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Rubbish – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle into toys!

Related to the junkbots project.

Taken directly from  Rubbish – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle into toys!  Lab13 at Irchester (@Lab_13Irchester)

Waleed and Jacob searching for goodies!
Waleed and Jacob searching for goodies!
Year 5 students at Irchester have been working on a very exciting project with the Dept. of Waste Management, University of Northampton. Dr. Waleed Montasser and Louise Maxwell, and Bianca, Evie and Livia (Brazilian visiting students) work alongside our Year 5s to design, plan, resource and make different Science Takeaways all using reusable and recycled materials.
Science Takeaways will be a set of four science kits with different experiments for children to borrow for the weekend and try at home. They will collect data or test hypotheses and add to the kit if they think of some new way of using it.
However, we wanted to keep these takeaways as reusable and “green” as possible and didn’t want to spend a lot of money making them! Waleed had the great idea of using Phoenix Resource Centre in Raunds.
They collect clean usable waste (including off-cuts of material, wood, card),  surplus stocks, end of lines and unwanted goods / returns from industry and local businesses. Anything that can be re-used then gets put onto shelves for people to reuse. As you can see we did a great job of finding just the right things we needed!
Today, we have visited the site for the first time to collect and resource our projects. It was a  freezing but really cool place and John on of the trustees helped us fill our trolleys! What they are doing there is very good for the environment even the actor who plays Ron Weasly think so and have visited them!
Aimee and Livia are happy with what they have found!
Aimee and Livia are happy with what they have found!
Aimee, age 9, says “I think that this is a good place because it stops all the materials from going into landfill. It makes people reduce waste and reuse things so that we can have a nice county instead of a big smelly dump in the ground!

If you would like to know more about the Junkbots project contact

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Controlling a junkbot with a Micro:bit

A new direction has been developed for the junkbot project (; previously Raspberry Pis have been used to control the junkbot’s movement ( – but what about the recently released Micro:Bits; can it be used to control a junkbot?
Matthew Hole, a student from Wrenn Academy, Northamptonshire ; has been investigating this idea whilst on a Nuffield Research Placement ( working with Dr Scott Turner, University of Northampton. The project was to look into developing junkbots controlled using a Micro:bit and also to produce some materials for schools to use with or without outside assistance.

What is a Junkbot? For this project, it is a moving ‘bot’ made from waste materials, combined with an electric motor and a programmable device (in this case a Micro:Bit) to control (or try) it. An example is shown above. More details on junk…

Do it yourself: 'Radio' Controlled Micro:Bit Junkbot

In an earlier post, I showed how you could build a Micro:Bit controlled Junkbot. In this post I want to show a modification to it, to use one Micro:Bit to control the junkbot controlled by another Micro:Bit. A nice feature of the Micro:Bit using micropython, is it can send and receive simple messages via radio - so here is my take on it.

The first problem is the Python editor available on does not seem to work with the radio API. One solution to this is to change to the mu editor.

Two pieces of code are needed.

Sending Code for the 'remote' control:
Essentially it is set up to send two messages, via the built-in radio module, spinl or spinr depending on which button is pressed.

import radio
from microbit import button_a, button_b


while True:
   if button_a.is_pressed():
   if button_b.is_pressed():


Junkbot Code
This takes an adapted form of the previous Junkbot code to work by; on r…