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

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


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


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

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.

Virtual Merit Badge

2014 Maker of Merit Badge

CoderDojoDC is proud to have been singled out with a "Maker of Merit" award for our booth at the 2014 Silver Spring Maker Faire, and we thought it would be nice to share the badge with everyone who helped out. So to all our helpers, here's a virtual badge that you can copy and post on your webpages and blogs.

See you next Sunday at the Elks' Lodge in Rockville!


Thanks for a Great Maker Faire!

Thanks to everyone who came out on Sunday (09/14) to help, or just to visit, our booth at the 2nd Silver Spring Maker Faire! The event was a great success, thanks to all the hard work of our volunteers, especially the kids who did such an outstanding job teaching others about binary numbers. Not only were we able to spread the word about our club and generate a lot of interest from vistors to our booth, we were also one of only a handful of exhibitors to receive a "Maker of Merit" award from the event organizers — another testament to the fantastic job our members did with their teaching and outreach activities! Great job everyone!

We are looking forward to our next meeting (9/28), which will resume on our regular schedule (every second Sunday, 3-5 pm) at the Elks Lodge in Rockville. The meetup site has full directions and other logistical details. See you there!

Join us at Maker Faire Silver Spring!

We won't have a dojo on September 14th, since we'll be at Maker Faire. Admission is free and it's at our former meeting location at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Stop by our booth where we'll be showing off projects and running a coding activity.

Maker Faire Silver Spring

Interactive Fiction!

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.

Sign up at