Arduino safety system for bikes made at IC9 Bologna

On April 26, 2018 the “Ardubike” project was completed and tested for the next School Maker Day exhibition that will take place in Bologna on May 12.


Five third grade students attended an optional lab for 30 hours (3 hours per week) organised and conducted by Luca D’Agostino, professional educator at IC9 Bologna lower secondary school.

In this lab, students have been learning how to use the Arduino board, how to connect  sensors to the board and how to program the board with Mblock.

The final project developed with these tools is a safety system for a bike, that includes lights, turn signals and a fall alert based on a compass position control. (S.A.F.E. , Signal Alert of Fall Embedded).

turn signal light

The system includes:

    • LED stripes for front and back safety lights and turn signals
    • A joystick for turn signals
    • A potentiometer for lights with 4 intensity levels
    • A compass to check the vertical bike position and put on the alert signal when it falls off.


Link to the school website

Makey Makey game for a special needs student made by his classmates

Makey Makey® programmable boards are used at Istituto Comprensivo 9 in Bologna both in primary and in lower secondary school.

Students get a basic learning on how to program with Scratch in ordinary classroom activities, and in optional labs they can go further and develop animations with their own contents and ideas. These labs are carried out with a Project Based Learning approach, by developing real products that must be designed by the students themselves, developed and tested to be used by others, or presented in public events, as, for example, the annual School Maker Day.

The best students’ creations are published in the Scratch site in the school gallery classiIC9BOGuercino.

A second grade class of the lower secondary school includes a special needs student who has developed a good affective relationship with his schoolmates, thanks to their supporting teacher who has always encouraged communication and caring. So the class decided to prepare a special gift for their friend: a game made with Makey Makey and Scratch.

Since there are 23 students, they are divided into 5 groups with the task of designing 5 different animations connected to 5 different keys of the Makey Makey board: arrows up, down, left, right and space.

Every group of students designed their own idea, chose the external circuit connected with their key, and programmed the related animation. In the animations they added their own images, photos, sounds, voices in order to adapt it to their friend’s experience and emotional reactions.

After testing one by one, the 5 different animations were assembled into a complete Scratch project including all background images, sounds, sprites and blocks and published in the Scratch site: Animazione Completa MakeyMakey 2A.

Thanks to professor Ms. Manuela Fabbri of Bologna University, who often collaborates with IC9 for undergraduate’s training, on April 17, 2018 the young authors were given the opportunity to present their project in a seminar for students attending the course of Technologies of Education.

Link of the seminar slides


Next-Lab math ILS with contents created by students

Inquiry Based Learning is a very effective pedagogical approach for STEM education: the Next-Lab project gives the opportunity to use digital resources, simulations and apps for creating online activities based on the IBL methodology. Inquiry-based learning activities can be implemented following several models, one of them is the “find the mistake” scenario: appropriate mistakes are presented to students in order to let them investigate to find a correct explanation.

Mathematics skills in lower secondary school are evaluated every year by INVALSI national tests. Questions from previous tests are often used to train students as exercises. Since INVALSI data are also used by schools to analyze typical errors or misconceptions in math learning processes, they can also be proposed as investigation subjects for a “find the mistake” inquiry.

To be included in a typical Next-Lab activity, these resources have to be made interactive, adding a “digital remake” in order to give students a feedback when used online and combined with other Next-Lab applications and tools.

GeoGebra is the most used tool for math active learning at Istituto Comprensivo 9 in Bologna. Students have been engaged in preparing interactive GeoGebra contents based on INVALSI multiple choice questions in order to “animate” correct and wrong answers about fractions.

To complete their task, they had to reflect about different representations of fractions: as parts of a figure, as number ratios, as distances on a units line and so on. In order to represent multiple answers, they could analyze the most common misconceptions and compare them with the correct representation of concepts. Different representing solutions could be chosen by students, depending on their own learning styles.

The best students’ works have been published online in the GeoGebra site, in order to be linked in the Next-Lab online activity afterwards.

This reflective and creative process went on with the support of special observers: a group of undergraduate math students of Bologna University, who visited our school for a training workshop included in their course of pedagogy and mathematical education. They were invited to interact with lower secondary students and give them support in explaining and implementing the representation of their own ideas.

The Next-Lab Inquiry Learning Space “Fractions: find the mistake” is going to be published on the Next-Lab site after completing the implementation with other resources and tools, and after following a testing phase with a different group of younger students who should give a feedback on its pedagogical effectiveness.