Coding clubs are a relatively new idea to help the next generation to create and build in the future digital economy.
I am trying out Code Club (www.codeclub.org.uk), “A nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11”, to assess it’s suitability. We are planning to run a code club in conjunction with the Aston Project (run by the local Cheltenham police)
I started with the simple Scratch project: Rock Band.
It would be good to use two screens so you can see what you are doing on one and the other what you need to do.
On the screen that you are using the Scratch to produce the product you will need Internet access. Also, you need to make sure you have downloaded FireFox and Adobe Flash Player.
You need to start by choosing a username and password and put in your birthday, gender, country and email. NOW CLICK ON CREATE!
On the other screen that you have get up the internet and go onto the coding club website Codeclub.org.uk. Click on projects, Then click on the button that says ‘Go to projects’. Then click on scratch.
The scratch page should look like this.
Creating a Rock Band
The first thing to try out which is simple and easy is the making a rock band. They tell you in simple steps on how to make your own rock band, adding a singer and drum. To do this they use code, which makes the instruments do different sounds and movements. With the steps you use to make these you can use them to make the rest of your band such as a guitar and more singers. To make your band even more interesting how about recording yourself singing and making the singer sound like you. It will really bring the band to life!
You can see in the picture the code segments you can use to make different parts of the band do different things.
For example, to hit a drum you will need to go onto the scripts and click on events and drag the box that says ‘When this sprite clicked’. Then go onto sound and drag ‘Play drum 1 for 0.25 beats’. If you place when one under the other you can see that they both into lock together, which makes up the code.
This one is trying to get the rocket to fly to the earth. Using different code we are able to create this. You can also add things like more rockets and planets to make your space more exciting.
To make the rocket move towards the earth you need to click on costumes and rotate the spaceship sideways. Like shown in the picture.
When you click onto the code it will speak, turn and move towards the earth. The screen position x:(0) y:(0) is the centre of the stage. A position like x:(-150) y:(-150) is towards the bottom left of the stage, and a position like x:(150) y:(150) is near the top right. If you need to know the coordinates of the position on the stage, move the mouse to the position you want to and make a note of it. Which will be displayed below the stage.
Python is a widely used, general purpose, text-based programming language. To run this you will need to download Python version 3.2 (instructions on the site). When you download the software it should look like this.
So now you have all you need to try out Python, I suggest starting ASCII ART first as it’ll teach you the basics and go on from there. What differs Scratch to Python is that one uses pictures and words to make animations and code. Python using only words and symbols to create codes.
This program will print some text to a screen. As you are doing it, notice that the text you want to print is surrounded by speech marks and grey background. Here is what it looks like when you do it.