Creating an Automated House with the Microbit

cardboard doll house

This spring session we tried something a little different and hands on. Campers were on a mission to build their dream home and automate it using the Microbit. The focus was on providing a project based and camper led experience. Working in pairs, basic programming and physical computing concepts were introduced such as creating LED circuits, programming sounds for the doorbell, using a servo to make a fan and introduction to sensors as burglar alarms. The Microbit and blocky based programming IDE (pxt.microbit.org) served as a user-friendly platform for exploration.

Throughout the sessions, campers designed their house with dimensions and dream features (Of course the house needs a dumbwaiter!). From these designs, they built their skeleton house using cardboard carpentry skills. Next came the circuit building and connecting. To fully access the pins available in the Microbit, we used edge connectors and jumper cables. Campers then wired up their house using wire clippers and strippers.

On to the decorating phase… furniture and other accessories were created with leftover scraps of cardboard, craft rolls, wooden dowels and whatever was lying around. Campers were also able to generate their own novel wallpaper using an online seamless pattern generating tool (https://patterncooler.com/) and of course patterned contact paper.

Working over the 7 weeks, campers were able to design, prototype and problem solve their way to a semi- finished project. Collaboration skills were developed and campers began identifying their strengths and applying them to building their dream dollhouses. Kudos to you Zero Day Campers!

The Microbits Come to PS 93

a microbitZero Day Camp is happy to collaborate with PS 93 in Bed-Sty Brooklyn to present a 5 week after school CS introduction program using the Microbit. Physical computing is a great way to engage young learners and being to understand how computers and code can affect the world around them. The Microbit is a small computer which supports input connections using alligator clips and comes packed with multiple sensors. To learn more visit: microbit.org.

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Zero Day Camp and The Campus in Brownsville

For almost a year now Zero Day Camp’s directors have been working with New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton’s office to contribute to the launch of “The Campus” technology and wellness hub centered in the public housing and community schools of Brownsville, Brooklyn. We are excited about The Campus, which has brought together key community organizations and local youth technology and media non-profits to work towards creating a high tech training and development center in one of the poorest and often neglected corners of New York City. Read more

Tech2Learn: Bringing Technology Home

tech to learn iconAccess to hardware and internet are some of the more basic building blocks to developing CS skills. With these tools in hand, students can connect to experts and limitless resources. Many homes in our communities however, still do not have access to a computer or internet. Zero Day Camp is hoping to help close this gap with its newly founded Tech2Learn program.

Through the T2L program, we collect, refurbish, and provide hardware to our partner schools, who in turn provide the hardware to students, for home use. We also help connect students and families to available resources to free and low cost internet as well as other local resources for learning.

Zero Day Camp relies on donations from families, businesses, and other institutions in our community to make this work. To donate, please fill out the form available at this link.

Fall 2016: Sessions 3 & 4

lamb drawingSession 3

This week, coders worked on creating music using Scratch beats and instruments. Three tasks were introduced and rotated:

  1. Recording sound and using pre-existing sounds
  2. Rhythm & beats
  3. Creating a song (Mary had a Little Lamb) with notes and using custom blocks for each measure. You can find a piano note/ number template at this link and the musical notes at this link.

Session 4

In week 4 we started working on new animations incorporating sound, movement, and costume changes. Story elements were discussed such as setting, characters, and story arc. Check out some of the shared projects at the Fall 2016 Studio.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

drawing of Ada Lovelace October 11th is Ada Lovelace Day so let’s celebrate! Ada is known by some to be the first computer programmer, born in 1815.  She was an avid mathematician and theorized about computer programs that could be used for purposes beyond mathematics. Her “computer programs” came decades before the  first computer known as the “Analytical Engine” which Ada had a hand in developing along with Charles Babbage. To find out more about this special lady, check out this video.

Fall 2016: Session 1

cartesian plane chartWelcome back returning coders and greetings to our newest members! This week we set out to get to know each other and set some large goals for the fall session. We hope to dive deeper and build more complex programs while learning and applying the fundamentals of computer science. Whole class instruction focused on basic sprite navigation using the cartesian plane and rotation angles as they apply to the sprites in their programs. We also looked more closely at creating custom blocks (functions) to generate more elegant code while drawing using the pen tool in Scratch (a nod to Seymour Papert and Logo the Turtle).  You can find the instructions we worked off of today by following this link and the Scratch starter project here.