Five ways to inspire your club members about code!

Whether your Code Club is just launching or has been running for a while, here are five ways for you to get your Code Club members excited about coding

A young girl is sat in a classroom working at laptop. A female volunteer is looking at her laptop screen. Both are smiling!
A young Code Club member showing her code to a volunteer.

1. Make Scratch Cat say hi! 

Just starting out with new Code Club members? Christina from Code Club USA encourages you to begin with the basics:  

“We often forget that the simplest things can inspire folks — start with the basics! Show your Code Club members how to make Scratch Cat say hi, and then have them change what the cat is saying and encourage them to try and make the cat do a dance.”

– Christina Foust, Club Program Manager, Code Club USA

2. Be ready, inspiration is contagious!

Make sure you are the first one to be inspired: join us at a FREE online webinar and make sure you’re #CodeClubReady! Talk to our team from across the world, ask your questions, and find out what support we’ve got for you. 

An illustration with too robots, the Code Club logo and words, we are #CodeClubReady

3. Send your code to space

How cool would it be to have your own code run aboard the International Space Station? Your Code Club members can do just that with the European Astro Pi Challenge!  

The Astro Pi Challenge has launched with two missions.

  • Mission Zero: With the help of a step-by-step guide, your Code Club members write a very simple Python program that will run on the International Space Station and show a message for the astronauts there! This mission is a great introduction to Python for learners who want to move on from Scratch. 
  • Mission Space Lab: participants design and write a program for a real scientific experiment that has the chance to run aboard the International Space Station. This mission has four phases and runs over eight months. 
An illustrated image with the Astro Pi logo, two astronauts and the launch date details.

4. Encourage a show-and-tell 

Hold a show-and-tell session to celebrate you club members’ achievements! You can even invite your club members’ friends and family and teach them about coding by having the club members showcase what they’ve been creating and learning. If your Code Club is registered on our website, download certificates from your dashboard to hand out to your members at the end of the show-and-tell to make it really special. 

“A show-and-tell is a great place for your club members to share what they’ve learned and also talk about anything they found challenging. It leads to great discussions and encourages the other children to ask further questions.”

– Rohima Cooke, Code Club Regional Coordinator, South East 

An older ladies hands working on a laptop, drawing a person on the laptop screen.
A family member taking part in a show-and-tell session

5. Build your own game

Who doesn’t love to play games at home? Inspire your learners to create and code their own games. With our free step-by-step projects for Scratch, Python, and Blender, children can easily learn how to make games. You never know, you may have the next Tim Sweeney, game developer of Fortnite, in your group!

How do you get your Code Club members excited about coding? Share your ideas with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MyCodeClub.

Code Club ideas: friends and family sessions

Code Club Champion Mia Chapman has been running her club for two years now. Here she talks about a recent session she ran in which her Code Clubbers taught their friends and families how to code.

With the summer drawing nearer, it was time to figure out how to end our second year of Code Club with a bang! We all agreed that this year we wanted to do something a little different, and after a round of votes from everyone, it was decided: the Code Clubbers were going to run their own session to teach their families how to code!

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Together, we prepared, planned, and rehearsed until the big day arrived — and what a turnout! Our little computer room was full of mums, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and friends, all eager to see what the Code Club kids had in store for them.

First up, one of the Code Clubbers gave an introduction to our new members. In his very best game show voice, he told our visitors that we organised the event so that they could see “how cool Code Club is!”

Next, our teams of Code Clubbers gave what they called their “circus pitches”. We had given each team a programming language (Scratch, HTML, Python, Sonic Pi, or micro:bit), and now it was their task to convince the visitors to join their activity for the session. As it turned out, they were all so convincing that it was difficult to choose, but we had to give extra points to Team Python for closing with their “turtley amazing” pun!

After our visitors had chosen the programming language they wanted to learn, the session went by in a flash, with everyone getting stuck in and trying out some Code Club projects. The families were totally engrossed, and we even had a mum make us a thank-you card based on the HTML project Happy birthday.

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Of course we couldn’t end the year without an awards ceremony to celebrate everything our Code Clubbers had achieved, and we also gave a big thank you to our visitors for being resilient and diving in head-first. When the event finished, no one wanted to go home, and the parents finally understood why we struggle to get the kids to leave at the end of each week’s session.

Running a ‘friends and family’ session was a great way to celebrate the end of our second year and show off everything we’ve learnt without the pressure on our learners to have to present a project to a room full of people. Everyone had a great time, and it was fun for us volunteers to hand the teaching over to someone else for a change. We can’t wait to see what ideas our Code Club members come up with next!

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Share your stories with us!

Have you tried something interesting at your Code Club that you would like the community to know about? Tell us about it by emailing support@codeclub.org.uk or reaching out to us on Twitter or Facebook.

Mission Possible: Empowering the Future Generation of Girls with Coding

Dr. Aygul Zagidullina is a London lead for Google Women Techmakers, which is a programme that provides support and resources for women in technology. Aygul runs a Code Club at the Wembley Library in London, and she is passionate about promoting an equal gender balance at her club. Here she shares her advice on inspiring more girls to code.

We’ve all heard about the low numbers of women in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). According to a new study from the University of Washington, when given the chance to build a robot, six-year-old girls and boys have the exact same response — equal interest, equal confidence, and an equal amount of fun. Yet unfortunately, many young girls still believe that ‘girls aren’t good at computers’ and push themselves away from STEM.

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Aygul and her family attending a Code Club meetup

Is there any way to resist these perceptions? What can we do to show girls that they can be just as good at coding as boys can be? As Code Club volunteers, we are all doing our bit to help girls fall in love with computer science. We all have ideas on how to improve the gender balance in STEM, and I wanted to share five things we can do now to push things forward.

1. Start as early as possible

Young people today are engaged with technology from a very early age. Teaching computer science as early as possible has the potential to turn these eager consumers of technology into unstoppable creators of it. At Code Club, girls can learn coding from as young as nine, but if your younger daughter shows an interest in technology, you can always download the Code Club projects at home and work through them together. Let’s turn little girls into coding superstars!

2. Challenge gender stereotypes

Children learn more during their early years than at any other time in life. To tackle gender equality, I make sure my Code Club is free of stereotypes that might have a negative effect on how girls feel about programming.

3. Find female role models

All grassroots initiatives that have successfully attracted and inspired girls have one thing in common — the presence of female role models. When the volunteers running Code Clubs are women (especially women who use computer science in their jobs), the girls attending have someone to be inspired by and something to aspire to.

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4. It doesn’t have to be pink

Pink things are not needed to get girls excited about coding — being able to solve the issues they really do care about is what gets girls hooked on computer science. The Code Club projects are completely gender-neutral and give girls the opportunity to create games and solve problems in their own way.

5. Make coding fun!

While parents often worry about screen time, many educators now believe that using apps from an early age can be a great way to get girls interested in coding. Code Club is a space where children can learn an important life skill in a fun and exciting way that’s separate from the formal school curriculum.

I am extremely happy that girls have a fun and safe environment  — all Code Club volunteers have background checks — to learn programming thanks to Code Club and the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Inspire the next generation of coders

Do you want to encourage more young people, regardless of their gender, to get into coding? Then get a Code Club going in your school, or volunteer to help out at an existing club — head to www.codeclub.org.uk/register to find everything you need to get started today!