the lesson. During my lesson I played the YouTube and pressed pause at each stage of the cycle.

Goal: Investigate the Rock Cycle.
Prelearning: 1 lessons
Research different types of rocksPreparationYou will need to cut up 4 lollies into 9 pieces each for the teacher prior to the lesson.Melt 18 of the pieces prior to the lesson so it has time to cool.Keep 18 pieces for the lesson
Materials/Resources3 packets of star burst lollies (2 lollies per student + 4 for the teacher) Groups of 2
Baking Paper - one piece per student 4 coloured pencils Washed scissors. Washed hands Worksheet - one per student
Worksheet Solution - teacher
NSW Outcomes:
ST21VA shows interest in an…

BOSTES lauches STEM and coding support for NSW Teachers

Coding and Computational Thinking in NSW CurriculumIn May 2016 BOSTES released a support document for NSW teachers. The document offers teachers ideas for integrating coding and computational thinking into each of the key learning areas.

The first page has definitions and links to useful resources. This page is definitely worth exploring as many of them are free and they are useful in multiple key learning areas across multiple year groups.

The document is divided into stages. By clicking on the button for a stage it will open a page with lesson ideas grouped under each key learning area.
The activities are designed to be similar to the many tasks that teachers use regularly. Additional resources are included to enable teachers to modify tasks to include more detailed computational thinking and coding tasks.

In stage 2 teachers reinforce the idea of writing a procedure. In computational thi…

Future Schools

Future Schools 2016Future Schools 2016 had a focus on computational thinking and coding. There lots of fantastic speakers and interesting delegates to network with.

This year I spoke at 2 congresses on coding. In the coding congress the focus was on coding and the curriculum. In the young learners congress I spoke on introducing computational thinking using offline tasks and modifying or modifying existing tasks to cover computational thinking skills, this presentation included links to the curriculum also. 
Links to my presentation and resources are and can also be found at

Tim Bell -
Tim presented activities from the csunplugged website. 
Check that digit This was almost a magic trick where Tim was able to predict the final number of a random water bottle in the audience. 

Other error detection lessons are also listed in the Error Detection activities. Each activity on the site is dense with links and information.

My advice to teachers wa…