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Episode Info:

The most challenging task of trying to teach code in a way that is authentic to students' interests and lives is being able to show code coding is authentic to my own interests.

I don’t come to code through a love of tech. I have a poetry degree and never caught the robot bug in my youth. I built model planes and used hot pins to simulate battle damage. My electronics kits are still in mint condition.

In this episode of Beyond the Hour of Code I share some of the projects I am currently working on to develop my own skills and confidence.

The Projects:

Lilypad Arduino

Notorious LED upgrade:

This project has been 2 years in the making and right now I am trying to integrate a sound detector to make the Neopixel ring interactive. Recently I did update the code to make the LEDs less bright. It is a challenge filming the puppet with the light in his chest, the light spoils the white balance.

Galaxy Backpack:

This is a new build, I want to have it for bike safety as well as a demonstration piece for coding and wearables. I have been chasing down some odd troubleshooting issues and it looks like I might need to replace the Lilypad board I am using.

Testing LEDs on Galaxy Backpack

LED House Project:

This is a multigrade project that began with the question “Why aren’t I using a train board to teach electricity and circuits?” In this project, the kids create cardboard houses and we wire them together in larger and larger batches. I am hoping we will have to construct several different power grids along the way. I have posted some of the projects on my Inquiry and Innovation circuits page.

This project will be controlled with BBCMicrobit boards and be programmed with Microsoft’s website. The block-based code and the provided wiring diagrams make it easy for kids to read the screen and find the information they need to become successful.


This is an idea I have been thinking about for a while. My car is really basic, almost no gauges. I know my car has data I can’t see. My plan is to construct and On-Board Diagnostic device so I can access the data my car is creating. I have the first parts in the mail to me now and I will update you as I figure this out.

What are you up to? What do you dream of or wonder about? Let's wonder together and figure stuff out. Drop me a note in the comments.

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