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Computer science fair aims to put kids on the road to invention

October 19th, 2016

From parallel universes built in Minecraft to bat-sensing cameras, a host of clever creations which demonstrate the power of coding will be on display at an upcoming computer science fair.

Anyone who has programmed an app, game or project is invited to show off their work during the free event between 2pm and 3.30pm on Sunday, November 20, at Monmouth School.

And people of all ages are welcome to come along, meet the inventors and find out more about how to get involved with computer science.

Ms Lyndsay Hope, Head of Computing at Monmouth School, said: “A lot of children are interested in getting into these types of projects. At the fair they will be able to ask questions, get inspiration and ideas, and it may well spark them on their own road to invention.”

Sam, 17, will be demonstrating his high-altitude ballooning projects during the event.

The Monmouth School pupil has successfully launched three balloons into space over the past few months in order to collect a series of beautiful pictures of Earth from above.

Sam has been developing his programming skills to make the balloons’ payloads, which carry a Raspberry Pi computer, GPS tracker, camera and radios, more advanced with each launch.

He has done this with the help of an Arkwright engineering scholarship.

Ms Hope added: “The possibilities are endless with coding.

“It would be nice to see some environmental, nature-based projects like the idea some of our pupils had recently. We had bats living around the Classics Department and the boys thought of setting up a Raspberry Pi and an infrared sensor which would trigger the Pi-cam to switch on and take a picture when the bats came within range.

“You can be incredibly creative with coding. The fair combines all the computer science side of things with art, STEM subjects and humanities too.”

Ms Hope also hosts monthly Wye Hack events on site for schoolchildren from all over the region.

These friendly and productive sessions give like-minded boys and girls the chance to make new friends and develop their ideas together.

And every year they form teams to invent entries for Young Rewired State’s annual Festival of Code competition which sees more than 1,200 children from across the UK flock to Birmingham’s ICC.

Last year, a team of three from Monmouth School’s Wye Hack club designed and built a genius combination of Raspberry Pi computers, sensors and a huge rubber duck to revolutionise the way pollution is detected in the world’s waters.

Watt the Duck was victorious in the Code a Better Country category, and went on to become the People’s Favourite finalist out of 16 in the public vote.

Ms Hope continued: “We are continuously developing the Computing Department, inspiring pupils to build projects outside of school, highlighting limitless possibilities and creating a real excitement around computing.”

The next Wye Hack meeting, for children aged 10 to 19, takes place right before the Computer Science Fair on Sunday, November 20, between 10am and 1pm, giving people a chance to finish prepping their creations.

Makers, builders and coders who want to display their projects and chat to visitors about them will need to register their interest before the event.

Please email Ms Hope at la.hope@monmouthschool.org with any questions.

Click here to sign up on Eventbrite

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