Getting the ball rolling

You understand the x4 Principles of Coding and that there is code, and there is Sexy Code, how do you actually start teaching students how to code?

I start by giving my students some code to copy.  Copying code gets students used to the environment, makes them realise they have to be accurate, but more importantly gets them up and running fast – and this is important to keep engagement.  I use famous computer games as my challenges as most students like games.

After students have a working game they can then modify the code by adding extra bells and whistles.  This is extending their skills, how much depends upon their abilities or perseverance and is what can be used to assess.

The challenges I give my students are:

  1. Pong
    • Enables the discussion of the x4 Principles and introduces Sexy Code
  2. Space invaders
    • Extends learning from Pong enabling students to apply their new knowledge
  3. Flappy cats
    • Enables the introduction of sub-routines

Challenge 1: Pong

Challenge 2: Space Invaders

[Coming soon]

Challenge 3: Flappy Cats

[Coming soon]

Next: Providing challenge, assessing code, promoting independence