Animation Workshop for D&T – Week 1 (April 13th)

In no particular order, here are the works of art produced in the animation workshop today:

The Life Cycle of a Plant


Under the Sea

Finding Nemo

The Race

And here’s some exclusive behind the scenes photos from each film (click for larger images):

Deep sea diving in progress on the set of Under the Sea.

Very serious work on the alien planet during production of Aliens.


Nemo starts out during the filming of Finding Nemo.


The Life Cycle of a Plant crew making the magic happen.


The Race, a film crying out for Tubular Bells…


The End.

Crumble: Introduction

The Crumble is an interesting piece of technology that opens up some brilliant physical computing options for KS2 and KS3 students and according to the marketing blurb on the manufacturer’s site: “This truly game-changing device opens up countless possibilities for ‘embedded intelligence’ as required by the new national curriculum.

Crumble Controller Board

Crumble Controller Board

The Crumble system comprises a controller (pictured above) that is programmed using a drag and drop style programming app (pictured below) over a USB connection to a PC. You can also connect various switches, motors, LED clusters (known as ‘Sparkles’ in the Crumble world) and other electronics, all controlled by the Crumble controller board. The Crumble, once programmed, can be removed from the PC and the program will continue to run. This makes it very useful for projects that operate independently from the PC (e.g. a robot, or a car, or a lighthouse).

Crumble programming program

Crumble programming interface

The programming interface is bright, fun and easy to use. It is immediately reminiscent of Scratch and students that have seen and used that interface will feel at home straight away.

Here are some useful links:
Crumble at MindSets
Download Crumble programming software
Learn Quick Start Guide from MindSets

Picoboard: Introduction


The Picoboard is designed to work well with Scratch and the version I played with even has ‘Scratch Tools’ printed on the board. The board has various inputs to allow physical interaction with Scratch.

These inputs are:

  • Slider: Returns an analogue value between 0 and 100.
  • Button: Push button which can be monitored.
  • Light sensor: Returns a value between 100 (bright light) and 1 (darkness).
  • Sound sensor: Returns a value dependent on decibels monitored.
  • 4 x resistance inputs (labelled A,B,C and D): Similar to a Makey-Makey, these inputs allow various things to be connected to the board, limited by your imagination and the conductivity of the item.

See the image below for a board layout:

The Picoboard is quite easy to set up, but does need a little bit of work before it will ‘just work’:

1. The board itself needs a driver, which should install when you plug the picoboard into a Windows PC.
2. You will need to enable the board within Scratch – choose the ‘Add More Blocks’ category.
3. You will need a browser extension to interface with the Scratch website.
4. If you are using Chrome you will also need a ‘helper’ app to facilitate the use of the extension.