This morning I attended day 3 of the iWish event at CIT and this morning the students began with computer science workshop where the students worked on a computer each and they learned how to code to make music sounds. The programme they used was Sonic Pi and they were each provided with a worksheet at the beginning.

The workshop began with a technical issue as the facilitator wanted to show a presention but there was a problem with the laptop and the projector, so the facilitator instead used the worksheet as a reference point and explained to the class what she wanted them to do verbally with the use of the whiteboard. She was able to improvise when the technology didn’t work and this was important. It’s vital to have a back-up plan. One of the computers didn’t have the software so one student had to move. All computers probably should have been checked for the software before the workshop began.

There were assumptions made that the students understood the music notes on a piano and that they understood the octave scale but only students from a musical background would have understood this. No assumptions about the students ability or prior knowledge should be made.

A lot of the students were seen coding and completing the task before the facilitator had finished talking. Some had the programme opened early and they worked off the worksheet themselves. The students well able to complete the tak and they weren’t daunted by the task at hand and some moved ahead quickly. The students were more confident with the software than the facilitator may believe. Students working on brief faster than the facilitator was talking.

Some students also asked each other questions with regards to the first task and other students could be seen looking at each others screens to see what they were each doing.


  • interactive challenge – 2 parts to the challenge – timed challenge – build the construction they see on their worksheets and determine how much it would cost to build it
  • 2 facilitators
  • students were told they may make the same construction in different ways using the same materials
  • the 2 facilitators moved between the groups
  • the students were divided up into groups of 4
  • the layout of 4 students spread across one side of a rectangular table is not ideal for this challenge as it wasn’t easy for all students to reach in a get involved – som were seen to stand up while others were stretching across the table – perhaps sitting 2 facing 2 would have been better
  • leaders were emerging in some groups with one girl heard talking her group through the construction and how much each block costs etc.
  • 1 student was seeing playing with the left over blocks once she had completed the challenge
  • variations in engagement – some fully involved, 1 or 2 losing interest, one student seen playing on her phone while the rest of her group completed the task
  • one group had not fully completed the task forgetting to calculate the cost of their construction – perhaps the facilitators could remind them of the tasks to complete and the goals from time to time
  • Facilitators discuss the meaning of the outcomes of the workshop after the time is up
  • the workshop started with an intermediate task (part 1) and then a more complex task (part 2) and this seemed to work well as the students were seen to be more engaged for the second part
  • students were heard saying afterwards that this was one of their favourite workshops of the week so far
  • there was an element of play to the workshop and that obviously went down well with the students


  • demo – very interesting attention grabbing introduction “…going to show you a card trick…”
  • this is an interesting, different way of demonstrating maths principles
  • the students were quick to volunteer when the facilitator asked for them
  • the students were eager to participate – it was clear they were fascinated by the trick
  • it was the first workshop where most students were seen taking a notepad from their bags to take notes – they eagerly took out their note books
  • the facilitator explained the maths principles behind the trick – very well spoken and she explained them in simple terms
  • interactive talk during her explanation of principles as some students got involved

This afternoon the students are going on site visits to 3 different places so I will link up with them again tomorrow morning.