R4 programme on Ada Lovelace (2 days left to listen)

BBC Radio 4 has a two-part series on Ada Lovelace’s letters. Alas Part One of the series has already passed into the ‘programme no longer available’ territory, but Part Two (~28m) is live to listen to online for the next couple of days [at time of writing!].

Our cs4fn magazine special issue on Ada Lovelace isn’t going anywhere though, please download a free PDF at your leisure :)


“In part two of this dramatization of The Letters of Ada Lovelace, Georgina Ferry reveals the nature of the relationship between the young heiress, Ada Lovelace (Sally Hawkins) and the crusty mathematician, Charles Babbage (Anthony Head), inventor of steam-powered calculating machines.

More info at the programme’s page.

What else are we up to?

1.Saturday 21 Nov – £30/60, 2-5pm
Introduction to Arduino [info] [tickets]
Aimed at teachers of pupils at KS3 and above our miniCPD session will introduce you to programming using an Arduino with simple electronics.

2. Wed 25 Nov – FREE, 5pm
Sorting Unplugged [info] [tickets]
This is a free workshop, aimed at computer science teachers, which introduces sorting algorithms in an ‘unplugged’ style.

3.Sat 28 Nov – £30/60, 2-5pm
Introduction to Arduino [info] [tickets]
Aimed at teachers of pupils at KS3 and above our miniCPD session will introduce you to programming using an Arduino with simple electronics.

4. Wed 2 Dec – FREE, doors 5pm, show at 5.30pm
The magic of {Christmas} Computer Science – free magic show for young people. [info] [tickets]
This is a free public talk aimed at secondary school-aged children and their families & friends. Paul Curzon and Peter McOwan will present a fun magic show powered by hidden computer science. There are rumours of mince pies too.



Draw your own hexahexaflexagon – blanks for printing and colouring in

It would have been Martin Gardner’s 101st birthday today (he was born in 1914 and died in 2010) and while he certainly didn’t invent, or even discover, hexahexaflexagons he was one of the first people to popularise them with an article in Scientific American in 1956.

We’ve used hexahexaflexagons as an example of a finite-state machine in our workshops and to illustrate computational thinking about graphs and maps.

You can find our free booklet about hexahexaflexagons, and how to use them, on our HexaHexaFlexagon Automata page where you can also download full colour printable flexagons to fold and glue at home (or at school, or at work). And now we also have some blank ones (and here’s one with three on a page) that you can print and colour in with your own designs.

For some inspiration have a look at Vi Hart’s series of YouTube videos on hexaflexagons, which are rather good fun.

If you’ve not folded a hexahexaflexagon before here’s Prof Paul Curzon showing how it’s done

Further reading
Flexagon but Not Forgotten: Celebrating Martin Gardner’s Birthday (Scientific American, 2012)

Teachers: Help your students build their own apps in the #AppsforGood course. Apply to deliver in 2015/16

AppsForGood are looking for Education Partners – here’s some information about them (and there’s a printable / shareable flyer at the end).

Print“Apps for Good is an education programme where students learn to build and pitch their own apps – helping students to become real-life entrepreneurs and digital creators.

The course meets the demands of the new curriculum in an engaging way and builds skills in teamwork, communication and problem solving.

Apps for Good provide their course framework, training and connections to tech Expert volunteers, and then let you do what you are best at – inspiring and guiding young people. Join 500 schools across the UK and apply to become an Education Partner: http://www.appsforgood.org/public/teach-apps-for-good – it’s free for non-fee paying schools.”

Follow them on Twitter  Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 17.23.02  @appsforgoodcdi

Apps for Good – Info Flyer

Computing At School (CAS) community survey – open now

Pinched from the CAS e-newsletter…

National CAS Survey 2015
01 Feb 2015


Computing At School and the Network of Excellence team are conducting a short survey about the Computing At School community and Computing in schools.

National CAS Survey 2015

The survey will remain open for the whole of February 2014. To get an accurate picture of how CAS is used and how Computing in schools is developing, we would like as many CAS members as possible to complete this. The survey is open to all (including non-CAS members), although there are some questions that are specific to members of CAS and some that are specific to teachers. It should not take long to complete.

For one lucky person each week, there will be a prize of a £25 Amazon voucher!

The summary data will be published by CAS in the spring.

Thank you!

If you’re interested in the teaching of computing in schools (you might be a teacher, a university partner or in industry or just curious) have a look at http://www.computingatschool.co.uk 

Speaking of surveys, we’ve (Teaching London Computing) just published the preliminary results of our own survey which looks at Computing teachers perceptions of their training needs, more at the snappily titled Surveying schools and Computing teachers – do they need training, and if so what format?

Our survey is still open, at http://bit.ly/TLCsurvey2015a

CAS’s survey link is National CAS Survey 2015

‘Save Santa’ Christmas game in Scratch, shoot the bats that are trying to interfere with his gift delivering :) via @CompAtSch

Computing At School (CAS) is a free resource hub (with info about events and classroom resources) for computer science teachers in the UK. There’s a thriving community section in which people can share their ideas for activities, and one of them is this game ‘Santa Shoot’ game, from Conor Grimes. Players need to shoot down bats that are getting in Santa’s way.

It’s free to become a CAS member and once you’ve done so you’ll be able to access the Scratch game and play it in your classroom.

The game was written in 2012 but thanks to a comment posted more recently the thread has resurfaced.

Game details: Santa Shoot Christmas Game


Short description:
Simple Scratch Christmas Activity

Full description:
Key Stage 3 Programming Activity
Level: (Beginner / Intermediate/)
Duration: (1 – 2 Periods)
Teaches: (Basic Scratch programming)



Secondary computing teachers eligible for Teacher Industrial Partners’ Scheme (TIPS) from @ntlstemcentre

Teachers may be interested in TIPS (the Teacher Industrial Partners’ Scheme) which gives STEM teachers an authentic experience of what takes place in modern engineering and technology organisations. The aim is to enable teachers to link their subject to the range of careers open to their students.

The National Science Learning Network, which runs the scheme, has arranged work placements with BP during the spring term.

Become a BP Partner School – 3 places available
BP is looking for three secondary teachers of science, technology, engineering, mathematics or computing to undertake a two-week work placement during the spring term 2015.

The placement is part of the Teacher Industrial Partners’ Scheme (TIPS), linking engineering and technology employers with local schools. By giving you an authentic experience of what takes place in modern engineering and technology organisations, you can help your students understand how your subject links to a diverse range of career opportunities at all levels.

The main base will be at the International Centre for Business & Technology at Sunbury with visits to the oil trading headquarters at Canary Wharf, a supply depot on the south coast and a fuel development centre near Reading.

What will it cost and are there any bursaries?
The fee to take part in TIPS is £360.

Teachers from state-funded schools, academies and colleges can receive an ENTHUSE Award bursary of £1400 to help with supply cover and other costs.

How to apply
To participate, you must be available to leave the classroom from the 6 to 23 of February 2015.

For information on how to apply, visit the website below to register:

About the NSLN
The National Science Learning Network is the UK’s largest provider of subject-specific CPD. It comprises the National Science Learning Centre in York, and a wider network of 50 Science Learning Partnerships across England.