Items filtered by date: 10月 2022

木, 27 10月 2022 23:41

Trick or Treat with Ozobot

Currently having a lot of fun with this Halloween activity from the team at Ozobot. The activity involves a brief introduction to the Ozobot color codes, with the aim of getting the Ozobot to collect as much candy as possible as it trundles around the neighbourhood Trick or Treating. The children only need to use 7 codes: slow, quick, fast, go left, go right, go straight and U-turn so even if they have never used an ozobot before it is really easy to pick up. Once they have completed their courses, we then have a competition to see whose Ozobot can collect the most candy...the record at this moment is 14.


Published in blog
日, 23 10月 2022 15:46

英語で電気工作教室 Week 5

If week 4 was about assembling the robot from the SparkFun Pan/Tilt kit, then week 5 was about getting the completed assembly mounted and working.

This week, we were going to be sawing, drilling, soldering and tinkering!

After cutting a length of wood to act as the base, they decided they wanted to add some colour to the wood. Not sure if a whiteboard marker is the best thing to colour wood with, but it gave it a nice vivid red colour!

We then mounted our completed robots onto the base with a couple of small screws. Next it was on to making the robot controller, this consists of two potentiometers (aka pots) fixed to a wooden support. So again after cutting the various bits we glued them together with hot glue. Once this had set, we were then able to drill two holes in the top to allow the potentiometers to be attached but not before we had soldered the leads to the pots!

This actually proved be quite scary for the children, I think the heat of the soldering iron and seeing it melt metal spooked them a little Anyway once all the leads were attached it ws time to connect everything togther. So that meant running the leads from the potentiometers to plus and minus power rails on a breadboard and then running the remaining center lead to the Arduino. We then repeated this with the servos on the breadboard.

Once all those steps were completed and checked it was time to upload the program we had created on mBlock to the Arduino using a USB cable. You can see the completed robot in action in the video below.




日, 16 10月 2022 10:24

A Nice Cup of Tea in Shakujii-koen

As part of our other jobs at The Three Little Pigs cafe next to englishpool, we have recently started making a series of videos where we go out to the countryside and enjoy a picnic.

In this video we were at Shakujii-koen in Nerima, in the north western corner of Tokyo. It was the first time to visit the park here, and it was quite a revealation. The park stretches along two naturally formed ponds and was the site of the Toshima-clans castle a very long time ago. Up until the 1950s the ponds were fed by a natural spring until house building changed the lay of the land, and the spring stopped replenishing the water in the ponds. And judging by the size of some of the houses around the park it's not so difficult to see how they may have affected the topography of the area.

I have never seen such big houses in Tokyo!

Published in blog
日, 16 10月 2022 09:46

英語で電気工作教室 Week 4

Week 4 was all about building the robot. We are using the ROB-14391 pan/tilt bracket from SparkFun as the base of our robots. It is actually designed for mounting a camera on, hence the pan and tilt functions but for us it provides some really cool movement along two axes.

The ROB-14391 comes with all the parts needed to construct it, including the servo motors. So today was all about following instructions, and fiddling with tiny, tiny screws. Needless to say it was quite hands on so I didn't have a chance to take many photos.

Next week we will connecting the completed robot to the arduino, and making a base for it to stand on.

The printed instructions in the kit consist of six diagrams, in the style of Ikea assembly instructions, and were a little dificult to follow. Fortunately I had made a video showing how to build the ROB-14391 a few months ago, so we were able to watch this in the class to help us along.


土, 08 10月 2022 15:31

英語で電気工作教室 Week 3

A quick look at what we covered in week 3 of the English and Electronics course:

After a quick review of last week's contents and checking that the LEDs were working as expected when pushing the switches along to a colour song, we decided that the resistors we had used were too low a value as when connecting to the Arduino we'd be working with 5v and not the 3V supplied by the batteries. So we changed all the resistors to a higher value!


With this job completed it was time to connect the circuits to the Arduino UNO microprocessors. This entailed removing each push switch and connecting a jumper lead from a pin on the Arduino to the LED on the breadboard. We also removed the battery pack connection and connected the negative lead to the GND pin on the Arduino.

Next it was time for programming. After looking at all the available options for a programming interface for the Arduino, including Visuion, Ardublock, and miniBloq I decided that the mBlock visual interface would be the best fit for elementary aged students. It's based on the Scratch interface which many children seem to familiar with and it comes with support for connecting to the Arduino.

After explaining that we xcan control each pin on the Arduino using the program, and that we needed the pin to be set to 'high' to turn the LED on and 'low' to turn the LED off I challenged them to create a program that would light the LEDs in the order of the colour song we had used with the push switches. The completed code is below:




We then uploaded this to the Arduino UNO, which is such a breeze with the mBlock software that the children soon mastered the art of changing their programs and seeing how it changed the lighting patterns.

Finally we filmed a demonstration of the program in action which you can watch in the short video below!


土, 08 10月 2022 15:10

Cream Tea at Komatoge, Hanno

Last week we took at trip to Kinchakuda (巾着田) near Koma station in Saitama. We then hiked to Tenranzan (天覧山), a small mountain overlooking Hanno city (飯能市) before catching the train back to Tokyo.

On the trail between Kinchakuda and Tenranzan we took a break for a Cream Tea.  For those that don't know a Cream Tea is a traditional British snack time which involves drinking tea and eating scones with clotted cream and jam.

In this video Paul shows you how to have a Cream Tea in the great outdoors!


Published in blog