Meadowbank School joins Code Champions

club-meadowbank-logo blueWe’re pleased to announce that Meadowbank School is joining Code Champions in Term 2.

We will be running two coding classes on Mondays as an external activity in the after-school Club Meadowbank programme (meadowbank.school.nz/club-meadowbank-programmes/).

If you’d like to know more, please contact us at info@codechampions.nz or go to codechampions.nz/ms/

 

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Coding activities in Term 1

With Term 1 now completed, we wanted to show you some of the great coding work that’s been going on.

Creating a game with Unity

Some groups were using the coding platform Unity (unity3d.com) to learn programming techniques and create simple games.

Screenshot 2018-04-12 12.10.58     Screenshot 2018-04-12 12.11.17

‘Jump’: Check out a game created by one of our young coders. You will need to download the files to your PC to be able to play. Download folder with files here  This folder contains the game .exe file, entitled ‘Jump’ (the symbol is a yellow circle with a black dollar sign), plus the UnityPlayer.dll file, which will run the game.

Students have their own games saved. If you install Unity (codechampions.nz/2018/03/02/quick-guide-to-installing-unity/), they should be able to show you what they have created.

 

Coding with BeetleBlocks

Other groups used BeetleBlocks (beetleblocks.com). Here are some screenshots showing examples of work done.

Interpreter:

2018 T1 - Bb Interpreter

Pixel Art:

2018 T1 - Bb Pixel art

Voxel Scene:

2018 T1 - Bb Voxel scene

Basic Game:

2018 T1 - Qb Basic game

Compound Object:

2018 T1 - Qb Compound object

Find out more about how the classes are using BeetleBlocks at codechampions.nz/2018/03/12/hacking-and-working-with-beetleblocks/

 

Looking ahead to Term 2, 2018

We’re busy planning for Term 2. If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about Code Champions classes, please contact info@codechampions.nz

 

 

Some ideas to help you keep coding during the holiday

code champions logo_altWant to continue coding in the holiday break? Peter Miller describes some of the ways you can do this.

  • Parents of younger children: Read over with your children, to help comprehension, and to support a diverse range of coding activities.
  • Students of all ages: Show and teach your parents and friends what you know!

Diversify your coding

Beetle Blocks screenshotDoing and using different projects / activities / languages / environments will give you perspective on, and grow, your coding abilities and transferable skills:

  • Try adapting an idea or feature from a game/app into a different language / environment.
  • Use online resources when trying something new, such as:-  guides, exercises, FAQs, challenges, eLearning / online courses.
  • Use Hacking to discover, explore, understand and collaborate / share.
  • Try using Scratch, Tynker, Beetle Blocks, Gamefroot, and p5js

Grow your Hacking skills

Hacking is how you teach yourself to understand the commands and capabilities in a language and environment, how to combine them, and how they interact:

  • Once change at a time
  • Reversible/undo-able changes
  • Small changes
  • Collaboration
  • Not perfectionism
  • Small/prototype projects

Be methodical

Complex code is built from simple beginnings.  Use this simple methodology to grow your code and coding skills:

  • Make a start.
  • Start simple and do what you know.  
  • Hack and make something more complex.  
  • Repeat and do something new, now what you know has grown.

Be creative

pacmanCoding requires creativity, both to solve problems and to come up with ideas / features which let you develop your coding skills.

  • Use inspiration from everyday life to think of scenarios to frame your ideas, such as objects, scenes, behaviours. Also draw on ideas from books, documentaries and movies.
  • Try early arcade/computer games/apps for simpler ideas and features. Hardware limitations meant less complex games/apps and increased ingenuity and playability.
    • Try 70s and 80s arcade machines and home computers like ZX Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, and Pacman, Dig Dug, Space Invaders, Defender, Joust, Tron, and Pole Position.
    • Look at youtube videos and walkthroughs; also emulators.
  • Do something different to the Tutor starters / examples / samples shared in class.

Do code

Coding involves actively starting and growing your projects, by adding code that features a diverse range of core concepts. If you are using these concepts and growing your code, then chances are you’re coding!

  • Control flow 
  • Variables
  • Boolean logic and comparisons 
  • Conditionals
  • Functions/Custom blocks 
  • Objects/entities

Coding involves a diverse range of activities.  Make sure you are spending time on many different activities; switch to a different activity, or start a new project/prototype, if not:-

  • Create 
  • Design  
  • Plan
  • Collaborate 
  • Research
  • Contribute 
  • Implement
  • Test
  • Review 
  • Share

Practice good device hygiene by limiting the amount of time you spend on all devices, including time coding!  Coding takes time and concentration but also requires rests/breaks, and doing a diverse range of other physical and mental activities.  Help your coding by giving yourself a break!

Not coding

  • Just browsing/playing videos, apps and games.
  • Modding/skinning.
  • Spending all your time on research.
  • Spending all your time on one feature/idea/area/prototype/project

 

Compiled by Peter Miller, tutor, Code Champions