Community Events in Wigan & Leeds: Inspire an Engineer

Young Inventors Tackle Plastic Pollution

'Let it Glow'

Amazing to be collaborating with Playful Leeds to support their programme of Young Inventors at #PlayLabLeeds.

We used the BBC Blue Planet show as the focus for the impact that humans are having on the world’s oceans.

The children designed and built their own bioluminescent sea creatures to share their powerful messages about eradicating plastic pollution and helping to make the world a better place.

E-textile projects were at the heart of the day as the group used a STEAM approach, to understand and develop their own insights about environmental issues, and share their message with others.

student sharing her completed etextile project

Young Inventors used the wonders of wearable technology to:

Collaborate and build data driven artworks.
  • With paper, textiles and digital elements (Codebugs, LED strips and Glowbugs)
  • Theme - under the ocean scene
  • Building bioluminescent animals and fish
  • Creatures illuminated dependant on the code used to drive the lights
Explore how we sense the environment around us.
  • Collecting environmental data
  • Visualising the data to give context and understanding
  • Starting to explore ideas of how bigger and open data are used to improve lives on a local and global level
Connect the STEAM disciplines through visual art.
  • Bioluminescence
  • Wearable Tech
  • Engineering new solutions
  • Bigger Data

    'Let it Glow' is the latest activity through our Internet of Curious Things programme.

Getting involved with Leeds Digital Festival 2018

So excited to be involved with this year's Leeds Digital Festival!

Over the two weeks we're thrilled to be joining some of the events and contributing to the following sessions:

Assembly Conference at Platform, LS1 4JB - Monday 16th April

The Art of Tinkering with Leeds Libraries at ODI Leeds - Saturday 21st April

IOT Showcase at ODI Leeds - Tuesday 24th April

The Internet of Curious Things: End of term updates about #InspireAnEngineer

It’s been a busy term since we launched events and activities through our successful Engineering Education Grant Scheme submission.

Workshops have an emphasis on engineered solutions within the context of the environment, and the fundamental aim is always to inspire our next generation of engineers.

For some children, that’s been a Harry Potter themed ‘Data-driven Goblet of Fire’ when they’ve designed and built projects to collect environmental data in a fun way to support problem solving.

For everybody involved though, the purpose and real world relevance to learning has been matched to an area of interest through planning with each school.

Here's our termly report in numbers:

  • 6 events delivered
  • Over 240 children have participated in a workshop activity
  • 49% of children are girls, 51% boys
  • Over 150 environmental data sets have been created
  • Children from Y4, Y5, Y6, Y7 and Y8 classes have been involved in the programme
  • 98% of the children have said that they've learnt new things
  • 98% have evaluated their enjoyment of the programme in the top two tiers

Word cloud made with WordItOut

A summary above, taken from comments on the evaluation feedback at the end of each workshop.

And from a teachers perspective?

"A huge thank you for coming in today - the kids absolutely loved it and the Headteacher caught me after school to say that children had gone up to them in the playground after school to enthuse over what they had done today!"

"Thank you for all your work today. It was great; the kids and teachers thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. Hope we can organise something again."

We're confident that the 'Internet of Curious Things' can be a catalyst for more data-driven activities in school, and we're supporting teachers through a PD programme to be able to share approaches and best practice.

For some, that's extending projects across the STEM disciplines or collaborating on creative projects with colleagues outside of engineering and computing.

Or this example from St Marks CofE Primary in Salford, with peer to peer and sibling learning partner activities at one of their after school maker clubs!

This term we've also been working with the CAS Manchester team and contributed to their recent CAS Girls day with some workshops for Y7 and Y8 students. A great event with lots of opportunities for shared projects with students and adults collaborating.

We talk about removing barriers to learning, so it's great to hear about another new invention from a young person using the hardware and software for the first time.

Alongside more school workshops for 7-14 yr olds, we will also deliver intergenerational community learning events after Easter. Watch out for registration links to these next events:

At Wigan STEAM on Wednesday 11th April

At Crossgates Library in Leeds on Saturday 19th May

As a starter to gauge how the new resources could excite audiences through STEM innovations, we took a workshop to the PiParty celebrations at Leeds Raspberry Jam:

3 lanterns lit with a data driven led light Data-driven creative solutions

raspberry pi computer with wearable tech and envirosense add on attached to collect temperature and humidity data Building and testing with Raspberry Pi

Our grant from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) allows us to deliver this ‘Internet of Curious Things’ programme to schools in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire this Spring.

3 teens building data driven lanterns out of laser cut paper designs

Get in touch if you'd like to know more.

institute of engineering and technology logo

institute of mechanical engineers logo

IWD2018: Inventions of the Future with Woman@ASML

On International Women's Day we partnered with The Ada Show again to launch a new 'Inventions of the Future' project.

This time the challenge centred around Ada Lovelace conceptualising a flying machine in 1828.

Now it was the turn of staff at ASML in Eindhoven to consider environmental change using the power of flight. Envirosense was used to connect the kites to the surrounding environment and become data collection nodes through flight.

team of 5 women adding wearable tech and sensors to a kite

Over the day, the Women@ASML community led teams of staff to design, build and test their own connected kites.

group of adults and children testing 2 kites with environment sensors attached outdoors

And of course to lead the first test flights during the afternoon!

Enviro Hack with Wigan STEAM

Great to be collaborating with the team at Wigan STEAM again, and this time with a 2 day Enviro Hack Challenge for STEAM Teens.

