Fall 2016: Workout #1

Intro and Welcome

Welcome to the fall 2016 season of CoderDojo NOVA! We have a fun line up of coding experiences waiting for our coders. This season comes with a few tweaks and modifications as we continually adjust our program to best fit the needs of our coders and stay true to our goals.

One new directive for this session is that parents should not leave their child’s side until they are successfully logged in and ready to code.

Novice Coders

These are coders who are just getting started. If you are new to coding in general or just new to Scratch (the language we use to get started) this is the group for you.

Today we are going to work through the Getting Started With Scratch tutorial. This will familiarize the coders with the Scratch interface and give you a basic sense of how the programming environment works.

After you have finished that tutorial, it is time to move on to the next one, Step by Step. This tutorial teaches you how to make your sprite move around. Have fun with this one. See what you can make your sprite do!

A fun part of the Scratch programming environment is the ability to share your work and have others “remix” it. I’ve created a studio to help facilitate sharing our work. Check out our fall studio. After you’ve made some good progress on your Step by Step project, share it and go ahead and add it to our fall studio. Don’t know how to do it? Ask a fellow coder. Ask three, then ask me. 🙂 You might need help from your parent for this step. Parents have to confirm that a coder can share projects on the web site.

Now that you have shared your project, look and see what other projects are in our studio. Find another Step by Step. See what they did. Remix it and add your own personal flair. Make it your own.

With the time remaining, look at some of the Feature Projects on the Scratch main page. Find any you like? What did you like about it?

Intermediate Coders

Who are intermediate coders? Coders who have done some scratch coding before and who don’t need quite as much supervision. Sound like you? Great! Let’s get going.

We’ve been out of the Dojo for a summer. Let’s tune up our coding chops. Do you remember any Scratch? Or were you coding all summer long?!! To get back in shape if you took a break or just to show off if you are on top of your game, let’s make an About Me project or a What I Did This Summer project. Check out my example [96164392] to see what I mean.

When you have completed your project, share it and put it in this falls Coder Dojo studio. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Submit it when you are far enough along that people know what you are talking about. After your fellow coders start to put theirs up, take a look at some. If you were to embellish the story some, what would you add. How could we make the fishing part of my story better? How about adding fish swimming by? What if we added some fantastic elements like when I took a tour of the moon or defended the planet from space aliens?

Sometimes when we write code it doesn’t behave like we expect. The process of finding this problems and fixing them is called debugging. Want to know the origin of this expression? Read this! And this! Let’s do some debugging. Another thing coders do is work in pairs. Let’s give that a try. Pair up and try to figure out what’s wrong with any of these buggy projects:

      Project 1 – When you click on scratch cat s[he] should dance and a drum should sound. Cat dances for a little bit then stops and the drum keeps going. How can we fix this?
      Project 2 – When the flag is pressed, Pico is supposed to move over to Nano and say “Tag you’re it”. Then Nano should say, “My Turn!” But Pico doesn’t say anything. What is the problem
      Project N+1 – I’m getting lazy and don’t want to type anymore! Look at the debug exercises in Unit 3 of the Creative computing resource for more.

Advanced Coders

What is the difference between an advanced coder and an intermediate coder? A couple of things. First an advanced coder knows Scratch or some other programming language pretty well. Second, and this is pretty important, an advanced coder is able to stay motivated and on task on their own. If you find yourself unable to resist the call of the latest web game, the intermediate coders are your people. If you forget to eat because you are still trying to figure out how to get the next feature to work in your project, you are probably an advanced coder. Now go eat!

Today we are going to working on our mentoring skills and map out a longer term project for the next couple classes. So first, go and help some newbies get logged in and signed up with Scratch. Once they’ve gotten started on their first tutorial, wish them luck and let’s talk!

As advanced coders, you are the top dogs of the Dojo. You get to help set what direction we go. Anyone want to work on a Scratch Jr version of the getting started with Scratch tutorial? Want to figure out what you need to run Scratchx on your computer? Scratchx is a version of scratch that lets you talk to a micro controller (a super tiny “computer” if you will) that can run small programs and is good at interacting with sensors. Do you want to help me get the yellow belt scratch project ready? Do you want to plan your own super fun project? The choice is yours! Make the most of your time.