Top three resources for running a vibrant Code Club 

Launching your new Code Club or resuming a club that has been paused for an extended time might make you feel a little apprehensive. That’s OK! Tamasin Greenough Graham, Head of Code Club, shares three resources that will help you run your Code Club with confidence.

A child and adult looking at a laptop screen.

Picking my top three resources is quite a challenge as we have so many to choose from! There is something to meet your every need. Please check them out on our resource page — it’s full of helpful materials like crib sheets to guide you through our projects, certificates, sample letters, and so much more.

Log in to your account, head to your dashboard, and scroll down to the resources section. 

Resource one: Club organisers’ guide

If you’re new to Code Club or are starting back after a break, the go-to document is our club organisers’ guide

This guide walks you through the important first steps you’ll need to plan and set up your Code Club with ease. It also acts as a brilliant refresher if you’re starting your Code Club after a break. 

Pages from the club organiser pack.

Resource two: First session guide

From your feedback, we understand that running your first session can sometimes feel a bit daunting, as well as being an extra task at the beginning of a busy term! To help with this, we’ve created a new step-by-step first session guide to give you everything you need in one place.

Based on the beginners ‘Space talk‘ Scratch project, you’ll find in the guide:

  • A session plan
  • Simple and practical advice to help your prepare for the session
  • All your preparation for the session has been broken down into small chunks
  • New activities to support your coders’ learning 

The NEW unplugged activities link to ‘Space talk’ and are great to hand out to coders who finish the project towards the end of a session, or as activities to try at home.

This guide makes the first session so easy to run. I know I will be using it to give me confidence that my first Code Club session back will be fun and have a positive impact on the learners. 

Front pages from the first session pack; running your first Code Club session, Create and colour, I spy and Space memory game.

Resource three: 250+ coding projects

Where to start? Well, that is easy, I promise! Our ‘3, 2, 1, Make!’ project paths are carefully designed so that as young people progress, they develop their coding skills as well as their independence to create projects that matter to them.

We have paths about Scratch, Python, Unity, physical computing, and how to get started with a Raspberry Pi Pico. Each path contains six projects that are guaranteed by our young testers to be great fun!

You can learn more about ‘3,2,1, Make!’ and the pedagogy behind these projects in this blog.

Bonus resource: Certificates!

I know this is my top three, but I couldn’t write this blog post without mentioning our certificates! 

Recognising success and achievements, however big or small, is such a vital part of Code Club. We’ve got a huge selection of certificates to celebrate everything from superstar coders to completing a whole project path. 

A selection of Code Club certificates.

We can’t wait to get back to Code Club and see all the creative projects from your Code Club members. Share how you’re getting on using the hashtag #MyCodeClub or by tagging us on Facebook or Twitter. If we see your posts, we might even send you some stickers!

Let’s get coding! 

If there is a resource that you’d like to see in our library, share it with the team and write to us at support@codeclub.org

Physical computing kits available for Code Clubs in England

From making your first LED blink to creating a musical instrument, physical computing can bring the ‘A-ha!’ moment into your Code Club.

If your Code Club is running within a school in England, you can hire a selection of physical computing kits from an NCCE Computing Hub for free.

Bringing the ‘A-ha!’ moment to Code Club

Physical computing helps club members to build connections between the real world and programming. By designing, programming, and making their own creations, young people get the opportunity to learn about microcontroller boards, LEDs, inputs and outputs, and so much more!  

The kits are designed so that you can get started straight away. No experience is necessary as you’ll have access to:

  • The Teach Computing guide to physical computing kits
  • Step-by-step projects
  • Our online FutureLearn courses 

What are the kits?

The physical computing kits are available from the 34 NCCE Computing Hubs located at secondary schools across England. The kits are split into trays by type of device, and each tray is suitable for teachers to get started with physical computing at different key stages:

  • Crumble trays – aimed at key stage 2
  • Micro:bit trays – aimed at key stages 2 and 3
  • Raspberry Pi Pico trays – aimed at key stage 4
  • Raspberry Pi 3B+ trays – aimed at key stage 4
This is what a Raspberry Pi Pico tray looks like

How can I borrow a kit to use at my Code Club?

If you’re a teacher in England, you can visit the NCCE Hubs webpage to find your local Hub, then contact them to find out what’s available to borrow. Each computing kit is generally available to use for up six weeks at a time. 

If you’re a volunteer, you can still access the free Teach Computing Curriculum to use in your club. 

I’ve hired a kit. How do I get started? 

The Teacher Guide to physical computing kits provides a detailed explanation of all of the equipment and components included in the kits. It also has information about free teaching resources and training. 

