Spring 2020: Workout #5


Are you new to the Dojo? Check out the Pandemic Overview to understand what we are trying to do here.

Video Overviews

Beginner Overview (watch me!)

Advanced Overview (watch me!)


Beginners wanting to program in Scratch can sign up an account at the Scratch web site by following this link. It will create a new scratch account in the CoderDojo NOVA “classroom” giving you the ability to share with your fellow Dojo coders more easily (and I can reset your password if you forget it)!

Advanced coders who want to jump into some JavaScript coding should surf over to CodeGuppy.com. This is a nice (free) site that is targeted at teaching kids how to code with JavaScript. This is a nice step after Scratch. More details below in the Advanced section of the Agenda along with more options.

Live Mentor Help!

Have a question? Join us in this Zoom Meeting (a video conferencing platform).

You will need to do some setup if you haven’t already Zoomed. Go to Zoom.us to get setup.



  • Scratch – New to the game? Read through Pandemic Overview
  • Up to Date? Continue Unit 3: Stories work. See description below.


  • Python Project Ideas
  • JavaScript Project Ideas
  • Arty Project Ideas

See below for more information.


Today if your coder has worked through the earlier workouts, they should continue with Unit 3 in the Creative Computing curriculum. If they haven’t worked through earlier workouts and seen the Unit 1 and 2 projects like 10 Blocks, About Me, Build a Band, etc., they should go back and work on them first. If you are new and need some guidance for a recommended learning path take a look at the Pandemic Overview.

Last time your coder should have worked through the Characters, Conversations, and Scenes projects. If they didn’t have time to get to all of them circle back and finish the one(s) they missed. All the projects in Unit 3 are building up some skills we will need to tell a story. The next project to work on this week is something your child will need participation from another person. This could be you (parent or guardian) or a sibling of your coder. Do you know someone else who is virtually at the Dojo? Maybe you can collaborate online? The Creature Construction project is an unplugged project designed to show how we can collaborate and “remix” our ideas with other people.

All of Unit 3 has been building up to the Pass It On project. In this project you start a story using the skills you learned in the Characters, Conversations and Scenes projects and start to tell a story. Once you’ve gotten a nice start to the story, share it and add it to the Dojo Studio here. Don’t know how to add to a Studio? Remember the My Studio project from Unit 1? Go back and check that out or reach out to us on Zoom.

After you have added your story, look for another story in the Studio. Make sure to name your story and add the tag #PIO at the end of your title so we know it is for the Pass It On project. Once you find another story you like, remix it and add more on to the story. Now share that story and change the name of the story to have Remix #1 added on to the end. If the story you picked already has a Remix #(something) on it, just add one. So Remix #1 should go to Remix #2, Remix #4 should go to Remix #5. Get it?

I can’t wait to see how the stories turn out!



Advanced coders we have been working through projects from Al Sweigart’s book Invent your Own Games in Python. We started with a guessing game. Then we moved to Hangman. You can keep going with this book if you want to continue done the Python path. The trinket.io web site lets you play in a Python sandbox without having to download and install any software. You may run into some limitations though.

Feel free to download your own copy of Python. There are several ways to do this. Refer to the end of Workout #1 for recommendations for distributions and development environments. You can of course go straight to python.org and just download vanilla Python. It’s up to you.

If you do download some version of python, you can start to do some more advanced fun things. Want a big challenge? Make the guessing game a two player network game where you communicate with another player using UDP. (Yes this is a very advanced topic! See what you can do!)


When we talked at our last in person meeting and based on what you entered into the survey we asked you to fill out, many coders responded that they wanted to learn about JavaScript. We have been looking into what the best resources for you might be. As it turns out there are many! The people at CodingTheSmartWay suggest a roadmap for learning how to do web development. This site is a blog geared toward professional developers. Nevertheless, they still have good advice on the roadmap. Another blog has similar advice but points to different resources.

They rightfully point out that the web at its core is built up of HTML and CSS (Do you know what these acronyms stand for?). So before you learn JavaScript you need to have at least a passing understanding of HTML and CSS. The Raspberry Pi foundation has several paths to learn about HTML and CSS. So if this is new to you, start there.

The next thing on the roadmap is pointing to a series of for pay courses at udemy.com. Having never taken these courses, I cannot speak to their quality. What I can tell you is that I found several free verions instead. You can try out:

  • FreeCodeCamp.org – not much to look at but its free!
  • JavaScript.info – a wall of overwhelming (but complete) information
  • Language Reference – a good place to just look up info (not a good place to learn)
  • W3Schools.com – monstrous resource with interactive examples for JavaScript and bunch of other web languages
  • CodePen.io – sandbox to try JavaScript code
  • Stackblitz – another sandbox to try JavaScript code and front end frame works like Angular and React

But maybe the best site to learn JavaScript if you are just starting out and maybe you are a kid?


CodeGuppy.com seems like a great follow on from the Scratch mentality. See if you like it. It has lots of interactive tutorials (some making games!) to help you learn JavaScript. Good Luck and have fun.

Arty Stuff!

Looking for something else?

  1. Download Gimp a free image manipulation program.
  2. Learn how to use it!
    1. Take two photos
      1. of a person
      2. of a scene
    2. Play with the filter options to see what you can do to the images

I recently made a birthday card where I used the carton filter. I love that one.

Want another project idea?

  1. Go download Blender – an animation tool
  2. Figure out how to use it!
    1. This can be a challenge. It has a very shallow learning curve which means it can be hard to learn how to use.
    2. But this software is extremely powerful. People can make (and have) full length animated movies with this software.
    3. Try to find some simple getting started tutorials and make your first master piece!