Grandparents know best! Learn what inspired Bhakti’s Coolest Projects idea.

Coolest Projects ignites curiosity and creativity amongst young coders from across the globe. 

In 2020, coding superstar Bhakti (13) from Pune, India, entered Coolest Projects. She shares with us her first-hand experience of creating her Scratch game ‘Save Animals’.

Gaining real-life skills

Bhakti (13), lives in Pune, India and regularly attends her school’s Code Club supported by the Pi Jam Foundation. Bhakti is new to coding and when she learned about Coolest Projects from her teacher, she saw it as an exciting opportunity to develop her coding skills. 

I never knew that we could do so much with computers apart from emails and playing games. I never knew that I could make my own game.

That was very powerful for me. I found programming to be so much fun and that I was gaining a real-life skill, which will help me and my family in the future.”

Grandparents inspire an idea!  

Bhakti’s grandparents regularly told her stories of the local area around Pune being densely populated with trees and animals, with the community growing and selling their own vegetables. 

During her lifetime, this was something that Bhakti had never experienced. She had witnessed the impact of hunting and how the consequences of this practice had changed the area and the animals that live there. 

The increase in hunting in her region was the inspiration for Bhakti’s 2020 Coolest Projects entry. She wanted to raise awareness of hunting and created a Scratch game called ‘Save Animals’, where players can protect animals by stopping hunters.   

Screenshot of Bhakti's Scratch project.
Blue sky, green hedges and a hunter firing a gun into the sky.

Designing a game on a mobile device

‘Save Animals’ was fully designed and coded on Bhakti’s father’s mobile. This presented several challenges, from access, to time on the phone, and not having enough ‘hunter’ themed sprites in Scratch! 

Bhakti nearly gave up, but her grandma encouraged her to continue and even helped with her idea creation. 

A GIF of a forest setting with wild animals moving across the page and hunters shooting at them.

Bhakti’s three tips on taking part in Coolest Projects

  1. Don’t overthink — plan and execute! 
  1. Share your ideas with your teacher or parent, they can help you find ways to solve the problems you encounter. 
  1. Participation is more important than asking yourself “whether I can do this or not?”.  

Proud to be part of a global showcase

Bhakti was proud to be part of Coolest Projects, along with other young creators around the globe.  

“I never imagined that I could be part of a global challenge. My school teachers were very proud of me, it did take some time to explain to my parents the importance of challenges like these, which gives global exposure to kids my age.

I am glad I convinced my dad to share his phone with me!”

Bhakti loved being involved with Coolest Projects, so much that she’s participating again this year, to develop her coding skills even further.

Good luck to Bhakti and to all other young creators working on their Coolest Projects ideas!

Join Bhakti in Coolest Projects 2021! 

Idea registration is now open for Coolest Projects! Wherever you are in the world, invite your Code Club members to get creative and take part in this global technology showcase. We can’t wait to see the amazing things they create.

Take time out and try the NEW ‘Look after yourself’ Scratch module!

Last month, a brand-new Scratch module was launched called ‘Look after yourself’.

This module has six projects based on wellbeing, which will get children making digital games, interactive animations, and apps!

Let’s try the projects! 

Our colleagues at the Raspberry Pi Foundation have been trying the projects. Find out how they got on: 

Relax and stretch is based on an exercise routine project that I worked on with my 11-year-old son during the lockdown. We tried a few exercise apps and videos but none of them did exactly what he wanted so he decided to write his own. That’s the great thing about being able to code: you can make stuff that’s useful to you.”

Tracy Gardner, Content and Curriculum Manager 

Relax and stretch

“My daughter developed a love of puzzles during the summer, so when we came across Focus on the prize, naturally, she couldn’t wait to try it out. We’ve had great fun in both doing the project and challenging members of the family to complete the challenge.”

Darren Bayliss, Programme Coordinator, Code Club Ireland

“Being 9 years old can be hard, so when my son was feeling a bit ‘funny’ about life, we opened the laptop and tried out the Butterfly garden project. It was the perfect distraction and he had such fun making it. I loved that he was worried about the butterflies flying all the time so extended the project by coding some rest breaks. Apparently, ‘it is important to take breaks’!”  