The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently launched two fantastic new project paths that your Code Club could explore with the Raspberry Pi 3B+ and Raspberry Pi Pico trays:

Each project has step-by-step instructions to help young coders and educators to learn and develop their coding skills together! 

Raspberry Pi Picos bring Python code to life when connected to breadboards and other electrical components

How have the kits been used?

More than two hundred trays have been loaned out since September 2021. Over 90% of teachers who have borrowed them say that they have used lessons and units from the Teach Computing Curriculum to teach with the physical computing kits, some during class time and others at after-school clubs, like Code Club. 

Ian Cartwright, a teacher from Belvedere Academy, a girls’ secondary school in Toxteth, Liverpool, borrowed a tray of Raspberry Pi Picos to use at his lunchtime club with a small group of 11- to 12-year-old students. Ian started with five students and that quickly went up to a group of ten when they started telling their friends about making the LEDs flash. Ian said, 

“[It’s] massively more engaging than programming Python on a screen — walking into a room with the box of kit grabs their attention straight away. They love the idea of building something physical, like a car. When the lights flash they ask whether they can take their phones out (but they’re not allowed to) so that they can show their mum and dad when they get home.”

Young people can build motorised buggies and bridges with the Crumble tray

Year 5 and 6 students from Purford Green Primary Academy in Harlow, Essex, told us about how they used Crumbles to make buggies drive around tables and control bridges to make them go up and down. When asked how using Crumbles compared with other computing activities, such as using Scratch, one student said, 

“I liked the Crumbles because it helped me develop my block coding and make my bridge move. I couldn’t do that on Scratch.” 

Bring the magic of physical computing into your Code Club and share your adventures with us on Twitter and Facebook

Cool and creative, meet Azmat the superhero from Kashmir

Azmat (16) is inspiring her peers to get involved in coding! Vasu, Programme Coordinator for Code Club India,  met with Azmat virtually to learn about her coding journey; her participation in Coolest Projects; and how,  as she gets older, computing features in her life. 

Code Club India member, Azmat.

Meet Azmat!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Azmat, I am 16 years old and I live in Sopore, Jammu and Kashmir, in India. I have been going to the Pi Jam Code Club which is held in my local school for 1.5 years.

What skills have you gained from attending Code Club? 

All our [Code Club] sessions start with a problem statement, and we use a problem-solving approach and then [we] use computers to solve it.

Now for any problem that comes to me, I do not directly jump to any solutions. I sketch [and] imagine a lot before creating anything.

What’s your favourite Code Club project and why?

I love the Scratch project Flappy parrot. It reminds me of simpler times, and all the kids in my area really enjoyed it when I made it. 

Tell us a Code Club memory (big or small) that you’re proud of?

When my project [Covid Helpline website] was selected for Coolest Projects, it definitely has to be that. 

My life kind of took a turn after that. I was called to the Red FM 93.5 office [a local Indian radio channel] for an interview! I cherish that memory a lot. It was my first time ever representing myself on such a big platform. 

Azmat at Red FM 93.5

Since the radio office was in Srinagar and I live in Sopore, it was also not easy to convince my parents to let me go for an interview,  but as luck would have it, I convinced them!  

How has coding and learning about computers benefited your life?

Learning about computers and computer programming has helped me to think creatively. 

When my project [Covid Helpline website] was selected in Coolest Projects, I got a lot of opportunities to share my experiences on various platforms, which boosted my confidence. 

Girls in younger grades in my school now look up to me and they also want to join Pi Jam classes!

Can you share why you decide to take part in Coolest Projects? 

I created a lot of projects with my friends and I was excited to know that I would get a chance to submit my creation with so many [other] students across so many different countries. 

What inspired your 2021 Coolest Projects idea? 

There were lots of people around my community suffering, facing the problem of not finding [COVID-19] accurate information, details about the right hospital, and the availability of different services. I wanted to help them, and decided to create a website.

How did you feel seeing your project featured in the Coolest Projects online showcase? 

I was so happy as I was one of many students from India who got a chance to share their experience online with so many people from across the world!

What are you looking forward to most about Coolest Projects Global 2022? 

I have already started preparing for Coolest Projects Global 2022, as I started around this time last year as well. I am focussing on my problem statement and I am excited to see how my project shapes up.

If someone was thinking about taking part in Coolest Projects Global, what would you say to them? 

It’s a wonderful opportunity, do not miss the chance!

Our last question! Looking to the future, how do you see computing featuring in your life? 

Inspiring more girls in my community to learn [about] computer science!

Azmat attends a Code Club run by the Pi Jam Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to equip children and educators in India with access to affordable technology and computer science education that fosters essential skills like problem-solving and design thinking. 

Be like Azmat and get involved with this year’s global online showcase.

Wherever you are in the world, invite your Code Club members to get creative and take part in Coolest Projects Global 2022!