Minecraft Vs Logic Gates

So recently I have been working with a group of students at my school. I have been showing them the new computing curriculum and we have been suggesting fun ways of delivering the new computing curriculum. One student called Joe in 9ZF had suggested that I use Minecraft to teach Logic gates. At first, I had to think about what he was talking about…. Whilst I had seen the value of using Minecraft for creativity, I had never saw it as a way of teaching computing terms. I decided to investigate some more!

Logic gates are a building block for creating digital circuits. Most logic gates have two inputs and one output. At any moment they can have different conditions (binary 0 and 1). These represent on and off. I had looked at Minecraft closely and had noticed that a lot of YouTube videos have shown people how to make different objects. For example, some people have made clocks.

After more consultation with the students I had noticed that there was a big prospect. I was going to develop a curriculum which used flipped learning. How much fun would it be if my students were trying this out at home and it was helping them get ready for the G.C.S.E computing curriculum. I have recently started developing a Minecraft scheme of work. I have produced 5 tutorials to begin with. They concentrate on creating the setting up of the different spaces in Minecraft and they show you how to use the NOT/AND/OR gates.

There are likely to be a few more lessons on here. I’m going to develop some video tutorials for the first 5 lessons and I’m aiming to develop some projects which allow students to use the logic gates.

If you are interested in finding out how you can set up Minecraft in your school, drop me an email at chambers_r@ucc.rutland.sch.uk I’m hoping to build more from this tutorial so that students can see how logic gates can be used to assemble some objects.

Controls / How to use Minecraft
Setting Up the Space
NOT Gates
OR Gates
And Gates
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KoduKup – Day 2

Matthew – 9ZF

Alfie with the European commisioner

Alfie with the European commisioner

We started off on an early morning start for all of us. Alfie and Matt were needed to launch the CodeEU event and Joe and Jonathan were putting some finishing touches to their presentation. Alfie and Matt met up with the boys from Norway and had to attend a presentation.

At the start of the presentation we had a talk on how anyone can use code. It talked about how far you can go with coding. The talk was led by the vice president of the company running the program which would launch coding in Europe.

Alfie was invited onto the interview panel and was speaking to the European Commisioner for Education. They asked him some interesting questions and one question focused on the age of coders. Alfie thought that it would great to start at an earlier age. He admitted that he wasn’t able to do programming in primary school and it would have made ICT more interesting for him. Following on from this, it was shown that coding should start at a much younger age.

We all caught up again later and had an opportunity to look at 3D printing. We were taught by two men who explained a number of different tools. The really interesting feature was the use of the Kinect. He had shown us tools such as AutoCad, Up and Nettfab. Mr Chambers got some ideas from this and may even see what he can do with this when he gets back. We all joked making a school chess board out of the characters.

Following on from this, we started developing card games. We were taught the importance of rules in games and we had to storyboard and develop our own games. This was cut short because we were invited to European Schools Net. They were interested in what we thought about coding. They wanted us to help them with their result. Our interview has been recorded and the footage will help lots of teachers train. Mr Chambers was interviewed about the work he has done on TouchDevelop with us. It was fun.

Selfie with Norway

Selfie with Norway

Following on from this we were taken back to the meeting room for a catch and were then told that we would go to the museum of chocolate! We met up with our friends from Norway and took a walk to the museum. It was great; we got to try 100%, 90% and 70% chocolate. They all had different strengths and it was interesting to see some of the history around this. It was also lovely to see the city! It was so beautiful at night.

After a long and busy day we were taken to dinner at the hard rock café. We all went for the legendary burger and it was delicious.

Legendary burger

Legendary burger

We have had a great time but were very tired after today! We now have to present our game tomorrow and compete in the competition.

Wish us luck!

The UK team

The UK team

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Kodu Kup Europe – Day 1

Post by Matthew – 9ZF – UCC

Confined team posing in front of some huge tablet devices!It was an early Monday morning start when the team got up to be greeted by a full breakfast and drinks. Though we were nervous for our first day at the Microsoft Innovation Centre, we were confident that we would meet new people and make new friends. All of the countries met downstairs at 8:00am to start our jounrye towards the metro.

All of the countries fitted on one metro. We got off at the fifth stop and walked a fair way to arrive at the Microsoft Innovation Centre. We walked through a few corridors and found our way into a big room. We were surrounded by screens and we started off with a lecture information us about how culture is different when playing a game. We made a new friend called Jasper from Estonia. We now follow him on twitter @rebane2001.

Our new friend Jasper

Our new friend Jasper

We were given a pack of cards to play a game where all of the tables were given different rules, but we didn’t know this. The objective was to win the game and the winner moved up a table and the loser moves down a table. This meant that when you moved onto a different table you didn’t know the rules and you started to get confused. It was hard to illustrate in silence as everyone expect us knew how to play the game. It was a really good lesson about cultural differences and we had to problem solve and work around solutions. This will definitely help us when delivering future presentations.