Lorna Gibson, Programme Manager, Code Club 

Butterfly garden

“I recently moved and now live far away from any woods or hiking. I love the Serene scene project because I can code what I miss most about the outdoors: trees, animals, and forest sounds! I can even add rain sounds, which always helps me to relax. I think for my next scene, I’ll have to add some snow :)” 

Christina Foust, Club Programs Manager, USA

A new certificate 

To celebrate this module, we have designed a new ‘Look after yourself’ certificate to recognise children’s achievements.

If you’re based in the UK, the USA, or Ireland, head to your dashboard to download your copy of the ‘Look after yourself’ certificate. 

If you’re based outside of the UK, the USA, or Ireland, head to our Code Club International website to download the certificate. 

Digital Making at Home

The Digital Making at Home team has created a fun range of videos to support young coders to follow this module. If you like, you could use these videos in your online sessions, or send them out as remote activities.

Tell us how you get on with the new module and share your finished projects with us on Twitter at Code Club UK or Code Club World and use the hashtag #MyCodeClub.

Be inspired by Code Club Canada and their response to the pandemic

Head of Code Club UK and Ireland Lucia Manzitti has been finding out how Code Clubs around the world are keeping kids coding during the pandemic. Recently she spoke to Maddy Bazett, Program Owner of Code Club Canada.

Getting Code Club Canada online!

When schools and community spaces started to close across Canada, Maddy and the team knew they needed to rise to the challenge. They wanted to make sure that kids attending Code Clubs could keep coding from home, and that others new to coding had the opportunity to have a go!

The team’s quick reaction enabled them to set up free online Code Club sessions within the first week! At first, they were launched as a public drop-in model, but this was soon adapted to attendees having to preregister for a school term. Code Club Canada set up six coding sessions and a final sharing session both in English and in French, to offer support to learners speaking either language.

Lucia was interested to know how parents reacted to the change in sign-up, from public drop-in to preregistration, and the more structured content: 

“Parents appreciated the structure and what to expect from the next session. Knowing the details put parents’ minds at ease, they could now count on something consistent. As weeks went by we noticed that there were repeat children and parents attending the sessions.” 

An online session explained 

Every session is hosted on Whereby, and has a facilitator instructor and a moderator to monitor members’ questions and chat. This team comes from KCJ, a bilingual Canadian charity whose mission is to give every Canadian child access to digital skills education, and who support Code Club Canada with their mission. 

Lucia asked Maddy how they planned their sessions:

“We needed some structure, instructors needed to know what to prepare and it made sense for us to utilise the Code Club curriculum and the progression of a programming language through a module.” 

The young learners mainly work on Scratch and Python projects as the experience is entirely within the computer. Maddy shared that from the 17 March to 14 May, members have spent a total of 763 hours coding online with Code Club Canada! 

Members try out the Code Club Rockband project in Scratch!

How did learners adjust to an online experience? 

A live online Code Club provides a different learning environment for members compared to an in-person club. While before members were used to buddying up with a friend to work through projects, they now work online, independently, and sometimes with a parent. 

Facilitators shared how learners had become more dependent on the step-by-step instructions, and got used to working on a split screen and switching tabs. With time, they became more confident, interacting with the facilitator, sharing their screens, and using their mic to ask questions. 

An online Code Club still provided an opportunity for young coders to share their cool projects with their peers. But rather than their peers being from their school, they were often from a completely different part of the country.

“We have heard back that kids are very excited when a club member is from another part of Canada and are in awe and ask: ‘How are you here, from somewhere else?”

Even in these strange times, Code Club is still helping people to connect. 

A message from Maddy on setting up an online club 

“Definitely try it! Even if you start with one online club or post pre-recorded sessions for your community to use and engage with. I think people are very appreciative in this time of free, fun and accessible content that kids can spend time on, especially when it’s educational.

And potential future volunteers gain confidence in seeing how a session is run (and that it isn’t so hard!) before they commit to starting one themselves.”

If Code Club Canada has inspired you to set up an online club, we have lots of resources to support you. Take a look at our club guidance or listen back to the community call series. 

To keep up-to-date on Code Club Canada, you can and follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page.