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!

Wimbledon Tennis

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships start next month. Is anyone interested in watching the tennis? Do you play tennis? Have you ever thought about the following:

  • What is Hawk-Eye & how do you think it works? Which other sports use this technology? Can you think of a use for it outside of sport?
  • How do you think serve speed is measured? Can you find out what was the fastest serve speed at last year’s Wimbledon Tennis Championships? What else can you think of that travels at a similar speed?
  • Have you noticed the use of other technologies in sports? Can you let me know which and find out how they work?

Half term Tech at The Polka

The Polka has some really interesting activities over the half term holidays. Merton Park children went to see Error 404 a few years ago and we thought it was an excellent and thought-provoking play. Digiplay & Random Selfies also look very exciting. Let me know if you go?

Mechanical Pedometers

This week we began work on designing our own Micro:bit pedometers.

We first looked at a similar, existing product – a mechanical pedometer, and we played the roles of customer & engineer to decompose the pedometer and to work out what could go wrong and how the engineer could address this.

We took apart 2 pedometers and researched how they worked:

“Mechanical pedometers

Early pedometers were entirely mechanical and they worked a bit like pendulum clocks (the ones with a swinging bar powered by a slowly falling weight). As the pendulum rocks back and forth, a kind of see-saw lever called an escapement flicks up and down and a gear wheel inside the clock (which counts seconds) advances by one position. So a pendulum clock is really a mechanism that counts seconds. The original pedometers used a swinging pendulum to count steps and displayed the count with a pointer moving round a dial (a bit like an analog watch). You fixed them on your waist and, every time you took a step, the pendulum swung to one side then back again, causing a gear to advance one position and moving the hand around the dial.”

(From http://www.explainthatstuff.com/how-pedometers-work.html)


This helped us to explore the concept of a pedometer, how we could make one that counts steps as accurately as possible and the best design. We talked about 2 other types of pedometers – Fitbits & Smartphones.

We discussed the sensors that a Micro:bit includes and how they work, and compared these to the sensors in a phone. This will help us to design our Micro:bit pedometer.

A few children kept their pedometers on until next week and have been amazed at:

  • How easy it is to clock up lots of steps
  • How accurately this old-fashioned pedometer measures steps (been comparing to their fitbits)

Did anything surprise you today?

Code Club Summer Term

Thanks to all of you who applied below, or on the Robo Blog – hopefully you have received an invitation to join Code Club! I’m looking forward to our first meet up this week. I think that Tim, Jon & Linda will be helping us out this term and hopefully Mr Hovell will make a few appearances too!

Since we are going to be creating with the Micro:bit, we will need to understand sensors:

  • What are they?
  • What can they do?
  • Which sensors are available on the Micro:bit?
  • Which sensors do most smartphones now have included?
  • How could you use these sensors, together with coding and WiFi, to develop an app or a gadget?

Any ideas?

Extra: If you want to learn more about sensors, click on the Summer Sensology tab on the blog home page.