When Mossbank homes approached us to run a coding club during the summer holidays, we knew we could offer so much more. With a generous budget we were able to think about a competition based Hackday with some pretty impressive prizes, including an iPad Mini. BUT this wasn’t about bribing people to participate, they really needed to work for it.
With a background in community organising, we couldn’t let the opportunity to listen to young people attending the session to be missed. For this reason we set a Hack challenge.
Create a project on Scratch or Python that shows what you love about your community or what you would like to see changed.
We used a worksheet which gave an example – this can be found here: Community Charlie Worksheet
What did we do next?
(1) spent time with each young person (13 in total) to think about the questions and encouraged them to write answers or get their parents to help.
(2) work in pairs or threes to come up with a project about what they would like to change and create this in Scratch (some used Minecraft and Python but this was a bigger ask for volunteers).
(3) We were supported by a volunteer from Coderdojo. Coderdojos run across the country and worldwide. Despite only having one member of staff and a volunteer, we easily supported 13 people by adopting a rule of “ask 3 then ask me”. In other words (a) Google It (b) Ask the person next to you (c) ask someone else in the room.
We are currently trying to work out ways to upload some of the projects to this blog.
This is what people told us about where they lived: INFOGRAPH
What worked well
We saw 13 young people who hadn’t attended a coding club before. There was a positively high percentage of girls attending.
We filled the session before our flyers were even printed. Most people heard about it through Facebook and wanting to confirm by replying on Facebook.
We offered free lunch of hotdogs and corn on the cob.
We suggested that Scratch would be the most straight forward way to create their project.
We asked parents or adults to stay.
We asked Mossbank Homes, who hosted the session to judge the projects alongside us.
We analysed the data straightaway.
What we would do differently
We would stagger the start time. Maybe 5 people starting at 11am and 5 at 11.30 on so on.
We would ensure that all PCs had Minecraft on them. This gives people stuff to do when they want a break from their projects.
For more information about hosting an event like this please email firstname.lastname@example.org for support, advice or commissioning.