During the half-term I ran a workshop about ‘Getting started with micro:bit’ – an electronic device created by the BBC to get children coding.
The session was a couple of hours long – enough time to cover all the basics and for the children to write their first programs.
All the children had the opportunity to get setup with a micro:bit. Seeing the childrens’ smiles as their first ‘Hello World’ program displayed on the micro:bit was a great moment.
Once the children understood how to download their programs to the micro:bit and test them, the tinkering and the fun started. We took advantage of the micro:bit accelerometer and created a ‘guess-the-number’ game, which was played by shaking the micro:bit. The children *loved* shaking the micro:bit and seeing the results on the display.
Tinkering with the micro:bit is a great way to get young people into coding and understanding about the connection between the code and its interaction with the real world.
As always, thanks to The Curzon Cinema in Clevedon for hosting us.
This term the children are having a crack at creating a website. They’re learning how a webpage is structured, what language is used to create a website and how to style their pages.
Learning HTML and CSS (the two essential markup languages used to create a website) at young age is challenging. But at coding club I make sure the children learn all the foundation skills they need in order to tackle these challenges.
One of the first hurdles when programming young is that most children don’t know how to use the keyboard. Not only do they learn to use the keyboard and the ‘special characters’ needed when writing code, but they also learn how code is constructed and how important it is to type with accuracy. The children quickly appreciate that any missing semi-colon or ‘curly’ bracket will mean their code simply will not run as expected.
Paying attention to detail, learning to be patient and staying calm when things go wrong are all critical skills that they acquire when coding. Everyone makes mistakes (and this is how we learn) but knowing how to spot the problem is crucial to a successful outcome.
Another important element of learning to make a website is understanding about images and their different formats. Sourcing images from the web; learning how to use them and manipulate them with code – these are skills that are essential to their understanding of how images work for the web.
I’m pleased to see that all the children that have been coding with me for some time are making some great mini-websites – often using their favourite characters! They feel confident enough to tackle the code and are beginning to show me they can debug the code by themselves before calling for help.
The Curzon Clevedon was once again the venue for a workshop on ‘How to make a Pokémon game in Scratch’.
The game the children made consisted of adding a Pokémon trainer that could catch the childrens’ favourite Pokémons using three different poké balls.
The children learnt how to manipulate their favourite Pokémon images in Scratch and animate the balls in order to catch Pokémons. Once the Pokémons were ‘caught’, these followed their trainer everywhere s/he went. There were different variations of the game, but all the children amused themselves by solving the challenges.
Look out for more workshops coming up at the Clevedon Curzon.
Last term, the children had plenty of ideas for Scratch projects. Here are just a handful…
Clearly, someone can learn to code at any age. I would not go as far to say that children who learn to code at primary school age should be taking a GCSE in Computer Science – but it is my view that those choosing their GCSE options when they are 14 who haven’t already been introduced to coding will be far less likely to choose to pursue Computer Science at GCSE.
Coding allows children to be creative and to develop many skills such as problem-solving and applying mathematical concepts. They also learn to collaborate with their peers. All this will help them throughout their time at school and beyond.
However, children who do coding from an early age – in or out of school – may go on to become the technologists of the future.
I truly believe that introducing coding from a young age open up a child’s options. Children have free spirits, learn quickly and have very creative minds; they like exploring and tinkering; most of all they have fun.
I have 7-year olds at coding club who are already creating their first games. I have also seen young coders move on to secondary school and continue to code on their own.
I’d like to see more secondary schools offer creative coding workshops to help children discover there’s a lot more to coding.
Here are just a selection of the many Scratch projects my primary school children created last term.
The Hour of Code is a worldwide event where young people and adults take part in ‘learn to code’ activities during December.
I was delighted to be part of this year’s Hour of Code and thanks to the Curzon Cinema in Clevedon, pulled together the event at their wonderful site.
A group of young enthusiastic children arrived on a rainy Saturday afternoon to learn how to program their own Minecraft worlds. We used Code.org – home to some fantastic Minecraft activities which were a real hit with the children. I was very impressed on how the young coders got on with the challenges and were able to share with their peers.
Thank you to everyone that attended and special thanks to the Curzon Cinema for their continued support, which allows us to inspire more children to code.
In the final session of the school term the children produced some ‘spooky’ projects in Scratch, with some great animations and fun effects. The projects were completed in an hour-long session and here are some of the amusing results…
This term, the children learn to program their own games and control them with the keyboard.
At Coding Club we encourage the children to learn about sharing and collaboration. They all take turns to ‘show and tell’. It was great to see everyone sharing their creations and explaining the mechanics of their games.