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.

Code Club Iraq is helping learners dream big with code!

Dr Nadia Al-Aboody is the driving force behind Code Club Iraq, she’s been empowering Code Club children and educators since 2016. 

Educator Zahraa and young coders Alaa, Haneen, and Yusuf tell us about the positive impact that Nadia and Code Club has had on their lives.

Dr Nadia Al-Aboody

Dr Nadia Al-Aboody is a lecturer of computer science in Maysan, Iraq, a dedicated Code Club leader, a Raspberry Pi National Partner for Iraq, and an advocate for women and girls in STEM. She tells us:

“When I was a little girl I didn’t find a mentor to help me with electronics, I only heard voices saying I won’t make it. This is why I now mentor girls and female trainers in our Code Club. I want to give them a chance to grow.”

Nadia has been involved with Code Club for five years and is a real role model for many girls and women in Iraq. 

Alaa is dreaming big through code! 

Meet Alaa, aged 10! Alaa joined Nadia’s Code Club in 2020 when she started to dream big with code!

“I want to be famous when I grow up, the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from being a Code Club member will help me achieve my dreams!” 

Code Club is a great space to spark the imagination of young people, to encourage them to explore ideas that interest them, whilst developing their skills. This was one reason why Alaa wanted to join Code Club: 

“At the end of the project, I will see something I have made and it will help me make other projects with new ideas!”

If Alaa was to offer any advice to new club members, she says that you should give it a go as you are guaranteed to have a “really fun time there” — thank you, Alaa! 

Alaa at Code Club

Developing transferable skills 

Zahraa is an electrical engineer and is currently studying for a Master’s in computer engineering; she is affectionately called Nadia’s ‘right-hand woman’! She has been a Code Club volunteer for two years. Zahraa tells us: 

“What attracted me to Code Club is that the team supports children of different ages, and teaches them how to rely on themselves, as well as the basics for programming and logical thinking. 

The training from Nadia has helped me a lot, even outside of club-based activities, and I have been able to use the skills I developed from volunteering at Code Club in other areas of my life too, like public speaking, delivering training, communications and public relations, logical thinking, and of course, coding! 

I would really advise anyone who is thinking about getting involved with us at Code Club to absolutely do it. It’s one of the most rewarding things I have done.” 

Code Club educator, Zahraa

Code Club is supporting future career paths 

Nadia and the team have created safe spaces where children are able to explore coding and discuss future career paths. 

Haneen (14) and Yusuf (10) are siblings who attend Code Club. Haneen has always been excited by programming, but since coming to Code Club, she is now thinking about choosing it as her field of study at university. 

Yusuf wasn’t sure what he wanted to be when he grew up, but his Code Club experience has made him sure that he wants to become a games programmer. 

Haneen shares her coding skills in this Code Club Scratch project; have a go and see how you get on! 

Code Club Iraq

To find out how to start your own Code Club, head to www.codeclub.org if you are based in the UK, India or the USA or to www.international.codeclub.org if you are based outside the UK.