My 10th after school Code Club started at the end of February. This is a small group of 10 4th grade students, which is nice for a change. It is great to have three girls in the club, too. A couple of the students were in Code Club in 3rd grade and a couple students also come to the monthly Library Code Club.
For our first project, I presented an old Code Club project “Felix and Hebert” which I did not find on the Code Club World site when I went to link to it. It is a simple chase game where one Sprite is controlled by the mouse, the other chases after it. The project gets you a simple game with very little coding. It is a nice way to introduce Sprites and Events and I saw some creative projects.
For our second meeting, we started with an Etch-a-sketch project with the option to add a maze game to it. Some students stayed with the Etch-a-sketch project, just having fun messing around with drawing on the screen. It was a nice twist to start with the Pen blocks and directional controls, then add the wall color sensing code for a maze game. I feel these two projects transition nicely into each other instead of doing one project or the other.
Another student changed the arrow keys commands to generate interesting curve drawings. The up arrow moves the Sprite forward as normal but the left and right keys turn the Sprite. Hold two keys at once for drawing curves.
It was very cool to see curves drawn instead of the usual straight lines and square corners of the Etch-a-Sketch. Some of the other students wanted to copy this movement style. I was proud to see the students share their code ideas. Later I saw one student sharing a way to make your own code blocks. He thought this code was how he made the Sprite stop moving.
When I looked closer, I noticed he didn’t have any blocks under the define hat. He was sharing his code but it wasn’t code that was affecting anything. I am impressed that he choose to design his own code block when he couldn’t find the block he wanted, even if he doesn’t yet understand how to do that.
Next week we are going to try the Chatbot project and I’ll have to explain how the “Make your own blocks” work. I have been wanting to show students how those work, now I have a good excuse.
This is a creative and adventurous group. Should be a fun 10 weeks.