archcoder

Taking Nerd Life balance one day at a time.

Kid Gamification - Day 3, the Finale

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As I sit here listening to the TRON soundtrack I recognize that the flashy code of movies like TRON, anit-trust, hackers and the like have changed the ideal picture of what coding something looks and feels like.

I have to admit, Hollywood makes slamming out bits look cool and easy – not nerd cool like node.js or mongodb but more like socially acceptable “teen” cool like eating Pringles, drinking mountain dew or jolt and getting away with “something.” Right now I am snacking on Pringles and drinking mountain dew – the propaganda worked!

Though my boys haven’t seen those movies they are familiar with the “hacker” architype of a guy mashing keys having code fly across the screen to save the world from total meltdown! So, as I expected we hit a productivity wall with the “code” part of this project.

Needless to say here is my 6 year old’s first lines of code:

    public Earth(){    
        super(750, 750, 1); 
        addObject(new Turtle(), 0,350);
        Greenfoot.playSound("mnhaon.mp3");
    }

and the 4 year old’s in the Turtle class:

public void act(){
    moveLeft();
}

It took us roughly 30 minutes of them typing (20 minutes) and going through the greenfoot API docs by themselves (10 minutes) to get that done. At this point and time they saw a turtle run left across a white screen and they were done, shutdoor. I expected this so I did have a back up plan….

Making media for the game: They spent the remainder of or time making trucks, turtles, backgrounds and recording sounds for the game. I wrote the remaining code and added some snips from Michael K├Âlling’s blog.

What we learned:

  • Making games together can be fun and we can actually get something enjoyable done in a short period of time.
  • Greenfoot is a great platform for new developers and there are others out there such as: Alice, Kudo, scratch and others, so there is really no excuse to not teach your kids if they are interested.
  • My boys were too young (6 and 5 years old) to code. Kind of obvious but I really wanted to see where they were at as far as logic thinkers - I was impressed with there ability to articulate what they wanted to do all I had to do was write the code

The bits:

If you have time please let my boys know what you think about their project, I know they’ed love to see your comments and thoughts, they worked really hard and I am super proud of them for doing all that they did and trying as hard as they did. Related posts: kid gamification – planning, kid gamification – day 1, kid gamification – day 2