About nic schofield

I am the ICT technician at Merton Park Primary School in Merton, and the children never fail to amaze me with their enthusiasm for all things ICT!

Do all toys need to be interactive?

Today, Lego has announced a big partnership with a Chinese company to try and increase its worldwide sales. They want to  create a safe online environment covering content, platforms, and experiences tailored for Chinese children.

“What we are looking for now … is just to find more creative ways… (of) reaching children, and creating bespoke content ….eg video games,” said the China Lego manager. The partnership includes developing a Lego video zone for children, as well as developing and operating Lego branded licensed games.

It also includes LEGO BOOST — a building and coding set that lets children turn their brick creations into moving objects — and will explore developing a joint social network for children in China.

So, here’s my question for you, because you are the stereotypical customer of Lego.

Is it not enough anymore for a company to sell a brilliant construction toy like Lego – do all toys need an online presence – videos, online games etc, in order to keep you interested? Is it necessary that they can programmed like our own robot?

Please discuss in the comments below.

Welcome 2018 Super-Team!

Just a very quick blog post from me to say how pleased I am with our amazing team selection! Some of you were involved last year and some are new to our robot but you are all excellent team players – we’ll have loads of fun together learning new things and learning from our mistakes with a laugh – I love working with you all.

See you at our first meeting next Wednesday, when we will also welcome our IBM mentor, Jean-Marc. Before that you might want to read some of these blog posts about last year’s competition.

Any questions/ worries before then (or at any time), please don’t hesitate to comment here, speak to Ms Gillan or me, or email me (my email address is on letters to parents from Code Club etc if you don’t remember it). Don’t worry, Miss Gillan & I have done this competition before so we’re on it this year!

So excited!




Robo Challenge Official Photos

Here are the official photos from the day for Merton Park & St Teresa’s – if you or your parents want the original size of any photo please email me and I’ll mail it back!

Credit for photos: Dawson James

Next term

glitter maker

Great news, the lovely Tim has agreed to come back to us next term!

So, if you’re in Year 6, or were part of our Robo Team, you’re keen and reading this blog, leave me a comment as to why you’d like to be a member of Code Club next term, and what you’d like us to do? I am thinking we’ll do a lot more coding but if you don’t fancy that…


Remembering our Wordle, do you think you were a good team member on Saturday?

Please give examples of things you did to back up your answer.

Was there anything else we could have done to score more highly in this category?

Where’s Klaidi?

He hasn’t been on the blog for at least 2 days – do you think he’s OK?

Joking aside (where is he actually?), did you know someone has developed an algorithm for the quickest way to find Wally? (He’s called Waldo in America). Why don’t you check if this algorithm works by racing a friend to find Wally?


View image on Twitter

 Michigan State University’s High-Performance Computing Centre doctoral student Randy Olson recently achieved this bizarre accomplishment.

After tracking down the coordinate positions of all 68 Wally locations from the seven primary editions of the books, he was able to apply a genetic algorithm to find the statistically fastest search pattern.

“Genetic algorithms continually tinker with the solution — always trying something slightly different from the current best solution and keeping the better one — until they can’t find a better solution anymore.”

Before running the algorithm, Olson was able to determine Wally was almost never hidden in the top left corner of the page because that’s where the postcard is positioned and he was never in the bottom right as that’s where readers first look when turning pages of the book.

It only took five minutes before the algorithm was able to determine a method to save children of the future many, many hours of searching aimlessly for the character.

The theory encourages readers to start from the bottom left page before shifting their gaze to upper quarter of the opposite page and if he is still not found, people should check bottom half of right page.

“This path represents one of the shortest possible paths to follow on the page to find Wally, so if we followed this path exactly, we’d most likely find Wally much faster than someone following a more basic technique,” said Olson.



Give yourselves a huge clap

What a pleasure it was to spend such a lovely (exhausting) day with you all! IBM worked us so hard, didn’t they? I’m worn out so you must be even more tired. You all did so well, no stress under pressure. Miss Gillan and I were very proud indeed. Everyone contributed to each challenge in practice and preparation so we can all take credit.

Lots of thank you’s – first to your parents for having such spectacular children in the first place and for supporting us in so many ways throughout this challenge – feeding us (amazing flapjacks!), having Ada for sleepovers, helping us engineer etc. To Marcie & Evan – we couldn’t have done it without you! To our whole school staff for their support & enthusiasm and especially Mrs Hastings. To Lauren & Prachi for giving up their time, for being great female role models and being so lovely generally. To Mrs Gooderick for supporting us throughout and for coming to watch. Miss Parsons for letting you out of class for the last few weeks. Who would you like to thank?

And now we have some new Lego! We must let Marcie & Evan know. Remember that Robo Club will continue for the next 2 weeks (until Easter).  We can actually have some relaxed fun playing with the EV3’s and our prize Lego WeDo2!

Fame at last! Miss Gillan has loads more photos to add and Lauren filmed the presentation. Thanks to Tim for sending us your photos too.

