A sneak preview at what to expect from Code Club this September!

With the new term approaching, we ask Tamasin Greenough Graham, our new Head of Code Club, to share some details about the new Code Club resources and support available to you this September. 

A fresh set of club organiser resources! 

We’ve launched our brand-new digital Club Organiser Pack, which is bursting at the seams with seven new resources to support you this term! 

The club organisers’ guide is full of useful tips to help you feel confident running your club sessions. Have fun with the Code Club bingo card, and celebrate your #MyCodeClub success stories with our NEW educator cards and GIFs designed for your social accounts! 

If you are based in the UK, Ireland, US, or India, you can log in to your dashboard to download the pack. If you’re based somewhere else in the world, just head to our Code Club international website

Head to space from your classroom this term 

We are celebrating World Space Week (4–10 October) with a collection of space-themed projects to inspire your space-mad club members on the topic of space! 

There’s something for everyone, from new coders to the more experienced. Check back on our blog later this month to find out more.

Book a chat with us! 

Do you run a Code Club in the UK or Ireland and have any questions about getting back to Code Club this term? We are on hand to help! Our support help calendar has slots available throughout the week for you to book a video chat with a member of the friendly team.  

Run your code in space 

In September, join us to celebrate the launch of The European Astro Pi Challenge, an ESA Education project run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. 

It offers young people the opportunity to conduct scientific investigations in space by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers on board the International Space Station (ISS).

There’s something extra special about this year’s challenge, so assemble your crew, and count down to blast off! 

Building your confidence 

Soon we will be launching new project path crib sheets to help build confidence around our projects. They will help you learn key coding terms and common sticking points, to get you Code Club ready to run your sessions. 

These crib sheets will launch in mid-September. Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for the announcement! 

Join our Gender Balance in Computing programme

Starting a Code Club in England this term gives you the opportunity to join our world-leading Gender Balance in Computing research programme and help us understand what inspires young people to study computing at school! There’s no extra work involved and you’ll get your hands on 12 weeks of resources for your club as well as a FREE book Computer Coding for Kids by Carol Vorderman as our way of saying ‘thank you’! 

Sign up and join GBIC today!

We’re here to support you and your Code Club — no question is too small! The team can be contacted at support@codeclub.org. If you have a success story, we’d love to hear what you’ve been up to! 

Online tips to blast into orbit with Astro Pi Mission Zero!

Astro Pi Mission Zero gives young people the opportunity to blast their program into space and send a message to the astronauts on board the International Space Station. 

With many of you supporting young people to learn to code from home, Ruth from The Mount School Code Club in York shares some tried-and-tested tips for taking Astro Pi Mission Zero online. 

What is Astro Pi Mission Zero? 

Astro Pi Mission Zero is an engaging challenge to write a simple Python program that will run on the International Space Station. The code will run for up to 30 seconds on one of the two Astro Pi computers that are on the space station. 

Step-by-step instructions are available to help young people take part in this year’s challenge, which involves measuring the humidity in the Columbus module and displaying a colourful message on the Astro Pi’s LED matrix for the astronauts to read!

It can be completed in person or as part of an online session. Entries can be submitted either individually, or as part of a team of 2–4 young people. 

The closing date for entries is Friday 18 March and Astro Pi is open to ESA Member States, as well as Slovenia, Canada, Latvia, and Malta.

Two young girls with long brown hair sat facing a laptop at a table. In the corner of the image an animation of of a astronaut is giving a double thumbs up.

Ruth’s top tips on delivering Astro Pi Mission Zero online 

Code Club educator Ruth has helped her club go into orbit with Mission Zero. Read her four top tips to make sure you have a smooth mission from online classroom to space! 

1. Show them where their code is going to run 

Engage the kids in the project before they start writing any code. I showed them a Raspberry Pi with a Sense HAT and we watched the video at the start of the project so they could see the Astro Pi computers onboard the space station. Take a look at Google Street View of the ISS, and see if you can find them on board! 

