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.

Make Code Club part of your summer school plans! 

Code Club provides the ideal in-person enrichment activity for a summer school, providing fun projects to build skills and confidence around coding concepts, along with important well-being needs. It’s also a great way to form friendships and feel part of the school community.

We share three key essentials, plus a NEW Summer of Sport activity to make sure that your summer school Code Club is a success! 

Make it fun!

Code Club is a fun, informal learning space, where young learners have the opportunity to explore and get creative together with code! Learn what topics and programming languages your coders are interested in, then take a look at our free step-by-step projects where coders are introduced to key coding concepts. 

North Ayrshire Council run Code Club summer schools, this is what they had to say: 

Just go for it. It’s going to be super fun. I mean, who doesn’t love Scratch? Don’t make it formal, it’s not school, it will be loud and a lot of wondering about with the kids seeing what each other is getting up to. And you don’t have to be a coding expert, Code Club has loads of excellent resources. 

Looking for that first fun project to work on at your summer school? Then why not create some noise in Scratch with ‘Rock band’! Learners will explore how to use code to change a sprite’s costume, make a sprite react to an input, and add sounds! 

Head outside

We know that being active helps us to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. Take your Code Club offline, head outside, and try these Raspberry Pi projects to explore coding concepts and computers! 

Computers in the real world: go for a walk and notice how technology interacts with everyday life. 

Pixel art unplugged project: club members learn how computers create and store images and how to use (x,y) coordinates. 

Compass coding: follow codes and compass directions to get back to camp!

Celebrate achievements 

Make time within each session for a show-and-tell, giving learners the opportunity to celebrate their projects and share their new skills together.

Celebrate everyone’s successes and download a Code Club certificate from your club’s dashboard. Think about sharing your achievements with the school community through a newsletter — young coders could even help write this! 

Could you use this great idea from North Ayrshire Council?

At the end of each day we encourage members to put a post on the wall about what they learned that day or what they most enjoyed.

On your marks, get set, go! 

To help you off the starting blocks for your summer school coding activities, dig out your tracksuits and participate in our Summer of Sport activity! We have handpicked six Scratch sport-themed projects, including a favourite ‘Beat the goalie’ to help you get started! Find out how your club can get involved.

Get in touch and let us know how you plan to use Code Club as part of your summer school activities. Remember to share your achievements with us on Twitter at Code Club UK or Code Club World using the hashtag #MyCodeClub! 

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!