We’ve had a busy six months running our brand new Games Development Workshop at a number of primary schools across the UK, and we thought we’d finish up the academic year by sharing with you how we helped one primary school in the UK get to grips with coding.
On Monday 20th July, we visited Glebe Primary School, based in Ickenham, part of the London Borough of Hillingdon.
Glebe were keen to engage and involve two year five classes, so we worked with almost 60 pupils throughout the day.
Working with each class, we presented and discussed games and game design with the classes, breaking down the thought process when creating games, and showing what skills and ingredients go into making the games they played. Each group had a chance to come up with their own gaming ideas, and present them to the rest of the class who could offer suggestions and ask questions.
In the second half of the workshop, we deliberately broke some of the code behind Pancake Panic, a game we recently developed and released. We then taught the pupils some coding fundamentals that would help the pupils fix the game.
Using their game ideas, and the broken Pancake Panic game, we taught them some coding basics that would help them to create their own games and to fix Pancake Panic. Working as a group, each pupil had the opportunity to work on fixing the game using code.
Although the pupils had used Scratch before, this was their first time with a real-world coding language, and they all absolutely took to it, fixing the game with help from each other, and very little help from us.
We then had time for the pupils to collaborate and create a brand new power-up to go in the game. They were full of some really exciting ideas (many of which we may add to the game over the summer) but we settled on adding a mouldy strawberry that makes it rain heavy balls of pancake dough for ten seconds. It’s a really cool game mechanic that compliments some of the power-ups that other schools we have worked with have added.
The children were so engaged and supportive of each other, that it was an absolute pleasure to teach them. Every single one of the 60 pupils took part in the workshop, and contributed to the Pancake Panic code. As they all played games themselves, they were excited and enthusiastic and paid attention during the entire workshop, and they all went away with a good understanding of coding and how it works.
At the end of the day, pupils from the first class had created some trailers for their game idea during their own time, and told me that they all really wanted to make their games and take coding further. Many of the pupils would like to pursue a career in apps and games development, and asked for advice on what steps to take next to learn more about coding.
We’ll be sending the school the source code for Pancake Panic so they can get deeper into coding, and we are delighted that the pupils had such a great day, and we are hoping to return to the school in early 2016.
We will also be updating Pancake Panic on the app stores, with the new power-up from Glebe. This will happen next week, so keep an eye on http://pancakepanic.com for news of that update.
If you would like to find out more about our Game Development Workshops for Primary and Secondary Schools, please visit https://codecreated.com.