My 1st after school club use of Crumbles

Today I ran my first after school club for some Y6 pupils at Rivington Foundation Primary using Redcrumblefern Electronic Crumbles.

There were 6 attendees – all Scratch competent and I gave them a Crumble starter pack each and asked them to plug them into their laptops

(hardest part was getting the packs open!)

I’d asked for the Crumble software to be installed by the school’s IT support firm and all of the laptops worked fine (its an MSI package so its easy to roll out for any IT support team)

The first time you plug a Crumble in – you get a little message at bottom right saying its loading the driver – takes about 15 secs.

Since they were all Scratch experts I quickly explained that the start program was the same as When Green Flag is clicked and asked them to make Motor 1 come on , wait 1 sec, then switch it off.

I showed them how you could change the motor power level and explained that the green play button was the Scratch Green Flag equivelent.

I also explained that we hadn’t got any motors to connect up but that it was a good test as an LED would flash to show it working.

About half got it going correct straight away and all the others wer ejust down to things like missing a 1 sec wait after motor stop.

I then got them to modify it to switch Motor B on when Motor A was off and vice versa

Traffic02jpg-101261-120x120So then I handed everyone a 4Tronix Traffic Light Crumb and got them to connect a blacck wire from a Crumble minus connection to the minus connection on the Crumb

This caused a bit of confusion as there are 4 minus labels on the Crumb (the two real ones and two others marked minus for the motors which aren’t ground connections) so I had to say “one of the minuses near the top” (maybe a bit of  colour coding with a sharpie might be the way to go in future)

We then connected A to the Green LED on the Crumb and repeated the flashing exercise using A instead of Motor 1

(There was a bit of discussion over connecting the minuses together and maybe next time it would be better to start off using a battery to power the Traffic Light Crumb directly (without using a Crumble) just as a bit of revision on basic electrical principle – I’d better check if the TF Crumb has resistors in cct first though!)

Since the kids were fully trained Traffic Light Scratch experts (they’d used Raspberry Pi with ScratchGPIO in Y5 with Pibrellas) they soon had B connected to Yellow, C connected to Red and got a working TF 🙂

I then showed them the millisecond delay instead of the 1 sec delay and suggested then just make a pretty light display.

I then showed them how to connect up a battery box and then got them to unplug their USB cables to show one of the great attributes of the Crumble – it retains its program when disconnected from a computer.  They all thought this was a cool idea and immediately thought about having their TF Light Crumbs as flashing badges.

I explained that they could make an even cooler project – a bedroom burglar (e.g sister/brother/parent) alarm if we just added in a sensor and a buzzer – they all thought that was a great idea except for the boy who shared a bedroom with his brother so he said it would be any good!

(BTW – connecting up the battery box turned out to be a bit of an issue – for starters – the terminals weren’t labeled + or – so I had to resort to saying connect red lead to outer connection and black lead to middle one.  Also, some of them struggled a bit to hook the crocodile leads onto the battery – I think this might need looking at – minimum might be a bit of red paint next to +ve)

sparkleI then decided to show them a Sparkle (RGB LED) in operation and this proved the most difficult to get working- there were a few wiring errors and the Sparkles are not symmetric – you need to connect D from Crumble to the inward pointing arrow on the Sparkle (I’ll have to see if Redfern can add in/out lettering)

However, we eventually got them all going and they all worked out that they could choose whatever colour they wanted.

We then added a second one on and at that point we were out of red/black leads so that caused a few more wiring errors but soon everyone was running a  set of disco lights.

And then time ran out 🙁

It was an excellent session that went at a rapid pace but as I’ve mentioned – these were seasoned Scratchers and Mr Walters Traffic Light certified pupils 🙂



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2 Responses

  1. Stewart Dunn says:

    Thanks of this Simon

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