Some people said I was crazy to do it, others said they were too young and others still said that it would be too hard!
On Tuesday I ran two lots of one and a half hour Raspberry Pi Minecraft workshops with year 3 students at a local school.
The students had just started a healthy eating topic based around the food that Tim Peake would use on the International Space Station. This gave me a good hook to introduce the Pi and more specifically the AstroPi.
The year 3 teachers wanted to me to do something fun with Minecraft and include a element of text based programming.
The lesson resource I used is here (worksheet 7) and simply gave students an opportunity to post a message to the Chat Window and then change the code to change the message.
The lesson followed my general formula for Minecraft workshops and I was really pleased with the effort and determination by the students.
- Welcome and Introduction
- Familiarisation of Minecraft Raspberry Pi edition controls
- 15 minutes to either build a rocket or a Moon base for Tim Peake’s next space journey
- Introduction to code activity
- Students type the code into a blank text file
- Teacher runs code from the terminal
- Whilst students are waiting for help they can return to their original designs, reducing any waiting time
- Students were very keen to type in text and use their partners to check each line
- Generally students will forget the capital letter M in mc = minecraft.Minecraft.create() but with the attention to details and checking less students made this mistake than I would have expected.
- Many of the students in the class couldn’t find the key combination to type a “ or (
- Students showed resilience and were very excited when their first chat message appeared on the screen.
Would I do year 3 again for my workshop - absolutely!
I often get asked what can you do with a Raspberry Pi.
Earlier today I asked a group of students what they would like to do with a Pi. I showed them the GPIO pins and some of my simple LED and switch projects and the great Robotics controller from Ryan Walmsley.
- The Pi had to either sense, control or do both!
- The Pi can be left running 24/7
- Use your imagination
A block of sticky notes later and we had a good idea of some of the projects we would like to think about.
- Gameshow / competition
- Disco lights
- Traffic lights for the Academy corridor for use at busy times
- Model castle with working drawbridge
- An automated snack delivery system for gamers
- An alarm system to keep people out of my bedroom
I have a feeling that we may be going down the Robot route. We plan to meet every week once the exams are over to design, build and program our creation.
As we were packing up I was asked if this is the sort of thing that one of the students could work on at home with his parents - my answers was a huge YES!!!!!