Mr Bennett’s Tech Tuesday 1st March 2021

Here’s your next Tech Tuesday!

If you want to learn about tech and how to make your own apps and games this is the place to learn the skills!

All of these tasks are extra, fun, things to do, not must complete tasks, so only attempt it if you fancy it after your other work.

Heath Robinson Machines

William Heath Robinson was a cartoonist.

Now why is Mr Bennett doing a Tech Tuesday about a cartoonist?

Well Mr Heath Robinson liked to draw cartoons of over-complicated machines and techniques for doing mundane, day to day, tasks.

Here’s one of his pictures from world war one showing silly ways of doing things.

His work inspired films and cartoons, especially some of the machines in Wallace and Gromit.

Since he became famous for these pictures his name has become the name for silly, over-complicated machines made for fun. People have made examples of these over the years and especially during COVID.

Here is a video of a Heath Robinson machine made during lockdown.

Coding is normally about the opposite of complication. Normally it’s about simplifying things.

However, creating games and apps is also about iteration.

Iteration is about testing and improving what you are working on.

In America Heath Robinson machines are called Rube Goldberg machines. There are lots of videos with that name on YouTube.

(I don’t actually know who Rube Goldberg is. Could you find out and tell me?

When I do robotics, in masterclasses at Dalry Primary, iteration (testing and improving) is key to getting our code to tell our robots to do what we want.

So why don’t you try making a Heath Robinson machine yourself! Video the results and send it on teams or pop it on YouTube (with your parents permission).

Top Tips

Start at the end: These machines are best built backwards. Start with your last action and build backward in time towards the start.

Test: Test each part a few times to be sure it works the same every time.

Section: Once you have a few pieces built and are certain they work take out the starting element of that section before building the next. Or you’ll be resetting the whole thing all the time and get very tired. We code movement sections indvidually in robotics lessons.

P6 and P7 Optional Advanced task.

Making Heath Robinson machines is tricky in real life but even more tricky in the digital world.

If you think you caould try why not make a Heath Robinson machine in Scratch which at one click of the green flag makes one sprite know into another and another to achieve a task. You will probably need multiple screens. Here’s another video of a real life machine to give you ideas.

Try to make sprites that make sense and move differently, like magnets attracting to metal and balls rolling.

Have fun coding and building Digital Dalry!

1 thought on “Mr Bennett’s Tech Tuesday 1st March 2021

  1. Pingback: Home Learning for Week Commencing 8th March 2021 | Dalry Primary Edinburgh

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