Bits and Bytes is a social mobility project designed to help address the challenges of social mobility facing primary school children within Fenland and East Cambridgeshire. Funded by the Department of Education, and working with Cambridgeshire County Council, 20Twenty Productions is now delivering a two year program direct to primary schools, during curriculum hours, within these two areas.

If your primary school is interested in benefitting from this Government funded activity please contact Katherine Nightingale at 20Twenty Productions to register your interest. Phase one, which began in September of 2018 finishes January 2019. These places are now full. Schools interested in joining the February delivery, or further delivery beginning September 2019, should make contact immediately as places are limited to only twelve schools. Places are allocated on a fist-come first-served basis.

This eighteen week activity contains three primary themes:

1. Technology driven activities that introduce pupils to robotics. Delivered during weeks one to twelve, activities grow steadily in fun and complexity to the point at week six where pupils will be using their new found skills to solve puzzles and perform tasks. During these weeks pupils will develop their problem solving skills using Lego’s educational platform – Lego Mindstorms. Scattered within this phase pupils will also use Apple’s educational coding platform Swift Playgrounds to develop their coding and problem solving skills.

2. #root (recognising opportunities out there) activities encourage pupils to examine and where possible broaden their career and personal goals. These, as with all activities, are designed to be age appropriate. Classroom based #root activities are supported by interactive handsets and wristbands, connected to a central quiz system, that allows individuals and teams to collaborate and compete during these activities. Included in this phase of the activities is a day trip to the National Space Centre in Leicester. An amazing day out for all pupils – and staff!

3. A simulated classroom based United Nations exercise completes the program during weeks thirteen to seventeen. Carrying on the hard work of the national teams formed during week one, the United Nations exercise places pupils within each national team in to a situation where they must form strategies and negotiate with other teams. Performed in an age-appropriate manner, each team’s goal is to collaborate to raise the investment needed to solve one of a number of problems given to them in ready made scenarios.

In summary the five weeks of the UN exercise involve:

Week 1: Each team is given details of a range of social and economic problems found in the country they represent. They must choose one of their nation’s current problems and create a an iPad based presentation about their chosen issue using the information provided.

Week 2: Teams present, discuss and vote upon all of the the problems presented. Each team’s goal is to persuade the UN to select their own nation’s problem based on social need. The selected problem becomes the focus of all national teams activities moving forward.

Week 3: Each team is now given the same information about the problem selected last week as well as how much money their nation has (calculated based upon the points earned during the various activities completed in weeks one to twelve). They are also shown how much money all other national teams have. Finally they are given the cost of solving the problem, which is intentionally more than any one single nation can fund. Teams must collaborate and negotiate to create joint bids that provide the funds to solve the problem. Teams must do this knowing that the overall winner of Bits and bytes is the one with the most money at the end of the United Nations exercise, so negotiating in a manner that preserves their own funds is essential.

Week 4: Teams are now introduced to the “World Bank”, which offers extra funds to teams forming joint bids. This allows collaborating teams to meet the World Bank’s representative  to seek extra money to help fund their joint bid if necessary. The World Bank will only offer money to bids involving multiple teams, and limits its offering to at most half of what the teams as nations involved in the bid have pledged in total. Bids must be submitted this week.

Week 5: Final changes can be made to the bids prior to collaborating teams now presenting their bid to the United Nations. A vote is now held to vote for the winning bid.

The winning team as stated is the team, who at the end of the negotiations, has the most money left in their national pot. This team will progress to our Robot Wars event after the eighteen week activity has completed.

Please note that the eighteen individual sessions may vary slightly based on class composition and collective progress, however we expect each eighteen week program to follow the above timeline as closely as possible.