Learning how to code is best done through a practical approach. The theory is important, as with every subject. But a student cannot learn coding just by learning the theory.
Not any project will do though. Kids Python programming projects need to be engaging, exciting and they should enable students to be creative. This is the best way to teach Python for kids.
At codetoday, our curriculum is delivered entirely through projects and the fundamental concepts are introduced through practical examples. The example below shows an early project that introduces children to some of the basic concepts in coding, including loops which we use to ask the computer to repeat things for us.
These animations make great projects as they are visual in nature and therefore students get to see the output of their code right away. Students can also be creative, and this is a really important part of learning coding. We don't want children to write a program by following a very prescriptive set up rules, like following a recipe.
Instead we want to give them a direction and some guidelines and they can use their imagination to complete the project. This makes learning both more effective and more fun.
Once the basics have been learnt, students can start putting them all to good use in a single program, such as the game you can see below. The code to write this game requires students to make use of loops, variables, conditional statements, function definitions and other key coding tools. Knowing how to use each tool in isolation only gets you so far. Being able to write a program like the game shown below, with many moving parts, is essential to learning how to code.
Students who want to be challenged further can take these concepts and use them in more complex Python projects. The animation below shows a scene that evolves with time, starting with a night time scene that changes to day as the sun rises.
Kids and teenagers need to be able to control what happens in a program, and when it happens. This is how all computer programs are written.
Not all programs are graphics-based, of course. Writing text-based programs is just as important to give a broad view of programming. With older students, coding can be combined very well with science subjects. This also shows coding being used in one of its most exciting uses: science. Here is a program exploring waves in Physics:
And a simulation showing planets orbiting a binary star:
What do learning coding and learning to play the piano have in common?
Learning coding is similar to learning a musical instrument in one, very important way. When learning how to play the piano, say, lessons with a teacher are not enough. No matter how many piano lessons a student takes, lots of practice is very important, essential even.
The same is true for coding. We encourage students to write lots of programs, and we help them to do so. Here are some more videos showing the outputs of programs our students choose to work on as they practise coding to learn more:
Join us on a weekly after-school course
Our next set of weekly after-school courses starts very soon. Book a place now