We were then given a break and enjoyed a lecture on Lego mindstorms. This was really interesting and we were lucky enough to use some sets of this kit. We made cars using motors, a programmable brick and a computer with a special piece of software on it. It allowed us to implement our programming knowledge.

The team made some great inventions and we enjoyed using the aspect of teamwork to solve how to fit in different bits and attach pieces to our structure. There was a lot of problem solving involved in this process due to the coding and building.

Playing with the Lego Robots

Playing with the Lego Robots

We were then given a lunch break where we were fed very well. This was followed by a pitching lesson. We were introduced to a man who trains professional speakers. He had won a competition on presentational skills for europe and he was going to help us with our presentation skills. He talked about the Code of presenting. He talked about content, organisation, delivery and effect. He let each group pitch their presentation with different elements and would then give us feedback. He taught us how to stand, how to introduce our project and he even talked about things which can improve our overall effectiveness of public speaking. This was particularly useful for any of our lessons.

Selfie on the way to a meal

Selfie on the way to a meal

After this presentation, we were taken around the city and were shown a lot of different sights. Some of these sights included the european parliament buildings and many other monuments. Mr Chambers took lots of pictures. This was followed by a meal which was delicious. They had something for everyone. The menu included half a chicken, flemish stew and steak. We were all very happy with the food.

We’re all having a great time and are very thankful to be here.

We’re going to look at 3D printing tomorrow and will look at storying boarding games in the future.

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Switched On Computing – Tutorial Samples

switched So at BETT in January, Rising Stars teamed up with Microsoft to create 6 brand new Switched computing units which would help you and your school get started with computing before September. Well it’s now September and some people are still worried about how they’re going to deliver the content in their schools. I used the free samples issued by Microsoft and made 6 PowerPoints and Videos based on the content. I added in some extra tips and have explained ways you could deliver some of the content. I’ve even included some of my own video tutorials to get you trying different things.

Mixoffice These presentations and videos were created using a new piece of software called Office Mix. There is an add in for Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 which allows you to add questions, videos, sounds etc.. You are even able to record straight from your webcam. Our students are currently sprucing up some of our teachers resources and they’re going to star in the videos themselves! Exciting stuff!

I have attached the 6 videos below and have linked them to YouTube. If you would like to download the slide decks, you can get them from this link on One Drive here Feel free to download the videos and the resources but I do not own the copyright to Rising Stars. I’m just using the samples that are available (FREE).

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Welcome back Teachers! – Computer Science Vine



Over the summer I have been spending some time making a few resources ready for the computer science change over. One of the things which I have been working on is Vine videos. I’ve only made 5 so far but I want them to be available to my students during revision sessions. The idea is to remind them about some of the techniques we use in lessons.

I must admit, I have been an avid viner for a while. I had never thought about using it in a lesson until I saw an American teacher using it to complain about her day. I thought that it could be used in a much more efficient way. What if we were forced to teach things in 7 seconds. It really makes you think about what you’re going to say in order to get your point across. Not…. like… this little essay I’m writing here.

I am going to continue updating this Vine channel for me and for the general public and feel free to refer to them or use them for inspiration. Here are 4 of the videos below.

I’m looking at doing this as an activity to get my students remembering terms. I will post any vines that they develop in the future.


Good example of an algorithm

Bad example of an algorithm
Cloud Computing Disadvantages
Cloud Computing Advantanges

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Multi-Dimensional Data Structure – Example

Some people have looked through the guidance for the new computing curriculum and have asked me what a Multi-Dimentional / Two Dimensional Data Structure is. Using OfficeMix, I have managed to produce a quick video which shows what a single data structure looks like. I have used an Array for this example. I have moved on to explain how Two-Dimensional Array’s work. This video should give you a rough idea.

The reason we use them is so that we can organise our data in a way which is easy to use/sort when programming. It would be much easier to increase the position of the Array by one using a variable. If we had 5,000 different variables it would be difficult to trace each one. This is why we use Array’s as a Multi-Dimensional Data Structure.

Multi-Dimensional Array
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Moore’s Law

With the new computer science curriculum in September, you might be covering Moore’s Law. I had a look around the internet and there wasn’t much available. I have produced a work sheet using a website and the idea of the task is for the students to find the information using the website. They will need to use quotes and then will have to explain what they’ve learnt. If you’re looking for a quick worksheet then this might be useful to help you with your students.

This website : http://computer.howstuffworks.com/moores-law.htm Will tell you all that you need to know about Moore’s Law.

Click here to download the worksheet for Moore’s Law.

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