Club members make micro:bits into lucky charms

On an island off the eastern coast of Canada, one Code Club has been getting creative with micro:bits. Club leader Michelle spoke to us about the benefits of bringing code to life with physical computing.

Random Island Academy Code Club

Code you can hold

At Random Island Academy Code Club in Hickman’s Harbour, Newfoundland, club members have recently been making the jump from block coding with Scratch to physical computing.

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, the club coded micro:bits — microcontrollers that can be programmed to do tasks such as lighting up LEDs and measuring temperature — and put them inside shamrocks made of card and paper. Students coded the micro:bits to display lucky messages using the skills they had learned in their club. Some students even made interactive games as part of the project.

Creating ‘ah-ha’ moments

Club leader Michelle thinks that there are a lot of benefits to encouraging children to learn to code.

“I really love the ‘ah-ha’ moments, when it clicks and the student experiences success in their code. They work so hard, fail, try again, and again, and again, and when they finally get it, the happiness in their eyes and the smile on their faces tell me it is worth every minute of volunteering my time.”
– Michelle, Code Club leader

Moving code from a screen and into the real world has also had an impact:

“The students really put their problem-solving strategies to task as they work through this project. They are finding coding micro:bits much more rewarding than simply writing code on the computer. The fact that they have a tangible piece [of technology] holding their very own code astounds them!”
– Michelle, Code Club leader

Random Island Academy Code Club with their micro:bits

Got micro:bits? Get coding!

If you have micro:bits and want to use them in your Code Club, then head on over to our micro:bit projects for ideas. If you’ve been inspired by the Random Island Academy Code Club, you could start with our Fortune Teller project and adapt it to display your own lucky messages.

Share your creations with us on Facebook and Twitter — we’d love to see them! To find out more about Code Club in Canada, visit

Code Club and CoderDojo: which programme is right for you?

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is proud to run a range of youth programmes all over the world, including the largest network of coding clubs in the UK. These programmes include Code Club and CoderDojo, which both support volunteers and educators to create coding opportunities for young people.

Code Club and CoderDojo

Code Club and CoderDojo are part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a UK-based charity.

Both programmes support free coding clubs, for young people to get excited about coding and digital making. In the club sessions, young people use guided projects to make animations, websites, games, and more!

Barrow Hill Code Club

“It’s a place to go to learn really cool coding activities and make friends. I’ve got a chance to try things from Scratch to drones, and even how to live code music with Sonic Pi!”
– Aoibheann, 11, CoderDojo member, Ireland

CoderDojo is for young people aged 7 to 17. Sessions are led by volunteers, and are typically run at the weekends or in the evenings in libraries, community venues, or offices. CoderDojo sessions are open for the whole community to enjoy.

Code Club is for young people aged 9 to 13. Clubs are led by teachers, either by themselves or with the help of volunteers. Clubs are usually run in schools as after-school clubs for the pupils of that school to attend.

Creating spaces for children to learn

Together, Code Club and CoderDojo reach 238,000 children each week across 160 countries. Both programmes are working to engage more girls in coding; we estimate that 40% of young people attending Code Clubs are girls, and that 33% of young people attending Dojos are girls.

How the two programmes differ

How you can help

Can you make a difference in your community by starting or supporting a Code Club or a CoderDojo?

“This is one of the most popular clubs we offer in school. The children who attend really enjoy improving their coding skills, and their knowledge during ICT lessons is noticeably better when they’ve attended Code Club!”
– Kate, Primary school teacher, UK

Both programmes offer great opportunities, and you don’t need a background in coding to get involved— just a willingness to learn some basics! We provide free training and resources to help you on your Code Club or CoderDojo journey.  

CoderDojo in action

If you would like to set up a CoderDojo in your community, check out our guidance on how to start a Dojo, or email

If you are a teacher looking to start a Code Club in your school, we will support you to set up a Code Club. Are you looking to volunteer at Code Club? We can help you too.

How a ZX81 inspired a creative coder

Twelve-year-old Dan Powell was first introduced to coding on a ZX81. Nearly 40 years later, he is now Programme Manager for Code Club.

Find out how Dan’s early days of coding influenced his career, what his current coding project is, and how he is now sharing his love of coding with his daughters.

It all started with a ZX81

When I was 12, my parents bought me a ZX81 for Christmas. I spent hours in my bedroom in Essex copying lines of BASIC from the pages of Sinclair User, but once I had my Computer Science O level, my computing education stopped.

Jump forward to several years later, and my career took me into the arts as a sound artist. My early years experimenting with my ZX81 allowed me to see a computer as a great creative resource.

Dan performing as a sound artist
Photo credit: Agata Urbaniak

As a sound artist, I was always looking at ways to write my own instruments and build special effects.

I started to feel confident to try out different programs, which included FruityLoops, Ableton Live, and AudioMulch, and then I started to use Pure Data in early 2000. This opened up many doors in my creative journey, along with building some basic interfaces with the support of the Pure Data community.

Fast forward to 2015

I joined the Code Club team in 2015, where I support the Code Club regional team, and help to build the awesome community of Code Club volunteers and people who host clubs.

At Code Club, we always say that whether you’re an experienced coder or an absolute beginner, volunteering at your local Code Club is a great way to expand your digital skills. I have met many volunteers who are still learning to code, but share their skills to inspire people to get involved in digital making.

Dan with some of the regional team he supports

A lifelong learner

I am continuing to learn, and at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we’re encouraged to keep learning by attending regular Maker Days held in our offices.

Every month, staff get together to code, build, and make. I work on different projects — sometimes I try out a project that the Content Team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation is working on and would like feedback on. Recently, I’ve also been trying to learn how to design my own printed circuit board, and during Maker Days, I have been able to get support from colleagues who have more experience than me.

Encouraging my daughters to code

I’ve been passing on some of the skills I’ve learnt to my daughters. I help run the Code Club at their school, and my eldest daughter took part in Astro Pi Mission Zero and has helped out at a Raspberry Jam that I’m involved in. She even ran some drop-in sessions on coding in Python!

Who knew that being gifted a ZX81 as a twelve-year-old boy would lead to all of this?

Dan with his daughter learning to code

Could you inspire the next generation to code? Code Club has a range of volunteer opportunities, and remember, you don’t need to be a coding genius to get involved!

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