Coding Classes for Children (Gr. 2-8)
These classes are built around Scratch, a project of the MIT Media Lab, which is a simple yet powerful programming language developed at MIT that uses color-coded blocks that appeal to young students. Scratch is the most popular language for young programmers, with about seven million users around the world.
Scratch Level I (Beginners): In this class, students ease into object-oriented programming concepts with Scratch , creating stories and interactive adventures with stackable code blocks! Students master the intuitive user interface of Scratch and learn the functions of the most important blocks, which beneath their friendly appearance represent important computer programming functions.
Kids think creatively and learn how to program their own stories, games, and animations, as well as how to share their creations on the web.
This course relies on a series of fun-filled projects. For example, your student may use Scratch to animate a character, tell a story, write a song, or even design a simple video game.
There’s equal emphasis on the mastery of tools and the expression of imagination. Each student’s instruction is differentiated according to his or her interests, learning style, and pace.
Scratch Level II (Intermediate): After an introductory course in Scratch, students should feel comfortable with the basic blocks and the ability to visualize their game progress from the initial concept to its final product. This level is meant to introduce the use of lists and custom blocks into the games as they become more complex and exciting. Also, many of the projects focus on more real-world topics and functions and tend to involve more math and logic. Some of the projects even allow the students to work with less direct instruction which encourages more problem solving and critical thinking. We are beginning to dive into the world of a programming with real-world applications with allowance for artistic freedom in their game design.
Scratch Level Expert / Intro to Web Development: In this advanced level class, we will be preparing them for text based languages by having students think about how real world objects can be represented in code (Scratch). Students will learn how object-oriented programming truly works by identifying an object's behavior and attributes and figuring out how to represent that in Scratch. Throughout the course each time they learn a new how to create a new object,
students are challenged to create a project (game or animation) that showcases that object. Objects/techniques include ( Dice Generator, High Score Techniques, User Input, Card Generator, Animated Start screens, Scrolling, Quiz Game, Mastermind Game (figuring out the right sequence)). In addition to creating independent projects, and learning the most advanced features of Scratch, students will be learning text based languages (HTML & CSS) and creating a web page portfolio for their final Scratch projects.
Python Classes (Gr. 5-8):
Python Level I (Beginners): Python is a powerful, expressive programming language that’s easy to learn and fun to use! Our Python for Beginners course brings Python to life and brings our students into the world of programming. Our instructors will guide students through the basics of coding with Python, as they learn how to design and program their own games.
In this course students will learn to:
Use fundamental data structures like lists, tuples, and maps
Organize and reuse your code with functions and modules
Use control structures like loops and conditional statements
Draw shapes and patterns with Python’s turtle module
Create games, animations, and other graphical wonders with tkinter
Python Level II: Python II will continue a student's journey into text based object-oriented programming. By adding graphics to the mix, students will code visual based projects using a module called processing. Students will learn how to code objects and see a graphical representation of that code. Starting with animations to creating games, students will learn how to make functions and create classes to ultimately complete a final project of their choosing. Students will also learn how to construct code on their own by learning how to create pseudo code.
*This is a class for Middle School students who have already taken Python or equivalent coding classes.
Introduction to Discrete Structures/Programming Logic: With 3-4 semesters of experience creating projects in Scratch, now we take a closer look at the math and logic concepts introduced in Scratch which are applicable to all programming languages. Students will be tasked with learning the "language of programming" by translating the symbols and code structure which they can apply to all syntax for the future. With fun exercises, riddles, and problem-solving techniques, they will have the ability to understand logic in the programming world implementing their basic knowledge of discrete math.
Smartphone App Development (Gr. 4 and older)
Yes, you read that correctly. Your child will program a fully functional smartphone app, using imagination and the MIT App Inventor software. This program uses color-coded blocks that snap together, avoiding confusing computer syntax. The course will emphasize logical thinking, knowledge of tools, self-expression, presentation skills, and collaboration with peers. No smartphone is necessary, but each student should bring a laptop computer to class. This course is a logical extension of Scratch. It’s appropriate for students who have completed the Scratch II or III course at AlphaMinds Academy or have similar experience.
*PLEASE NOTE: Each student must bring his/her laptop to each class!