My moon phase lamp is the follow-up to the sunrise lamp I created to convince our son that the day does not start at 5am.

With this new model I wanted to make some improvements and break out of my coding comfort zone as I know I’ve picked up some quirky hack-it-together programming habits. I also wanted to discover more about the limits of the Pi when it comes to powering NeoPixel LEDs.

The moon lamp is similar in design to my sun: it is a snapology origami sphere, has a NeoPixel ring for a light and is driven by…

It’s a fairly common problem for kids to wake up and not know what time it is and so sleep trainer clocks like the one pictured below are also fairly common. Stars during the night and then Mr. Sunshine appears at a set time.

Gro clock
Gro Clock

We were passed down two of these GRO clocks, which sit next to star projectors in each room. I've never got on with them. I find them a bit ugly, they are forever being disconnected and often show the wrong time.

I'd been curious for a while about Adafruit's vibrant NeoPixels LED, and had wondered…

Allan and Janet Ahlberg’s ‘The Jolly Postman’ is one of the most captivating books I can remember from my first years in primary school. It tells the tale of a bicycling postman who goes about a village delivering letters to fairy tale characters. With each turn of the page there is an actual envelope containing and actual letter! I felt like I was intercepting the mail of witches and giants!

I aspired to be a postman, convinced it was the most glamorous job in the world, but I did not think of book again until I needed a title for…

One trip down a YouTube rabbit hole I stumbled across the ingenious Beals Science Cardboard Planetarium, a geodesic cardboard dome big enough to fit an entire secondary school classroom inside. I thought having a go at making my own scaled down version would be a perfect lockdown project.

Geodesic Domes

I had previously found some interesting dome constructions which set me on the path to finding this calculator for giving dimensions for dome parts. A geodesic dome is comprised of triangles grouped together to make hexagons and pentagons.

Pentagon and hexagon made out of triangles
Pentagon and hexagon formed from triangles.

I recently rediscovered my first adventure in pure JavaScript: a not-so-random random name chooser.

Nothing beats the analogue method of picking names from a hat. Somehow though, having the computer make the choice adds an element of magic and authenticity in the eyes of the pupils.

Years ago my first attempt at creating a random name chooser used ActionScript in Adobe Flash to select a key frame at random and so display a pupil’s picture in the corner of my PowerPoint. I’d ask a question, tap a picture of dice and we’d all watch as each pupil’s face would briefly…

Russell Eveleigh

A primary school teacher and family man in the UK who likes tinkering with code and who sometimes tries to write good.

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