I am collaborating with the children’s librarian in my city to run a monthly code club for kids 8-12. Our first meeting was last Monday. We had six kids show up. I knew three of them from two years ago when they were in my after-school 4th grade Code Club. It was great to see them again. The other three were mostly new to Scratch. One of the coder’s grandmother stayed for the session and we set her up to play and learn Scratch, too, and she jumped right in a made a Chatbot project.
I knew we were going to be using the library’s Chromebooks, so I set up a teacher account and a class along with some student accounts. I figured a few of the coders might have a Scratch account already. One said he did but didn’t remember it. They all ended up using one of the class accounts. That made it easy for sharing their projects at the end of the session.
Chatbot is one of my favorite projects from Code Club World. It requires only one Sprite and Stage, is interactive, and the projects can become very creative very quickly. It introduces the conditional block “if then, else”, a powerful, useful coding block for decision making. It also introduces the ask-answer block pair as a quick way to introduce interactivity. The expert coders sort of remembered Chatbot but were very happy to revisit it.
By the end of the session, everyone was successful in setting up a Chatbot and coding an “if then, else” block at the least. Some added more complexity with movements and costume changes. It was fun to see the different, creative takes on Chatbot. The coders shared their projects, even though some were not complete and we played them all through. I put them in our October project studio and liked them all.
I thought the English/Spanish Chatbot project was a great idea – it could be a cool way to show what you’ve learned from Spanish class.
We asked the club members what types of projects they wanted to work on in future meetings. I heard ideas ranging from Ghost Busters, Pong, anything with horses, to a platform game. Good ideas! We are hoping more kids sign up and we can grow the club a bit.
It was great to be back working with Scratchers. My after-school Code Club starts up next week. More new Scratchers.