This hour long computer science activity is ideal for grade 3 and up participants. Using an online tutorial, youth will explore block programming; improve their problem solving and creativity skills, and garner patience. Youth will create their own side-scrolling game, on Code.org’s platform called Flappy bird, and use code to change the visuals, the rules, and even gravity. Once complete, participants can share their versions with other participants and play the game on their phones.
- Block programming is a first step to learning code. Even students in universities will learn to code using block (also known as drag and drop) programming.
- Code.org encourages youth to build games using block programming.
- An “event” in computer science is any action triggered by a user or a timer in computer programming. i.e on a mouse click, on a key being pressed, or at a certain interval in time every event causes a corresponding action to occur.
- Typically, an event with also trigger a loop (a series of other events to occur repeatedly until a new event triggers it to end).
Introduction to Flappy Bird
To do in Advance:
- Send home the Codemakers Code.Org Sign Up form, so that participants can register for their own Code.org account which will let them track their progress and iterate their game after this activity. Otherwise youth can still participate but won’t be able to work on their games throughout the week or at home.
- Create a Google Document called Google Help Flappy Bird FAQ and update the share settings to “Anyone with the link can edit” (https://www.google.ca/docs/about/)
- Use Google’s URL shortener (https://goo.gl/) to create a shorterened URL of the FAQ that you can share with particiapnts.
- Project the following video and test sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ4lo6Huylc
- Ask participants who has heard of Flappy Bird. Check to see how many have ever coded their own version of Flappy Bird. (If many have, have them be “Google Help” for the remainder of the activity, that is when others need help they can ask for help like you could do by utilizing Google’s support desk.. To extend this further, have Google Help supporters document participant questions and answers and build their own FAQ google document that you can share with future groups using the document you created.
- Show participants the introductory video to Flappy bird from Code.org: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ4lo6Huylc
Code Flappy Bird – 50 Minutes
- Provide youth with individual access to: http://studio.code.org/flappy/1. Encourage them to sign in if they created their own account at home, or just begin using the game as a guest if they did not.
- Encourage them to work at their own pace through the 10 puzzles. Depending on your schedule and they’re sign-up access remind them that they can come back to this activity when they finish other activities, or can complete the activity again later at home.
- Remind participants that this isn’t a race, but a chance for them to build their skills and really learn to code, not just finish the game.
- Have youth visit one another’s computer stations so that they can see how their peers changed the visuals, rules, and gravity in their own games. .
- Tweet to @ActuaCanada with #Codemakers to share your game design with the Actua Network
Modifications and Extensions
- Participants can choose to work in partners.
- Campers have 1 hour and can come back to project another day.
- Instructors can review the video with participants upon viewing to check for understanding.
- Participants must work individually.
- Campers have 1 hour and can complete the activity at home.