Coding for primary schools

Teaching primary school pupils how to make their first game.

The thought of teaching your pupils computer programming probably sounds rather daunting. But it’s happening, successfully, around the country, and Chaos Created Code Workshops are a great way to introduce computer coding to primary school pupils, and secondary school pupils.

We’ve been running coding workshops all over the UK and Ireland over the past year and a half. Recently, we’ve been working closely with schools and organisations with a focus on pupils with special educational needs and pupils with behavioural or mental health difficulties.

 

Engaging SEN pupils and children with behavioural or mental health difficulties with programming 

Computer code makes everything happen on computers, phones, games consoles, tablets and even daily appliances such as washing machines, as well as embedded systems in cash points, in-car systems, and more. Everywhere you look, code is making our lives happen! Our coding workshops have been helping pupils and teachers all over the UK and Ireland to start coding apps and games.

In our recent work with Nightingale School and Cambian Spring Hill School, we have delivered our Game Development workshop with pupils aged 8-14. These schools work with pupils with autism and related conditions as well as students with a wide range of difficulties including complex needs and challenging behaviour. One common theme that emerged from our workshops, and impressed the teachers and parents, was how much these students engage with the subject matter of our coding workshops. They all play, and enjoy, videogames and mobile games, and so the barrier to entry is incredibly low. Their ability to learn coding is strengthened by their desire to understand how the games they play work.

We found that students that struggle to engage with traditional subjects were keen to get hands on with coding, and learn how to put together a simple game. The workshop also heavily promotes teamwork and collaboration, and videogames and mobile games provide a common ground for these pupils to discuss and work together. Students that typically didn’t get on would bond over conversations about their favourite games, and became incredibly supportive of each other during the hands-on coding sessions, as we built a game together.

Teaching coding puts children in control of the computer and lets them turn into reality the amazing and creative ideas they have, whilst mastering concepts such as logic and consequences. At the same time, skills learnt during programming workshops and coding sessions carry over into other subjects, and likewise the reverse is true. Maths, for example, is critical to programming, and artistic and design skills play a massive part too! The pupils were learning subjects they didn’t think they enjoyed without even realising!

Nightingale Community Academy

Nightingale Community Academy, London

I teach at a special needs school for boys aged 5 to 19 with SEMH (Social Emotional Mental Health). When looking for ICT workshops, I came across Chaos Created and thought this would be great for our pupils, especially as they are all very familiar with playing computer games!

I contacted the Chaos Created team, and explained everything we needed in detail. We discussed how the day would run and how best to engage our students. We agreed on two half-day workshops for Years 5, 6 and 7, where the children would learn the basics of coding, and then work on fixing a game called “Pancake Panic” using the skills they had been taught. They would then create their own game, which would be uploaded onto the app store for them to play in the future.

The morning workshop was held for the primary students, while the afternoon session was for our Year 7 pupils. Both groups found it very engaging and look forward to transferring what they have learned to their ICT lessons.

All students are continuing to play the game they created, and they’re very good at it! I hope from this experience that they will consider game design as a possible career path. It was important to me that they see the process behind the games they play and use their imaginations to create a game themselves.

The students told us that they enjoyed the workshop. I am positive that they will continue to create and develop games of their own.

Angelina Morello Head of Faculty for Maths and ICT, Nightingale Community Academy, Tooting, London February 11, 2016

The above testimonial was given in an interview with FundEd Magazine.

 

Our workshops

Teaching programming with visual coding tools

Teaching programming with visual coding tools.

We teach programming, and the concepts of coding, to primary and secondary school pupils. Using the right approach, actual coding can be accessible to children as young as seven.

We begin by using visual programming languages and tools that allow children to explore coding with drag-and-drop “coding” so children can program without having to write a single line of script. We then go from there, learning coding language fundamentals and move on to building a game! In our Games Development Workshop, students build and develop a working mobile game in a day, using a real programming language, which they can show off to their family and friends! We run sessions with the BBC micro:bit too!

Pupils love seeing their ideas come to life, so quickly, and it encourages them to want to learn more. When we get into the coding sessions, we use the devices the school use, so children can continue working on their projects, long after the sessions are over.

It is vital to engage children at a young age. The skills they can learn through programming not only translate to other areas of the curriculum, but also teaches new ways of thinking and approaching problems. The career opportunities that will open up later in life will be invaluable.

 

Want to learn more?

Chaos Created Code provides workshops for primary and secondary school pupils, as well as teachers!

We teach the principals of coding and app development, developing ideas into apps, and actual coding techniques. Our workshops are geared for primary and secondary school pupils, and we run workshops for teachers too.

Get in touch with us!

Give us a call on 0845 299 0714 or drop us an email.

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