The final half term Build and Play workshop took place today. All the groups have been amazing, but today’s class were super competitive. They got to build their own racing car games in Scratch before competing for prizes at the end.
First Coding will be running another of its popular workshops. This course is designed for children who are already confident with working with Scratch and who would like to explore further possibilities with the things they make. This is a four week Saturday afternoon course starting on 14th March, 2.30pm – 3.30pm. The cost of this course is £80 per pupil for the four weeks.
There were so many great projects that came out of the Christmas Coding workshop last week. The children first started by building animated Christmas scenes before adding interactive crackers. Clicking on a cracker reveals a joke selected at random from a list of terrible jokes. You can sample some of the crackers and their jokes here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/354037013/.
We will be running our popular Young Coders’ course again on Saturdays for 7 – 10 year olds. Commencing on 11th January 2020, 2.30pm – 3.30pm, it runs for four weeks and costs £80 per child.
The theme of this course is Ciphers and Secret Messages and over the four weeks we’ll not only be covering important programming concepts that can be applied to applications and game design but we’ll also be working up to a final project where the class will learn how to make their own cipher machines, encoding and decoding messages.
We’ve been putting together an ecology simulator in Scratch where the user has to decide when to introduce predators in order to bring balance to the ecosystem. Both the insects and predators follow rules:
The game will include habitat that insects will feed off
Feeding insects gain energy
Increased insect feeding will result in a shrinking landscape
Reduced insect feeding will result in an expanding landscape
Insects can only reproduce if they have sufficient energy
Insects die if energy levels reach zero
One predator at a time will be introduced by the player
A maximum of three introductions at a time
Predators feed off insects to gain energy
Predators can only reproduce if they have sufficient energy
Weekly game jams such as the one held over at WeeklyGameJam are a great way of getting inspired and experimenting with new game design ideas. It’s also a great way to meet and interact with a community of people who share the same passion for games and coding as you do.
I decided to take my own advice this time and took part in the Can’t Touch It! theme where you have to build a game within a week that fits with the week’s chosen topic. After brainstorming a couple of ideas I got to work building a prototype in Scratch, then I worked on polishing it once I was happy the game mechanics were working. I’ve seen the most fantastic games that were built within a day, mine titled Circles was built in two days. I’ve detailed the process I followed over on my personal blog here.
The idea of the game is to continuously contain the smaller moving circle with the ever decreasing perimeter.
We’re running our competitions again! If you’re in one of the schools that hosts a First Coding computer club, be on the look out for our competition. Over the next couple of weeks pupils will have to code a maze solving (virtual) robot with the fastest times winning some fab prizes.
Free to enter and open to all pupils whether they’ve previously taken part in the clubs or not.
The third session of the monthly coding club at Salisbury library took place yesterday and it proved a great deal of fun. First Coding taught the children how to make their own games and hopefully left them with ideas and an interest to keep coding throughout the rest of the Easter holidays. It was nice to involve some of the parents too.