This is a sample of the content delivered monthly as part of the First Coding subscription package. A creative hub for ideas, support and teaching material designed to assist teachers and educators deliver creative coding lessons for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3.
MONTHLY PROJECT SAMPLE
Building Chatter Box, the friendly chatbot in Scratch
Recommended Years: Key stage 3
Topics Covered: Variables, Lists, IF Statements
Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular today, you probably have one in your home already in the form of Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home. Chatbots are basically computer programs you can interact with either by talking to them or typing to get a response.
In order to start building our chatbot we must once again start thinking as a computer does. Just like with previous projects all tasks and instructions need to be broken down into small chunks so they are easily followed. This guide breaks down our chatbot into easy to follow sections with suggestions at the end to help improve it and make it better.
UPDATE: With the release of Scratch 3, the chatbot has now been given a voice for the first time. Click on the video below to hear Chatter Box speak. A copy of the Scratch 3 file can be downloaded here.
PowerPoint presentation and additional accompanying handout material for this project is only available to subscribers. Become a subscriber today.
SUPPORT COMES TO THE RESCUE
Making the transition from Scratch to a coding language can be a daunting experience for both teachers and pupils. This problem was recently raised in First Coding’s new support forums and we were able to provide the teacher with guides and handouts to assist in the lessons. If you’re encountering issues on this topic too, then why not check out our guide titled From Scratch to Python. Download here.
As a subscriber you will also have access to the The First Coding podcast, a regular show covering a multitude of topics designed to help teachers and educators. The first episode is free to listen to below.
Episode One: You don’t need to be an expert to run successful coding lessons.
Jez Whitworth, the co-founder of First Coding introduces himself and talks about how with his background in training and software development, identified a real need to teach coding to the younger generations. He also offers tips on how people who have little or no experience in teaching coding can become computer coding educators like himself and appeals for ideas on how best to encourage more girls to take up the subject.
Did you know that you can control motors and lights with Scratch? First Coding has put together a simple electronics kits complete with example code to help teachers get up and running quickly. These kits are currently only available to subscribers and are perfect for breathing new life into any Raspberry Pi or BBC Microbit project.
To give an idea of how the motor control kits can be used, we found an old broken Furby toy and brought it back to life with some simple coding.