CoderDojoDC is part of the global CoderDojo movement of free coding clubs for young people.

Python Table

Once you've gotten to know core programming concepts in Scratch, a good next step is to try some Python. Python is a great language for new programmers because it is versatile and powerful, yet relatively easy to learn.

There are many great resources for learning Python online. Here are a few to check out:

  1. https://www.python.org/about/gettingstarted/
  2. http://learnpythonthehardway.org
  3. http://www.codecademy.com
  4. Python for Kids, by Jason R. Biggs (http://www.nostarch.com/pythonforkids): some free content available on the No Starch website -- you can also check out a copy from your local library.

Another good way to learn programming is by modifying existing programs. In our Python interest table, we are working on a "flashcard" program that quizzes the user on the state capitals. You can modify download and modify this program from our club Github repository.

Cool CoderDojoDC Animation

Thanks to Bryce Peterson (aka Pecacheu) for making this really cool animation for our club!

Twine

Twine

Remember Zork from the 80s? Choose-your-own-adventure books? Interested in writing story-like games that your friends can play?

Learn how to combine your story ideas with programming with our introduction to programming interactive fiction. Melissa Ford will show everyone how to get started with Twine, a very simple program that grows with the programmer's abilities.

The introduction will be about fifteen minutes long. Chris Klimas, the inventor of Twine will be joining us as well and helping out as a mentor! After the intro we'll break as normal into groups for further work/play with interactive fiction, Scratch, HTML and Minecraft hacking.

Update: Chris posted to his blog about our meeting.

 

Happy 2015!

 __  __                                        
/\ \/\ \                                       
\ \ \_\ \     __     _____   _____   __  __    
 \ \  _  \  /'__`\  /\ '__`\/\ '__`\/\ \/\ \   
  \ \ \ \ \/\ \L\.\_\ \ \L\ \ \ \L\ \ \ \_\ \  
   \ \_\ \_\ \__/.\_\\ \ ,__/\ \ ,__/\/`____ \ 
    \/_/\/_/\/__/\/_/ \ \ \/  \ \ \/  `/___/> \
                       \ \_\   \ \_\     /\___/
                        \/_/    \/_/     \/__/ 
   ___       __      _  ______  __     
 /'___`\   /'__`\  /' \/\  ___\/\ \    
/\_\ /\ \ /\ \/\ \/\_, \ \ \__/\ \ \   
\/_/// /__\ \ \ \ \/_/\ \ \___``\ \ \  
   // /_\ \\ \ \_\ \ \ \ \/\ \L\ \ \_\ 
  /\______/ \ \____/  \ \_\ \____/\/\_\
  \/_____/   \/___/    \/_/\/___/  \/_/

Happy New Year from CoderDojoDC! We are looking forward to many fantastic new projects and adventures in coding this year. In addition to our bi-weekly meetups with our regular Minecraft, Inteactive Fiction, and Scratch interest groups, we have the Pawelbot robot project, another visit from the Nao robot, an upcoming App Inventor introduction, continued collaboration with the Codestarter charity that supplies laptops to young coders, and many more great things on the horizon.

We look forward to seeing you at our 2015 meetings!

 

Hour of Code at 1776

CoderDojo NOVA

Our partner Dojo, CoderDojo NOVA, is hosting an Hour of Code (actually two) at Transit Labs @1776 in DC on 12/14 from 1-3 pm. They've invited us, too. Hope to see you there.

See the meetup for RSVP info and CoderDojo NOVA's Hour of Code site for more details.

 

Python ASCII Art

            ____          _           ____        _       ____   ____ 
           / ___|___   __| | ___ _ __|  _ \  ___ (_) ___ |  _ \ / ___|
          | |   / _ \ / _` |/ _ \ '__| | | |/ _ \| |/ _ \| | | | |    
          | |__| (_) | (_| |  __/ |  | |_| | (_) | | (_) | |_| | |___ 
           \____\___/ \__,_|\___|_|  |____/ \___// |\___/|____/ \____|
                                               |__/                   
                    _    ____   ____ ___ ___      _         _   
                   / \  / ___| / ___|_ _|_ _|    / \   _ __| |_ 
                  / _ \ \___ \| |    | | | |    / _ \ | '__| __|
                 / ___ \ ___) | |___ | | | |   / ___ \| |  | |_ 
                /_/   \_\____/ \____|___|___| /_/   \_\_|   \__|

At our next meting (Sunday 11/23, signup and full details on Meetup), in addition to our usual tables for Scratch, Minecraft/Scriptcraft, Interactive Fiction with Twine, and Arduinos, we be starting up the Python interest group again with an activity on creating ASCII Art in Python. What is ASCII art? The short answer is that it is a way of creating pictures or art using only the typographical characters on your keyboard. One common modern equivalent would be the emoticons you may have seen in emails or text messages, like this smiley face :-). Another example is the figlet banner above. There were even arcade games created exclusively with typewriter characters (my personal favorite was one called Ladder, which was very similar to Donkey Kong, but with platforms made from equals signs, and barrels made from lowercase letter 'o's. Some additional examples were posted by mentors Dave K. and Frank H. on the mailing list (if you are not a subscriber, we invite you to check it out!). In short, ASCII art was a way of expressing visual creativity before computers had much in the way of graphics capabilities, and even today it can still be a lot of fun.

If you wish to participate in the Python ASCII Art table, please try to install Python on your laptop before the meeting. The latest version of Python 3 is best, but any Python will work. If you have a Mac or Linux machine, you almost certainly have Python already, but if you have Windows you'll need to install it. If you run into difficulties, there will be mentors who can help at the meeting.

 

RaspberrySTEM is visiting CoderDojoDC

RaspberrySTEM

We'll have two main activities at our next Dojo. First, Brian Silverman from RaspberrySTEM will be bringing RaspberrySTEM Creator sets to our meeting and teaching everyone how to use GPIOs, LEDs, and buttons to Raspberry Pis! And, back by popular demand, we'll have more interactive fiction programming. For those who missed our first interactive fiction meeting, we use a program called Twine to write our own choose-your-own adventure web pages. If your son or daughter likes to write, this is a great introduction into computer programming.

See the meetup for more details.

 

Nao Programming

Bartholomew

Thanks to Bryan Hays and everyone who attended our Nao programming meeting. Between dancing and avoiding, the Nao was pretty busy. We'll see if he can come back in the future.

 

MaKey MaKey Next Meeting

The theme for next meeting is MaKey MaKey, so bring yours or use one of ours to make something new and creative with your Scratch, Scriptcraft, or any of your projects. RSVP at http://www.meetup.com/CoderDojoDC/events/206879452/.

Turtles and Fractals

We went from turtle graphics to fractals all in one meeting. Whoever said that you couldn't create fractals in Scratch was wrong. They weren't fast, but we had a lot of fun drawing patterns using Scratch while waiting for the Mandelbrot fractal to finish.