Sharing air quality data. A rose by any other name?

Summer workshops do seem to have taken an 'English Country Garden' theme as we've continue to partner with Junction Arts to grow their digital rose garden for the This Girl Codes programme!

This latest tinkering forms part of plans with another project looking to share air quality data from community projects.

paper flowers illuminated using air quality data

Previous STEAM activities blending digital making with papercraft have been a great introduction to data visualisation possibilities, so we thought we'd explore with these latest data streams.

We've been working with Leeds University to develop resources for upcoming community projects, and supporting an understanding of the science behind air quality has been one of our priorities.

more pink paper flowers

A couple of examples below of questions we wanted to add into the activities with resources to stimulate more conversations and consider changes:

  • What are the variables that will affect the quality of air at any one time?
  • How quickly can changes happen and what can the range of readings be like over a period of time?
  • Can (and how can) changes in behaviour impact on the quality of local air?

paper flower craft tools including wires, paper and tape

Changes in the LEDs added to this project are subtle and act as a comparison to other digital making activities using the first Envirosense board.

Look out for new workshops and project building challenges as we launch more #SenseAndSenseAirBility activities.

close up of pink paper flowers

Extending Pupil Voice at Bolsover Castle

As we move through the 'This Girl Codes' programme, activities start to focus on the wider community with new workshop dates announced.

Margaret Cavendish visited The Royal Society from Bolsover in May 1667, and this week Y9 students from The Bolsover School displayed their own new STEM innovations at Bolsover Castle.

This is how curriculum based projects, linking 'The Internet of Curious Things' to environmental issues, look when we work with Junction Arts:

Students have been validating their projects through user testing at the castle and comparing data collection with other systems already in place - success, the data was an exact match!

2 students sharing digital rose projects in front of Bolsover Castle

As students share their voice to a wider audience through the Cavendish Roses, they'll also be supporting the programme as mentors to others joining digital making sessions over the Summer.

By the end of September the new digital rose garden at Bolsover Castle really will be an IOT visual spectacle.

If you can't make it on the day, you'll be able to view the open data as we use LoRaWAN to share more widely.

An inspirational and lasting message for everything that #ThisGirlCodes stands for 🌹🌹🌹

poster displaying dates of digital community events in Bolsover, 21st July, 21st August and 1st September 2018

group of girls holding digital rose projects inside Bolsover Castle

This Girl Codes: How partnerships are driving a STEAM exploration through our cultural heritage

This Girl Codes is an exciting example of a partnership approach to STEAM that is impacting on the aspirations, confidence and skills of women and girls in rural Derbyshire.

The programme is led by Junction Arts, supported by The Foundation for Digital Creativity and links to local community and education partners.

Exploring our cultural heritage through creative challenges has already engaged a group of primary-aged girls during phase one. This next chapter builds on these successful learning outcomes and moves to The Bolsover School and intergenerational activities across community sites in the town.

girl glueing acetate rose petals

The aim is to reduce digital exclusion and empower everyone taking part to believe that ‘they can’. The approach is somewhat unusual in that it takes female experiences rooted in Bolsover, both historical and contemporary, to become the focus for the future through the arts.

Taking inspiration from the original ‘Love’s Welcome to Bolsover’ in 1634, this new female centred story is being created with STEAM based activities. Community curated data points around the town and Castle collect environmental data through the ‘Internet of Curious Things’ digital element of the project.

acrylic tube with leds in a rose stem

This Girl Codes now brings alive voices from Bolsover through a visual arts project that takes the form of a new love story for the town. Data visualisation in a new storytelling format!

Margaret Cavendish

Margaret Lucas Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was a resident of Bolsover in the seventeenth century. As a poet, philosopher, writer and playwright she was confidently publishing under her own name at a time when most women writers published anonymously.

Her strong voice, achievements and legacy are at the heart of this project. The Blazing World, which she published in 1666, is one of the earliest examples of science fiction.

She was the first woman to attend a Royal Society meetup in 1667. That example in itself is shared through the introductory storytelling, as is Samuel Pepys's diary writing from that day which leads to debate and changes discussions with the groups. A scandal?

