‘Hacking’ and working with BeetleBlocks

Students at Churchill Park School, Marist College and St Heliers School are coding with our tutor Peter Miller. Here’s a summary of the work that he’s doing with his classes in 2018.

Beetle Blocks screenshot


  • Students will be working with 3D environments during the 2018 terms.
  • There is no set programme for a term, rather the students are encouraged to explore and progress, from whatever their current abilities, at their own pace.
  • A note of the topics/areas touched on will be made available to parents after each week of lessons.
  • Students are encouraged to manage and limit their own screen time.


Core concepts that will be covered/reinforced throughout any term include:

  • Hacking, problem solving and referencing.
  • Control flow.
  • Values, variables, lists, objects, properties, hierarchies.
  • Conditionals, predicates and boolean logic.
  • Functions / Custom blocks.
  • Messages and events.
  • Encapsulation.

beetleblocksDuring Term 1, students are learning about:

  • Hacking (as in Hacker spaces, not as in the movies!) as the primary learning methodology — the way they teach themselves how to code.
    • This will be ongoing/reinforced throughout all sessions this year, and students are encouraged to hack at home; this can be continuing work from class, or their own projects/coding environments.
    • Students used Beetle Blocks (www.beetleblocks.com) for their hacking in class. Any language/environment can and should be used by students outside of class to hack – transferable skills/experience is a crucial part of the learning process, such as Scratch, Tynker, p5js, and Processing.
    • The principles of hacking are:  Undo-able changes; One change at a time; Small changes; Not perfectionism (working on lots of aspects, not just one small area); Small prototype projects (not one big project); and Collaboration with and supporting their peers.
  • Bugs and Glitches.
  • Cursors (aka Beetles), Movement, rotation, scaling and object creation in 3D.
  • Control Flow: Sequences and Repeat Loops.

Any questions, get in touch at info@codechampions.nz

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