Astro Pi Mission Zero gives real-world coding experience to club members!

In December, we watched two brand-new Astro Pi units launch into space for the European Astro Pi challenge. They’re now on board the International Space Station (ISS) ready to run young learners’ Astro Pi Mission Zero code! 

What is Astro Pi Mission Zero? 

Astro Pi Mission Zero is an engaging beginners’ coding challenge, open to all young people under the age of 19 in ESA member and associate states.

Using the step-by-step instructions young people will write a simple Python programme, which will display a message to the astronauts on board the ISS using the Astro Pi units.

First-hand experience 

Teacher Sophie Hudson, from Linton-on-Ouse Primary School, shares her experience taking part in Astro Pi Mission Zero, and why the bespoke certificates caused excitement amongst her club members!

“Although it might look daunting, it is actually very manageable! I did complete it myself first so that I knew what to do and had got my head around it. The instructions were very clear and helpful, making it manageable step-by-step.

Make sure you emphasise the real-world impact the activity has – their work is actually going into space!

The certificates were also a big excitement as they were interested to find where on the ISS their code was run.”

Educator, Sophie Hudson

Conversations on space

Our fascination with space is universal! Astro Pi Mission Zero gives young coders real-world experience, whilst supporting curriculum learning outside of the classroom.

Inquisitive minds are able to explore space science first-hand, asking questions that matter to them. Educator Ruth Laird from St Paul’s Code Club in York, has had just this experience: 

“It makes them more aware of what sort of things happen on the International Space Station and lets them be a part of it too. The excitement on the kid’s faces when you tell them that their code will actually be run there is unbelievable. 

Projects like this open up other conversations too. I had kids asking me how the astronauts go to the toilet and what they do with the waste!”

Get ready for blast off

Here are five things to remember before you head to space with Astro Pi Mission Zero:

  • You don’t need special equipment or coding skills
  • Register your club to take part in Mission Zero 
  • Plan one to two sessions in the new term to complete your mission
  • Club members will receive a special certificate showing exactly where the ISS was when their program ran
  • The closing date for entries is Friday 18 March 

Connect with the Code Club team on Twitter at Code Club UK or Code Club World and let us know how your coders get on with Astro Pi Mission Zero!

New year, new resources! Welcoming well-being in 2022

Here at Code Club, we’ve been talking about our New Year’s resolutions. Like many people around the world, our focus this year will be on our health and well-being.

In this blog post, we’ll be sharing how we plan to look after ourselves, each other, and you — our amazing Code Club community! Spoiler alert: It involves three new resources for you.

As we welcome 2022, we want to talk about what we can do to look after our mental health this year. Focusing on good mental health is an excellent New Year’s resolution and it ties in brilliantly with Children’s Mental Health Week, which takes place next month (7–13 February). 

Last year, the team got active to help our physical and mental well-being. We put on our walking shoes to take part in a virtual walk from London to Delhi that took 12 months and 14,251,903 steps! We also had a go at yoga and practised mindfulness to help us stay healthy.

To help us continue with our well-being mindset, we’ve been thinking hard about how we can support the health and well-being of our clubs in the coming months.

NEW well-being project collection

Following the success of our project collections in 2021, we are excited to launch a new project collection all about health and well-being. Each project has step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow to help young coders and educators to learn together and develop their coding skills! 

The Relax and stretch project is an ideal beginner Scratch project. Your coders will motivate people to stretch and exercise regularly throughout the day. 

Your confident coders can work on our Mandala project to create beautiful images by repeating geometric symbols. This is known to be a relaxing and mindful activity, and your young people can make their own mandalas in Scratch with this project.

Mandala Scratch project

And there’s more!

Our NEW Scratch and Python word searches are now live. We hope that your young coders enjoy them as much as our team did! These resources are not only great offline activities, but also encourage mindfulness and a moment of calm for coders in the classroom. 

So whether you are coming back to Code Club after a break or simply want to focus on well-being in your club this term, check out these new resources.

If you’re based in the UK, the USA, India, or Ireland, head to your dashboard to download these three new resources. If you’re based outside of these countries, head to our Code Club International website and find the collection and word searches inside your Club Organiser Pack.

Your Code Club highlights from 2021!

In 2021, even with the ongoing impact of coronavirus, we’ve seen many amazing achievements taking place in Code Clubs across the world.

Our clubs are able to run because of the thousands of volunteers who give their time to help young people learn to code. Thank you to everyone who has been involved with Code Club in 2021!

We reached out to Code Club educators and asked them to share their personal highlights and tell us what they are excited about for 2022. Find out what they said and join us in celebrating another fantastic year of coding!

Getting back to in-person sessions

Cubitt Town Junior School Code Club is run by Rhodri Smith, and they’ve just resumed their club activity with support from BP volunteers. In 2022, Rhodri is excited to use more Raspberry Pi projects, help members code with micro:bits, and introduce Python to the club! 

“After a long period without Code Club, we are excited to renew our partnership with BP. It has been a difficult time without in-person sessions so there was an excitement to begin them again. Spaces for our Code Club were snapped up by students eager to join the club. Having BP support Code Club has been great and the children benefit from greater adult support. We are looking forward to trying new projects in the year ahead.”

Delivering sessions in Welsh

Marcus Davage is the club organiser for Ysgol Treganna Code Club in Cardiff. He started to run his new Code Club in September and has enjoyed using our Welsh-translated resources on the website.

“This term, I started a brand-new Code Club in person at the school at which my wife teaches. She helped me, caught the Scratch bug (pardon the pun), and has now taught three classes herself. Over 120 kids have had an introduction into coding through her and me this term.”

Collaborating to create something awesome 

Kevin Johnson from Code Club USA recently took a virtual trip to Delmar Code Club. He wanted to learn more about their club and the Raspberry Pi–powered, fully-functioning arcade cabinet that the young coders have created. You can discover more about Delmar Code Club in our blog post.

Exploring the natural world through code

Liam Garnett, Senior Librarian (digital) at Leeds Libraries has been a Code Club educator for four years. He reflected on everything the club has achieved this year and all the exciting plans for 2022!

“I have loved collaborating with libraries, museums and universities to help our Code Club kids to explore the natural world through coding. Having Milo from Leeds Museums bring along his electron microscope he’d borrowed from the Natural History Museum was amazing! It was the first time it had been used outside of London.”

“In 2022 we are looking to re-establish our Code Clubs that paused during lockdown and then get cracking on some projects from Code Club UK!”

Reaching 150 young coders

We caught up with Mrinmoy Pal, a Code Club educator for Curious Coders, based in Bangalore, India, to hear what the club has been getting up to since it was launched in 2020. 

“Curious Coders Club started during Covid in March 2020 with just three kids using Scratch in an apartment. And in 2021, around 150+ kids across US, Canada, UK, Australia and India have benefitted. Kids [have] learnt Scratch, Python, Java, web development, micro:bit and app development. Apart from the coding sessions, kids [have] also learnt Rubik’s [cube] and had [a] Q&A with scientists (microbiologist, astronomer, and climate scientist).”

Going green for Code Club 

Code Club’s Lorna Gibson went green for COP26 and helped 5750 schoolchildren in Scotland join the code-along to learn about the environment. Find out how they got on in this special blog post.

Do you have a cool 2021 highlight from your Code Club? What are your coding resolutions for your club in 2022? Share them with us on Twitter or Facebook, using the hashtag #MyCodeClub.