It helped them realise that the code they were about to write was actually going to be run in space!

2. Teach them the underscore (_) key! 

Kids are now used to typing on a computer, however, there are some keys that we use in code that they may not be so used to. For example in the Astro Pi project, the underscore key (_) is used often.

An astronaut in onboard the International Space Station and is pointing towards the Astro Pi's.
The Astro Pi onboard the International Space Station (Image credit ESA)

3. Fixing bugs together 

To help fix a bug, I’ll ask them to share their screen and make their code font larger on Trinket. Everyone benefits from this, as all the kids can see the problem and learn from it. Coders often help each other rather than me helping them, which is great and I always encourage this.

4. Take your time 

Astro Pi Mission Zero can be completed in one session, but we took our time and completed the project in three sessions. We used the first session for setting up, explaining the project and working on the scrolling message to appear. The second session was about investigating how to get the picture to appear, and the third session was using the sensor to read the value and to respond differently depending on the value it’s received.

Ruth’s last piece of advice:

“[At] each small step in this project I’ve seen the kids’ faces light up when they see their code working how they wanted it to and now that they know their code is actually going to be used somewhere it makes them feel even prouder. I’ve had comments from parents saying it’s the most engaged they’ve seen their child in a long time.”

My Code Club is paused

If your club is paused, we have a step-by-step video to guide coders through Mission Zero. You can share the video link and they can blast their code into orbit from the comfort of their own home! 

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! 

Five things to get excited about with Code Club in 2020

We asked Lucia Manzitti, Head of Code Club UK, to tell us five things that she is excited about Code Club in 2020! 

It’s a great mix of opportunities for young learners, skill development for volunteers and educators, and the new Code Club book of Scratch… yes, a new book! 

1. Coolest Projects is back! 

Coolest Projects, the world’s leading technology fair for young people is back for 2020! It is one of our favourite events to attend, we love meeting the Code Club community and marvelling at the amazing digital making skills on show! 

Coolest Projects recognises the effort and creativity of young digital makers who take an idea and make it a reality. Join us and share your Scratch animation, website, game, robot, or anything else you’ve built with technology.

Register your project or idea today! 

2. Send your code to space 

I’d love to be a child again so I could take part in the  European Astro Pi Challenge and have my code run on the International Space Station! 

The mission is open to young people aged 14 and under in Code Clubs in ESA Member States, and in Slovenia, Canada, and Malta.

To take part in Astro Pi: Mission Zero and have your code run on the International Space Station, members have to write a simple Python program; use a step-by-step project guide to take a measurement of the temperature and display a message to the astronauts aboard. 

You have until Friday 20 March to complete the challenge!

3. New year, new skills! 

I have set myself the New Year’s resolution to develop my computer science skills. I will be looking at the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s 25 FREE courses on FutureLearn to inspire my learning, from an introduction to Python, and how computers work, to share a few. 

Join me and find a course that suits you

Code Club meetup at the Raspberry Pi store in Cambridge

4. The results are in… well nearly! 

At the end of 2019 we ran our global Code Club survey. Thank you to the 1423 Code Clubs from around the world who took part and shared their feedback. 

Over the coming months, I will be working with the team to review the feedback and look at how we can make Code Club even better for you! I look forward to sharing this with you. 

5. #MyCodeClub 

We love to hear about your Code Club projects and to celebrate your work, we’re introducing a new hashtag #MyCodeClub! We’d love to see you use this when you share anything about your club on social media. 

You can follow Code Club UK and Code Club International on Twitter — make sure you tag us in your posts! 

If we especially enjoy your post, we may even send you some swag!

Along with launching #MyCodeClub, we will be running more exciting global competitions, developing new resources to support your club, and launching the new Code Club book of Scratch later this year! 

If you’re in the UK, USA, or the Republic of Ireland, head to codeclub.org to find out how you get involved with Code Club in your community. If you’re based in the rest of the world, visit codeclubworld.org to learn more.