She was the second wife of William Cavendish, resided at Welbeck Abbey and was a frequent visitor to the castle.

girl glueing acetate rose petals

Florence Sykes

Linking with the Bolsover Model Village, she created a rose garden for the coal miners and her annual strawberry tea events are legendary! Personalised ‘Florence’ roses are being digitally created and contain messages of hope to and for the town of Bolsover.

finished digital rose projects on a table

The roses have LEDs along their stem, and the groups are using event-driven programming techniques so to fluctuate the displays depending on live data changes. The creation of a mass of digital roses that respond to the surrounding environment will create a visual spectacle, as a new rose garden at the Castle, in September.

close up of rose petals from a digital project

Activities continue to facilitate student voice with real-world environmental challenges facing the local community. In this project women and girls are sharing their findings and creative solutions to a wider audience, whilst developing a range of STEM and human skills through STEAM.

another 3 students sharing digital rose projects

Capturing the imagination and creativity of KS3 girls is fundamental to This Girl Codes and engaging them in hands-on creative experiences receives positive feedback.

For reference, the wearable tech used is Codebug with the latest Envirosense and 'Invent Things' portal.

teens around a table cutting and curating acetate roses

The second phase of This Girl Codes is led by Junction Arts and funded by the People's Lottery.

junction arts logo

funding logo

Sports Performance Engineering at the World Cup

An exciting finale to our latest ‘Internet of Curious Things’ programme funded by the Engineering Education Grant Scheme.

Carr Manor Community School in Leeds hosted a World Cup themed event to inspire young digital makers, linked through the Year of Engineering initiative and their season of Sport in Engineering.

As an ‘all through’ school, providing an education for children from the age of 4 to 19, their set up is fairly unique and gave opportunities for peer mentoring activities throughout the day alongside paired programming tasks.

Children from Years 5 and 6, and different schools, took part in design challenges to invent new goal line technologies for the tournament. Their focus was on improving football performance and making a difference to a team’s success.

Research centred around data-driven decision making, with global environmental comparisons using the Met Office website. Groups explored the possible effects of weather conditions on players and developed their own solutions to become a football manager’s ‘12th player on the pitch’.

A few more details about the day below, from one of the school’s digital media and liaison teachers, and taken from their internal newsletter:

"Year 5 spent the morning programming environmental sensors on Codebugs to make a humidity detector.

They were set the challenge to invent a new sport technology that would immediately sense the humidity and activate a light based on the reading. This would alert athletes that a break was required and allow them to take in fluids to ensure maximum performance.

Year 5's had a great time exploring how the Internet of Things can connect athletes and make a difference. Some of the Year 5's displayed such great work and ideas that they stayed on as mentors for a Year 6 who were visiting in the afternoon!"

Everyone's an Innovator: Family IOT Hacks

The latest 'Internet of Curious Things' event saw us working with Leeds Libraries to offer families a chance to come along and build digital projects together.

Intergenerational teams gathered at Crossgates Library to explore engineering trade offs and invent fun and creative solutions relevant to them.

inspire an engineer and nicholas eyesight book

Creating projects with a real world relevance started with an environmental theme and ‘smart lantern’ weather stations.

intergenerational digital making projects

From that we focused on engineering new solutions to improve people’s lives and turned our thoughts to tackling air quality problems.

Superhero activities to make the world a better place from the Nicholas Eyesight book by Sotirios Papathanasiou are a great start to understanding the science behind such environmental issues.

boy holding sensor project

What's great about family events are the team challenges that evolve throughout each session. Often personal and building on previous knowledge or experiences, activities here centred around illuminating particular data streams in more complex lighting sequences.

Definitely a collaborative approach needed to code those dazzling light shows!

adults celebrate decreasing data readings with ice!

We always say that everyone can be an innovator, so tools from The Internet of Curious Things are there to inspire adults and children.

And that feeling when you push your project so far because you know what you want it to deliver?

And then you think it might be too ambitious?

And then you test, debug, test and see that it now runs perfectly?

That's possibly summed up by the adults celebrating their ice test above 👏

girl shows LED displaying temperature data from a raspberry pi iot project