The Pioneers worked in teams to research, design and prototype digital making projects to make the world a better place.

They collaborated with peers and Wigan Council volunteers to identify areas to help others living in the borough and with an environmental focus that included:

  1. 'No Cold, No Mould' - Eradicating fuel poverty for the elderly by measuring room temperature and humidity and setting alerts at the point where research says they impact on health.
  2. Wildlife protection projects linking to nature conservation work at the Wigan Flash Reserves with temperature and motion sensors.
  3. 'Sun Sense' - Protecting the health of others based on the number of melanoma cases diagnosed in Greater Manchester each year with a UV sensor detection project.

raspberry pi computer attached to a sensor node to collect data on a desk

Activities stemmed around wearables to prototype with smart sensors and explore data collection in extreme temperatures, so the fridge and heaters soon became test areas as groups considered possible routes of tech for change. At this point you might sense adult nerves, but results were grand and the tech stood up to it's tests :)

Next steps included the wider local and national picture as we examined possibilities with bigger data collected in a dashboard such as Invent Things.

Using the State of the Borough data from Wigan Council we talked about using the students' same code and Envirosense boards to connect to the Invent Things portal and share more projects collectively. A great example of the 'Internet of Curious Things' supporting local communities to make positive change.

Fundamental to challenge planning with Wigan STEAM were opportunities to introduce the groups to real world problem solving with further role models. Volunteers attending from Wigan Council came along with a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share around open data, technology and engineering.

We incorporated a People Like Me activity into the second day of Enviro Hack to explore future employment opportunities and interest areas within the STEAM disciplines.

Looking forward to hearing more about how these young people are supporting others in Wigan and another event in the pipeline.

Watch this space 😀

envirohack logo shared on a flipchart for the start of the 2 day event

Full photo gallery here.

Digital Making with The Ada Show at the Luminate Festival, Oldham

We collaborated with The Ada Show again for the recent Luminate Festival in Oldham.

This time working at Oldham Library with a family event of digital making linked to Ada's Inventions of the Future.

Great to see intergenerational making with children as young as 3 years joining us to add circuits with LEDs into their wearable creations.

2 young girls wearing animal masks they've created with LEDs

Full photo gallery here.

This Girl Codes with Junction Arts

Continuation of This Girl Codes with Junction Arts in Chesterfield saw us extending digital making activities with the same group of Year 5 children.

In November 2017 the group collaborated to build lantern installations for the Bolsover Parade at the castle, using Codebug and LEDs to illuminate the entrance for visitors. Stunning displays shown on the video below, if you didn't get chance to see them:

This time the girls worked in pairs to link heritage with STEAM to produce light boxes inspired by a visit to Bolsover Castle.

How amazing to attend a school at the foot of the castle and to "take Science, Technology and History into the C21st through Art" as one of the groups commented.

This might just become our new definition of STEAM 😀

girl taking photograph of castle

The children led their own research using local heritage and the castle itself to incorporate images and layers into their final pieces.

girl tracing contour of a castle wall on an acetate

Technology included wearables and strings of glowbugs coded into patterns to suit their architectural themes.

project showing codebug wearables connected to LEDs

The lightboxes will be displayed at the castle for peers, the local community and visitors to Bolsover to discover.

Look out for more news about projects for the next stage of #ThisGirlCodes.

2 girls attaching wires and technology and lights to their art lightbox

Full image gallery here.

Building Networks and Adding Value to Communities

It's been a busy couple of weeks sharing and learning through the creative tech communities and contributing at events. Understanding the value of partnerships and collaborations has given us amazing opportunities with latest projects and plans moving forward.

Snippets below from some recent activities.

Andrew attended the Discover Shift symposium in Macclesfield on 13th February, and contributed to one of the panel discussions. Celebrating the pilot year of SHIFT, the cross sector symposium explored the convergence between the arts and digital, highlighting activities and themes developed throughout Cheshire East.

Another panel at The Things Network Conference saw Claire contributing to a 'building communities through LoRaWAN' discussion.

And the opportunity to share our strategies to help democratise access of the power of LoRaWAN for everyone through a keynote at the same conference.

Removing the barriers: Empowering communities to make a smarter, more connected world with LoRaWAN.

The presentation explores two areas of our programmes:

  1. How can we develop more diverse and inclusive programmes to engage all citizens in real world problems through digital making and adopting LoRaWAN?

  2. How can we effectively facilitate collections of digital storytelling projects engaging communities in cities across the North of England to creatively solve local issues?

In short?

With context and purpose through education:

Community Change Makers: Improving the air that we breathe

Our Awards for All bid to The Big Lottery Fund has been successful and we’re taking ‘Invent Things’ to Leeds!

Funding means that we’ll be bringing communities together across the city and immersing intergenerational groups in a series of imaginative and hands-on digital workshops to improve their own health, wellbeing and local environment. The focus will be on air quality, with communities collaborating to shape their own futures and drive changes towards a healthier outlook.

Groups will collaborate to identify an area to target for cleaner air and use digital making skills to ‘make it happen’. They'll be taking data-driven decisions to help change behaviours and measure the impact on the quality of air around them.

Updates about ‘Sense and Sense Air-bility’ projects will be shared on the Invent Things portal with blog posts showcasing progress and ideas that can be used by other groups - in Leeds and with the wider Things Network community.