Today’s Assembly

Here are some photos from the KS1 Assembly today – you did so well!


List of things to take on Saturday

KIT TO TAKE ON SATURDAY – can you think of anything else?

battery charger
laptop plus charger
USB stick with files
spare charged batteries (lots)
paper, pens, calculator, tape measure
outfits, glue gun etc (just in case)
spare lego pieces
if we need to return Ada on Saturday after the comp we must ensure E’s model goes back
permission slips
parents’ mobile numbers
any medical stuff

What’s Left To Do? Let’s Get Organised!

CHALLENGES – generally, everyone to check competition rules and tick off everything for their challenge. I suggest each pair practises next week in separate room to ensure peace and quiet.

​​Dance – I & K to finish moves, stop it on time (with a flourish?!) and check it works within 2m square and with outfit. Save final file – see below. Suggest rip up lanes in suite and replace with 2m square.
Best Dressed – L & E to swot up on Ada Lovelace history, program a 50cm square (Miss Gillan may have  found a site to help you with this?), test with Ada outfit and save final file. 50cm square is on board behind door in suite.
X Factor – L & E to try X Factor 3 together (it’s on Beebot mat under bench in suite with robots). Program on paper first before even attempting to use software.
Presentation – Ignore for now, lots of practice time available (even on the train going up! Do it to the other passengers hehe).  Download to laptop etc
Race – L & Y just to keep trying to get it straight and program it to go 5.5m then stop? Test it and save final file. If they’re comfortable with that they could try to improve E’s speed model – solidify the gearing etc. Make sure you are able to discuss gearing in case you are asked questions


  • ​set up a Final Programs folder in the Lego folder in KS2. This is ONLY to be used for properly tested and final programs. Next week, save all to USB and laptop (need folder on laptop?)
  • ensure everyone is familiar with using the official laptop and with where files are saved on it, also able to download programs from the laptop to Ada and know how to clear memory space on Ada


Any Questions?

I have some final questions I need to check this week so we can properly prepare. Do you have any more questions to add?

  • ​​Will the presentation be followed by questions?
  • Can other children/ teachers help with X Factor until the final challenge starts?
  • Will the presentation be at a lectern with laptop in front of children? ie children facing audience and laptop rather with laptop behind? Can another child move slides?

Session 5

Another hectic afternoon and we were very happy to see Lauren again!

  • L & Y were delighted that E helped them crack the speed chassis build! I think we have a great, fast, reliable model. Lots of practice needed setting it off on a straight course. And can we make E’s speed model more solid and stop the gears slipping please?
  • E and M doing a fine job with Ada’s costumes! I need to sew the cape heading.
  • E & L did really, really good X Factor work on challenges 1 & 2. Well done L on your first attempt at this, your maths was excellent and you were very resilient!
  • So proud of K and I who have worked incredibly hard on the presentation, taken on board all constructive criticism and been brave enough to present in front of Mrs Hastings & Year 6, Miss Parsons, Mrs Gooderick & Lauren. Practice makes perfect. Guys, you’re amazing 🙂  Please don’t be sick on Saturday…


Speed Tests!

Testing our new, geared up, single motor model against the EV3 Speed Machine and the Ada Speed Original!

Whoops!! Totally “not straight”! But no problems, because Lulu knows why and she also thinks she knows how to solve it.
Go, Lulu!

Session 4

Wow! What a busy day we’ve had.

  • Lots of group discussion about our presentation, which you wrote on the sugar paper and Ellie has typed up into the beginnings of a school-themed presentation – thank you! How will you fit everything you want to say into 3 minutes? All those jokes about Pi..
  • Estelle has done lots of fabric sorting and pattern cutting to get Ada’s 2 outfits ready. Luca built the “body and head” chassis so we’re getting there quickly.
  • Yusef & Lulu did lots of hard work on the speed chassis – the engineering bit is hard, eh?
  • Miss Gillan, Isabella and Klaidi have made amazing progress with the dance! And Miss Parsons came in to cast an expert eye over the choreography which was really helpful, thank you!
  • Mmm, also we ate. ALOT! But it gave us the energy we needed to keep going.


Dressing Ada

I have started a collection of bits and bobs we could use to dress Ada. I don’t have any purple silky fabric for her dress, but if we can’t find any we could use tissue paper. See what you can find at home (ask first!) to add to the tin? We also need a funky disco outfit. I found some googly eyes!

Ada Speeds up!

Here are some photos and videos of Ada’s adventures with E!  Well done E & her Dad! Can you see how the speed chassis is different? Why does it go faster? What makes it keep straight?

Lulu & Yusef – you will be able to experiment next week and see what you can come up with! Hopefully this will give you lots of ideas.

This is Ada with her original chassis:

Ada speed test

This is Ada on her speed chassis, which is all made out of spare parts so we don’t even need to take her apart in between challenges:

speedy Ada1