Horsham pupils’ road safety project reaches competition finals

Pupils with their Minecraft tree
Pupils with their Minecraft tree

Pupils at a Horsham school made the finals of a computing competition with a project that encourages road safety.

A team of seven year five pupils at St Mary’s CofE Primary school reached the finals of the PA Consulting Raspberry Pi National Competition for the sixth year in a row.

Each year PA Consulting sets a theme and teams have a £100 budget to produce a project with the Raspberry Pi credit card sized computer.

The team developed an idea to fit this year’s theme of travel and transport. The idea encourages parents living further away to drop children at various specified drop off points away from their school, before the children walk in.

Marcus Tyler-Moore, who is headed the adult part of the team, said: “A high percentage of serious child road accidents happen within 200m of a school gate, so any initiative to have less cars causing congestion around school gates should be encouraged.”

Children use a little NFC tag to scan in at the drop off point to a portable device (a Pi Zero) and then again at school on a human sized tree (in the shape of a Minecraft tree) housing a second full sized Raspberry Pi. The check-ins are validated to ensure the child has scanned in twice and a pointed added to their year and school and as a reward.

This results in a patch of land being automatically built in a Minecraft World running on the Raspberry Pi inside the tree.

The more pupils walk in, the bigger the world becomes.

Schools participating can view how they compare to other schools on a dashboard the team have built using PowerBi against the data held on AWS (Amazon’s cloud).

The pupils who will take their project to the finals in London on April 30, worked with Python, the Cloud (AWS), databases and SQL and more.

This year’s competition is supported by Rolls Royce, Highways England and Transport for London.