Really Great Feedback from Saxmundham Workshop

It is always nice to be appreciated. Just before the end of term I visited Saxmundham Free School, at the invitation of one of their Maths teachers, Miss Moe, where I did a robot workshop day as part of their end of term enrichment week activities. The group was a bit larger than I’ve been used to, some 28 pupils, and after a couple of weeks of very heavy use some of the robots were starting to get a bit tired. Nevertheless, I was delighted to receive the following testimonial from one of their pupils who attended the workshop:

On Tuesday 18th July 2017, our enrichment was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be visited by Steve, an expert on robots and programming.

He started the day by showcasing his robots and giving us a talk about them, their functions and other interesting facts. These robots ranged from small sphere-like objects called ozobots to larger more complex robots based on a dutch movement of sculpture. Our favourites, however, were the magnetic BB-8 models and a range of robots known as MIP.

We then went on to making our own ozobot tracks. Ozobots are small robots that sense lines and follow them, then perform different actions depending on the colour sequence of that particular line. These robots are also programmable using the computer, which is what we attempted next. The coding itself was found simple, but the real challenges came when we realised the bots were running out of charge.

Following lunch, we were given some time to play with the robots and program them to perform different actions. The robot that offered the most programming opportunities was MIP. MIP is a robot that balances itself upright, using sensors to rock itself backwards and forwards when in danger of falling over; this feat is ingenious in itself but, when combined with its lovable features, it made it much more appealing. This robot could be programmed to do a lot of cool things so, after choosing different sound effects, we decided to make him interact with other people in the room. He was by far our favourite robot.

All in all, it was an educational day that still had an element of fun and we hope to have another visit from Steve soon.


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