Another Kind of Coding Challenge

Adventures in Running an After School Coding Club

Posted by Holly Krambeck on July 1, 2022 Image Source

During the pandemic, my daughter and I experimented with using the BBC Microbit -- kind of like a Raspberry Pi, but for kids. The Microbit comes with a bunch of super fun sensors -- light, sound, magentometer, accelerometer, temperature, etc. -- and a tiny 5x5 LED display. To program it, we used a drag-and-drop block coding language called MakeCode. We made all sorts of wonderful contraptions, including a fruity organ and a remote-controlled car. 

Once the kids returned to school, I wanted to keep the fun going but realized we'd need to make it a social activity to really stick.  So, I organized a coding club -- MicroMakers -- for my daughter and her 4th and 5th grade buddies. I reserved a beautiful meeting room in our MLK library, and each week, I would prepare slides and a maker project for the kids. Sometimes we mixed it up by making scrappy circuits, using Scratch, trying real python, and playing Robot Turtles. Always there would be time to dance around to our MicroMakers playlist:

It was so much work! And sometimes the kids really struggled with bugs. And sometimes I had to drag myself to the library. And yet, the club became the absolute highlight of my week, bringing me joy and great pride. I learned a ton, the kids were into it, and after each meetup, the parents would take the kids to a nearby park, where we would have pizza and drinks together, leading to new friendships all around. 

In case you may be interested in doing something similar (recommended!), here is a Link to all club materials (slides, Lab notebook, handouts). 🥰


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