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.

Using code to raise awareness of fire safety!

During National Fire Safety Week (4–11 October 2021) in Ireland, Dublin Fire Brigade, Code Club, and our sister network CoderDojo joined together to launch the #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge across the whole island of Ireland.

Young people were invited to take part to raise awareness of how we can protect ourselves and our homes from fire, by creating educational Scratch projects.

Headquarters of Dublin Fire Brigade

When Dublin Fire Brigade approached Darren Bayliss, Programme Coordinator for Code Club and CoderDojo Ireland, about running a #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge across the whole island to highlight the importance of fire safety with our network of clubs, we were excited to collaborate on this important issue!

“Young people never fail to impress us here at Dublin Fire Station with their enthusiasm and ingenuity with any task in front of them. Fire safety and firefighting is what we do here in the Fire Brigade. But fire safety begins at home, through education and prevention, and that’s why we asked young people to take part in this challenge and help us with our fight against fire.” 

– Dennis Keeley, Chief Fire Officer, Dublin Fire Brigade

Challenge launch 

The #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge was launched at the headquarters of Dublin Fire Brigade on 8 October and ran for six weeks. It was open to all Code Clubs and CoderDojos across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Young people were invited to create a Scratch project related to fire safety. We asked them to include themes such as smoke detectors, electronics safety (e.g. charger safety), candle safety, closing doors at night, having an escape plan, and the number to call in an emergency. Coders worked on their projects individually, and entries were judged in two age categories, ages 8–11 and 12–17.

“At a time when many of our clubs are still paused and teachers are under a great deal of pressure, this Scratch-based #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge was a great way for those who would normally attend clubs to still feel connected whilst expressing their amazing creativity through code.” 

– Darren Bayliss, Programme Coordinator, Code Club and CoderDojo Ireland

Amazing projects

We saw 51 project entries fly in from Code Clubs and CoderDojos across Ireland. 

“With the ongoing coronavirus-related restrictions in place across Ireland, causing many clubs to still be paused, I was delighted to see that this didn’t stop young people from accepting the challenge, getting creative with code to explore the important topic of fire safety.”

– Tamasin Greenough Graham, Head of Code Club

Before we announce the winners of the #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge, here are two projects that the team enjoyed! 

Stop, drop and roll

This one made me smile. I love the idea of fire safety from the perspective of the fire!”

– Kat Leadbetter, Community Manager, Code Club
Fire safety – help keep Fearg the Fire away!

The voice-over in this Scratch project shares some excellent fire safety advice in a very clear way. Well done!”

– Zoe Davidson, Programme Coordinator, Code Club

The winners

With 51 fantastic project entries received, a panel of judges from Code Club, CoderDojo, and Dublin Fire Brigade had the tough task of choosing six winners!  

The winners all showed great coding skills and creativity around raising awareness and exploring the topic of fire safety.

Dublin Fire Brigade generously provided the amazing prizes of Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer Kits for the young people who had created the winning projects within each age category.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Age category: ages 12–17

1st: Maryem – Playing With Fire – CoderDojo Midlands 

2nd: Sean – Fire Duck – Coláiste Chiaráin 

3rd: Keisha – Fire Safety – Marymount National School, Ballsgrove

Age category: ages 8–11

1st: Andrei – ‘Fire’ – North Offaly CoderDojo

2nd: Oisin – Fire 6 – Rathineska NS

3rd: Matey – Fire Safety – CoderDojo Midlands

Take a look at all of the participants’ amazing Scratch projects in our ‘Fire Safety Week Coding Challenge’ Scratch studio. We’re already planning our coding challenge with Dublin Fire Brigade for 2023, so watch this space! 

Bring out the spirit of collaboration in your club with Delmar Code Club!

We took a virtual trip to Delaware, USA to catch up with Delmar Code Club and learn about their experience so far as a new club!

For Delmar Code Club’s co-leader, Daniel Rice, the impetus to start this club was his science education fellowship and a nudge from his professor to “do something”.

Mr. Rice’s answer to that “something” was to start a Code Club in October of last year. He partnered with co-leader Peter Burnham, the engineering teacher at their school, and together they envisioned what is now Delmar Code Club. 

Photo credit: Mr. Mark Connelly

Mr. Burnham firmly believes that “coding is the future” and even though he came to the club with very little coding experience, he felt that their club had “the right mix of people to get everything together”. 

That mix of people consists of seven students, all bringing their own unique skills to the club. Their names are Sam, Logan, Christine, Ben, Eagan, Julianna, and Jackson. We were very lucky to get the chance to hear from both Julianna and Jackson about their experiences alongside their club leaders. 

Julianna has been coding on her own since the 5th grade and shared that she had been looking for coding opportunities in school for a long time when she was encouraged to join Delmar Code Club.

Jackson, on the other hand, has been interested in engineering since the 6th grade. “In our high school, there was never really any kind of class geared towards engineering aside from Mr. Burnham’s class,” he said. “I was excited to hear that there was a Code Club coming up and wanted to try it out.” 

Kicking off the code with Python

To start, the Delmar Code Club met virtually and began working with programming languages like Python and the Turtle drawing library, which resulted in a snowflake designing contest where the students tried to beat Mr. Burnham.

“We had the community vote on which one they liked the most,” said Mr. Rice about the outcome of the contest. “All the kids actually beat Mr. Burnham.”

The club continued exploring other projects under the instruction of Mr. Rice and Mr. Burnham until one particular project prompted Jackson to ask his club leaders if they could take it to the next level. What started as them programming a game using Python’s Turtle library ended up becoming a fully functional arcade cabinet run by a Raspberry Pi computer that can play just about anything they wanted.

Collaboration at its finest!

This is where the true collaborative spirit of Delmar Code Club began to blossom. Some students, like Jackson, took to designing the build of the cabinet itself while others, like Julianna, focused on the code. Everyone had a skill to offer and was also willing to learn something new in order to complete this project. 

Photo credit: Mr. Mark Connelly

When he initially heard about Jackson’s plans, Mr. Burnham said, “I definitely thought it would’ve been too hard, but it really didn’t turn out to be as bad as I would have figured.” Mr. Rice agreed, and said that he was determined to keep an open mind and to never tell his students “no” when they brought their ideas to club sessions. 

“I was a little bit scared when Jackson said we could build this,” Mr. Rice said. “But with Mr. Burnham being a great builder and Julianna being a great coder and Jackson taking the reins, we got it done and I think we have a fantastic piece.” 

To celebrate the club’s achievement, they held a go-kart racing game competition that was open to the entire school, which was a huge hit.

Looking ahead with Delmar Code Club

The future of their club holds many exciting things: 3D printing, a robot derby, and even more game design. For a club that’s only in their first year, Delmar Code Club has accomplished so much, all while navigating the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic.

With such a small group being able to complete so much, it goes to show that anything is possible so long as you have what Mr. Burhham would describe as “kids who want to do the work”. 

If you’re thinking about starting a Code Club or even relaunching a paused club, know that even with the limits we’re all facing, you still can accomplish many exciting things. Mr. Rice’s advice? “Just keep going as far as you can!”

Visit our website today for more information on how you can get a Code Club started near you!