Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Raspberry Pi CodeClub week 12 - Things really take off!

To say last week's club was amazing... would be an understatement.

Everything was running smoothly, the 2 absentees from last week were happily building their PiBows and everyone else (minus this week's missing pupil - something to do with giant sponges apparently) was getting stuck into building circuits with the luxurious new breadboards. Some of the children had been asking about the Astro-Pi competition and I said that I'd seen that they'd been judging the entries last week. I suggested that as we hadn't heard anything, we probably shouldn't get too excited.

Then, just as we were packing up, the school admin assistant came in and said there was a phone call for me. This was unusual to say the least. One thing I like about being at school is that nobody knows how to get in touch and I normally turn my mobile to silent while I'm in the club.

Then the admin assistant said it was "the space agency".

I'm not sure who had the widest eyes at that point, me or the children.

The whistle was about to blow for the end of lunch so I told the children to quickly pack up and head off to class while I went to take the call. Half way through the hall I realised that a couple of the (very excited) children were following me. I sent them back to the Computing suite and promised to come and tell them if there was any good news.

Receiving  a call from the UK Space agency is very exciting. To then be told that your club is one of the two winning entries for the Astro-Pi Primary school competition is - literally - out of this world.

Because the results were not going to be announced officially until this week,  I was asked if I could get away with not telling the children straight away. I explained that I had been actually running the club and that I would not escape the school alive if I didn't tell the children what the call was about.

By the time I got back to the computing suite, most of the children had reluctantly returned to class.
Fortunately one of the Y5 cohort had to come back through on the way to deliver the registers and I was able to tell her the fantastic news. Apparently there was quite a loud celebration when she delivered the news to her friends when she got back to her lesson.

During the rest of the afternoon I delivered the great news to the Head, Deputy Head and Computing lead who were all equally thrilled. It is quite a small school and success in such a prestigious national competition is really big news.

When I was the same age as the children from the club, I dreamed of being an astronaut and having adventures in space. Only a decade after Apollo 11, it didn't seem too outrageous an idea. Growing up and realising that the conquest of space isn't going to happen in the way I imagined has been a bit of a disappointment.  Having said that, being able to help the children write code that'll be used on the ISS is a pretty good consolation prize.


  1. Oh, CONGRATULATIONS to you and the kids! That's brilliant news! :-)

  2. Fantastic achievement! You must all feel over the moon :)

  3. You're a star - it's only right that your team's code is heading for the stars!