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Fire Tech in Gibraltar: Part Two

This post is about our second session in Gibraltar, when a group of 22 students discovered the awesome potential of tiny robots! To find out about our music-making session with bananas and Makey Makeys, read Part One.

Robots and Code at the University of Gibraltar

The setting for our second session in Gibraltar, in collaboration with the Kusuma Trust and Gibraltar’s Department for Education, was the University of Gibraltar, situated on the picturesque southern tip of the peninsula near the famous Trinity Lighthouse. Providing an inspirational and well-equipped learning environment is always a priority for Fire Tech Camp and so it was a joy to welcome 22 eager students to a modern, glass-panelled workspace complete with modern computers.

We enjoyed great facilities at the uni – thanks for having us!

This session was all about robotics and code, led by Fire Tech Camp’s Rob Sheridan. The students were quizzed on their knowledge of robots, how they are used and how they are controlled. They were then handed the real deal in the form of Ozobots – powerful miniature robots designed to expand STEM and computer science learning.

The test run proved great fun, as students saw how the robots could follow lines and flash lights triggered by moving over certain colours.

Rob from Fire Tech Camp led the Ozobot session

Stepping it up a notch, the students then used “cheat sheets” to explore how to program the robots’ behaviour – changing their speed and direction and even getting them to dance!

With this newfound knowledge, the class participants were challenged to take on a series of increasingly complex problems. For example, how can you get an Ozobot to travel from “Home” to “Fire Tech Camp” while overcoming a series of obstacles and taking into account all the options the little bot might take?

Encountering impressive levels of enthusiasm and engagement among the group, Rob and the other tutors kept pushing the students to think creatively and challenge them more and more!

Solving challenges with the Ozobot

After a quick break for sunshine and fresh air (not in short supply here!), the session resumed with a new focus on coding. We used Blockly, a visual programming language that’s free and easy to use. Although nobody in the class had ever used Blockly before, every student had some familiarity with Scratch programming and so was able to transfer their existing knowledge of visual-based coding while learning and applying new skills using the Blockly programming interface.

The result? Everyone in the group was able to code their Ozobot to trace out the first letter of their name, and there was plenty of celebrating when the trickier letters were eventually spelled out successfully! This is one of the first lessons of programming of course – it might take a few iterations to get the code right, but when it works, it’s a great reward!

Happy faces = bot challenge successfully solved!

The intensity of the sessions and the enthusiasm from the students has been amazing so far. It’s also been non-stop for the Fire Tech Camp team out there so kudos to everyone involved! We’ll continue to keep you updated as the week goes on and you can keep up with photos on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Also see what Kusuma Trust and the University of Gibraltar had to say about the work we did with them!

Bespoke packages for schools and organisations

If you’re interested in the bespoke educational tech sessions and workshops that Fire Tech Camp deliver, then please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!