Audience Engagement Manager Jen Kavanagh explains how the new Code Builder workshop aims to inspire the next generation of programmers
The Science Museum’s new Information Age gallery explores communication and information technologies and processes, including the development and use of computer networks. Computing is currently a hot topic for schools, with the launch of the new computer science curriculum coinciding with the opening of this new gallery. As a result, the team here wanted to explore how we could effectively respond to this through the gallery’s learning programme.
Early computing objects on display in Information Age tell stories of user innovation, from Tim Berners-Lee’s NeXT Cube computer to the Pilot ACE used by Alan Turing.
These amazing stories show the huge potential of computers, and our new tinkering workshop, Code Builder, aims to build on these further.
After an introduction, the group is set a task to use basic coding language to devise and input procedures into an online programme, test, rework them and see live results. These results come in the form of a small robot, Robotiky, which is programmed using bespoke online software.
Coded instructions are written and simulated on screen, and then sent to the robot via a USB connection, allowing the students to see their code in action. The session encourages the development of logic and computational thinking skills, through trial and error, as well as exploring the interaction between hardware, robot, software and computer programme.
This workshop is designed to complement a number of areas of the computing curriculum at key stages 3 and 4. These include evaluating and applying information technology to solve problems, as well as helping pupils understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems and how they communicate with one another and other systems.
Code Builder runs twice a day every Thursday during term time. Sessions last an hour and are free for schools to attend. To book visit our website.