Middle School Robotics 'Wearable Art' Workshop

On Monday 29 October Middle School Robotics students took part in an afternoon Arduino ‘Wearable Art’ technology workshop at the School. 

Organised by Somerville House Co-ordinator of Robotics Mrs Brenda Gahan, the workshop was run by Dr Marie Boden and two Electrical Engineering students from the University of Queensland (UQ). 

The workshop was split into two sessions, with the first allowing students to participate in activities that involved writing short coding scripts to program light-emitting diode (LED) lights. These scripts then allowed students to control the LED lights, making them blink and change colours via a ‘Lilypad Micro Controller’. 

The second session of the workshop culminated in the students using their basic coding knowledge gained in the first session, to produce a coloured and flashing LED light headband - creating their own ‘Wearable Art’ technology piece. 

The students thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, with many stating they are now inspired and motivated to learn more about coding to further enhance their Robotics knowledge.  

“Coding is very interesting to me. It’s such a great feeling when you put it all together and get it working”, said a Year 7 student. 

The workshop was designed to introduce Years 7 to 9 Robotics students to coding in a fun and interactive manner, but also served as a way for the UQ Electrical Engineering students to gather data for an ongoing study. The study looks into ways to retain girls’ participation and interest in pursuing STEM subjects in secondary school and university.

Commenting on the strong relationship between Somerville House Robotics and the UQ Electrical Engineering Department, Mrs Brenda Gahan spoke of how she is encouraged by the student’s excitement for coding and the success of the workshop. 

“It’s fantastic to have Dr Boden come in and show the students some of the fun things coding can create,” said Mrs Gahan. 

“She [Dr Boden] is heavily involved in researching ways to maintain and sustain girls in Robotics. Workshops like this show our girls the different options for study and careers outside of school, through university,” she said. 

“We are already planning more workshops like this in 2019.” 

For more information on how your daughter can participate in Robotics at Somerville House, please contact Mrs Brenda Gahan via BGahan@somerville.qld.edu.au