Spring 2020: Workout #1

Welcome to the Kickoff of CoderDojo Spring 2020!

Today’s Agenda (Everyone)

  • Organize Room
  • Gather – Table Conversations
  • Season Overview
  • Analog Coding: Robots and Coders – “Programmed to Dance”
  • Fill out survey
  • Animate Your Name Project (Scratch)

Agenda (Beginning Coders)

  • Continue with Scratch
  • Find your next tutorial project
  • Look at the Creative Computing projects for this week

Agenda (Advanced Coders)

  • What do you want to work on this season?
  • Find your way!
  • Identify your options
  • Pick one (or two)!



When you first arrive if the room is not setup yet, help arrange it in our special Dojo pattern. There are typically three outlets in each room. Around each outlet, form a collection of 8 desks like this.

As you wait for Dojo to get started, introduce yourself to your fellow coders at your “table”. Here are some discussion starter questions:

  • Have you ever coded before?
  • What language?
  • Why did you come to the Dojo today?
  • Ever been to a Dojo before?
  • What type of computer are you using?
  • What operating system does it use? {Do you know what an operating system is?}
  • What do you use computers for?

Season Overview

Ordinarily we will start promptly at 2. But this is the first meeting and things can go sideways. But when enough folks are in the room, a mentor will give a quick season overview.

First Exercise : Analog Coding

After the overview the first thing I want us to do is get in the spirit of coding! The Harvard Graduate School of Education provides a great resource called Creative Computing. I will pull from this resource a lot this season. Today we are going to start with the Programmed to Dance exercise. At each table pick two robots and send them out into the hall for a minute while we explain the exercise. Then bring them back in and try to “program your robots to dance”! Repeat with different robots and dances as you like.


To help me figure out what else you want to do in later meetings, please fill out this survey! Thanks!

Second Exercise: Animate Your Name

For the new coders, we need to get you setup with Scratch. If the WiFi is working follow this link to sign up for the Dojo’s Scratch Class on the Scratch website. If we crashed and burned, mentors will be passing around thumb drives with a copy of the Scratch application. To sign up on the web site, you will need to know an email, and make up a username and password. It might help to save this information in a text file in your Documents folder. Maybe call it ScratchLoginInfo.txt! 😉

If you make it to the website, navigate to the Animate a Name tutorial by clicking on the Ideas header and then clicking the [ Choose a tutorial ] button.

Scratch screenshot
Screenshot showing Ideas heading and [ Choose a tutorial ] button

If we had to go offline, the stand alone software also has the tutorials. Once you find it in either case, it should look like this and give you a short video to look at describing ways to animate your name! Give it a shot! Are you an experienced coder? Than really go all out and show off what you can do! I want to see something awesome! After you have created your masterpiece, it is time to show it off to your table. Do a gallery walk where each coder at a table gets to show off their project to the rest of the table. This is the time to show appreciation and ask questions! Have fun.

animate name tutorial
This is the animate a name tutorial

Beginning Coders

Did you like the Animate a Name tutorial? Pretty cool, huh! For the rest of today pick one or two more tutorials and work through them. A good second tutorial is the Make Music tutorial. Other fun options are the Make a Chase Game or the Make a Clicker Game tutorials. With about 15 minutes left in the session do another gallery walk to show off your work and to see what your neighbors did.

Non-beginner Coders 🙂

OK. Animating your name was fun. But you’ve been there done that. What do you want to do this season? We have plenty of mentors with lots of experience who can help you to figure out what you want to work on.

Do you want to:

  • Create a super amazing Scratch project that really pushes the Scratch envelop?
  • Learn to code in a text based language like Python or JavaScript?
  • Learn how to make basic web pages in HTML with CSS?
  • Learn how to make more advanced dynamic web pages using JavaScript and some framework like node?
  • Want to make some apps for an Android phone using App Inventor?
  • Do you want to play with some fun hardware like the Circuit Playground Express?
  • Or an Arduino?
  • Or an mBot?
  • Or a Raspberry Pi?
  • Or do you have your own project in mind?

Whatever it is, let’s spend some time to map it out. We will be meeting 8 more times. Do you want to work on one big project or a couple smaller ones? Do a little research to see what you will need. The software ones are easy because all you need is your computer and your brain. Add hardware and now you need to figure out how to get access to the hardware? Can we get a donation? Should we write to our sponsors? Let’s see what we can come up with!

Project Resources