Screenshot of a completed CodeClub 'Whack-a-Witch' project
The second session of CodeClub at St. Berndette's Primary School in Milton Keynes took place yesterday. We managed to sort out most of the technical problems so things got started a lot quicker this time. As planned, the children spent the first half of the session finishing off their 'Felix and Herbert' games, with those that finished early helping their friends. There was also a lot of 'tweaking' going on to the scoring code, sprite costumes and sounds - which was great because it made the children really feel that they'd created their own personal version of the game.
Once everyone had completed the first project, we moved on to the next worksheet - the 'Whack-a-Witch' project. This time I just handed out the worksheets and let them go at it. Now that they were familiar with the Scratch interface and got the hang of using the colours to help them find different program blocks, everyone found it quite straightforward to follow the instructions. We only had about 15 minutes left, but everyone had got their Witch to move backwards and forwards across the stage and quite a few had got her appearing and disappearing randomly. The only tricky bit was making sure everyone declared their variables as 'only for this sprite', so that we could avoid having to do lots of rework later.
We ended the session with a short Q&A / reflection session about what the children have enjoyed so far, what they've found difficult and what they've learned. They've all enjoyed making their own games and most of the initial difficulties have been to do with finding their way around the Scratch interface. However, everyone who mentioned this also indicated that they are now finding it much easier and could point to how quickly they've progressed with the second project as evidence of this.
My plan for next week is to start with a little reflection on the program they've built so far - particularly the idea of using variables, scoping and the use of random numbers. This should help them understand what's going on and hopefully as a result they will all be able to do the 'Challenge' activities on the worksheet as well. Both the sessions so far have gone really well and it is great to see the kids are really excited about what they're doing. Running these sessions every Wednesday is fast becoming a highlight of my week!