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From crashing planets to analysing word frequencies in Pride and Prejudice: a typical half term week


18 February 2018

This half term has been our busiest on record, with courses across all age groups and across all Levels. Our introductory courses had been mostly fully booked since early January.

We welcomed a large number of boys and girls or all ages, starting from 7 year olds all the way to teens getting reading for their scholarship applications for senior school or for their GCSEs.

Some were new students while others were CodeToday alumni who came on our Level 2 courses which extend and expand on the Introductory courses.

The amount of projects we worked on across all courses has been impressive.

Here are a few highlights from the Level 2 courses for returning students:

A group of 8-12 year olds were asked to use their coding knowledge and their creativity to come up with a game. They chose to crash planets into each other, or into the sun, by changing the planet’s orbit and speed. Here’s my attempt at playing it below:


It’s not that I’m bad at playing games but the change in speed and orbit had a random component to it (they didn’t want the game to be too easy) so it’s harder than it looks. A few of them even coded in hacks so that they could impress their friends with scores above 10,000!

For out older age groups on Level 2 courses, the focus for this half term was on applying programming for Maths and Science.

Their first task was to simulate a tennis ball bouncing around the room, having to think about decomposing the ball’s movement into horizontal and vertical components and getting gravity to act on the vertical one. Some had fun changing the laws of physics too which is very easy to do in a computer program, of course.


We also crunched some data by reading the whole text of Pride and Prejudice (using Python’s read() method on open files of course, after all the children were here for coding not English literature!) and compile a list of all the words in the book and how often each one of them appears in the book.

Dealing with data from the real world (in this case the text of a book) is an important application of programming in today’s world.

[En route to our final goal, some students had a bit of fun replacing text and creating alternative versions for P&P, such as replacing all occurrences of 'and' with 'but not']

Here’s another aspect of the analysis: what is the frequency of words categorised based on their length? Have a look at the graph below.


Now that half term is over, we resume our daily after school courses with our bespoke groups. CodeToday never stops…

Final word: thank you to all the CodeToday team who did a brilliant job as always. Half term weeks are always very busy but it wouldn't be possible without our great instructors and the team behind the scenes.

#science #physics #codingforchildren #HalfTerm

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