IMG_4391Last week, we visited Leigh on Mendip First School to work with their pupils, introducing them to game development and teaching them how to get started with coding.

The school itself was absolutely lovely. Pupils are organised into two classes. Reception and Year 1 children are taught in Owl Class whilst Year 2, Year 3 and Year 4 children are taught in Eagle Class. The staff were incredibly welcoming, and the children were so enthusiastic.

We took Year 3 and 4 in the morning for a half-day workshop, and then Year 2 in the afternoon.

The majority of our coding workshops are run with Year 5 and 6 classes, as well as secondary school pupils, but our new Games Development Workshop is a great way to engage children of all ages. Every child in the class played videogames or mobile games and so they had a reference point which made teaching some basic coding fairly easy, despite their young age! Being able to relate programming with the games they played helped them to understand how code works.

Each of the half-day workshops began with an introduction to games and coding, followed by a short design challenge. Pupils were encouraged to work in teams and come up with a simple idea for a mobile or console game and then share their ideas with their friends. They could draw characters, levels and write the instructions for the game. The purpose was for them to really think about how games work, and for them to break down the components of a game before we got hands-on with code.

During the second session, we then began to look at coding. Using the pupils’ ideas as reference points, we looked at coding fundamentals such as variables and functions. We learnt how to move and animate objects, change their size and rotation, and code if and while statements that could make a simple game work. By referencing their own game ideas as examples, they could start to see how they might go about bringing their ideas to life.

We spent ten minutes or so looking at some drag-and-drop code to illustrate the thought process behind coding, before quickly moving on to writing code using real world programming languages – JavaScript and C#.

During the final section of each workshop, we looked at Pancake Panic – one of our own games available on Windows, Android, iOS and Kindle Fire. We showed the pupils the working game from the app store, and then version which we broke! After they had identified all of the broken elements, they then used the skills the pupils had picked up throughout the first two parts of the workshop to fix the game. Every pupil had the chance to contribute some code to the game. We always approach this activity as a group exercise. Pupils work in pairs, and take it in turns to write code, whilst the rest of the class helps, offering suggestions as to the approach to take or the code to write.

By working as a group, and with the support of their friends, every single child had the confidence to write some code to fix the game. We then had time to write a new power-up for the game too, which the pupils loved, making the game more exciting and challenging. They could then download the game onto the school’s iPads and compete for a high score. Seeing the results of their hard work was wonderful.

The latest version of the game is available to download, with the new code the pupils from Leigh on Mendip First School.

We hope that we have inspired the pupils to do some more coding in the future. It was so impressive how quickly they took to coding, and also how supportive the pupils were towards each other. We achieved so much in a short amount of time. It was also impressive how the Year 2 pupils, many of them aged six, achieved as much as the older pupils, and as much as many of the Year 5 and 6 classes we’ve taught.

We look forward to working with the school again in the future.

 

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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