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Computer Science week with Python in Pieces

Nov. 30, 2020

Computer Science education week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hooper; this year the week runs from December 7th-13th. Python in Pieces would be a perfect resource to use for #CodeWeek. Transition your students from block-based coding to Python with guided lessons, open-ended activities and the ability to translate block-code to Python in both directions.

The annual program is dedicated to inspiring students to take an interest in computer science and develop and nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities, you can find out more about the hour of code and the activities for this year here.

Python in Pieces and Computer Science Education Week

Python in Pieces is a perfect resource to use for #CodeWeek.  Winner of the 2020 ERA award for Secondary products, Python in Pieces is an interactive coding environment, designed to build student and teacher confidence in the text-based coding language of Python. With the ability to easily translate from block-code to Python, in BOTH directions, students will quickly become empowered to progress from the expectations of KS2 through to KS3. Python is also perfect for developing the coding capability of your Year 6 students, the guided lessons allow students to manage their own learning and teacher solution guides enable teachers to support student learning at every step.  It is designed around the curriculum with guided lesson activities and clear progression built in.

You can see how one school make use of Python in Pieces in the video below: 

We have recently launched the Python in Pieces Community Showcase; this new area of Python in Pieces allows you to share your creations with the rest of the Python in Pieces community. Upload your code to the community showcase and view and rate what other users have created. Complete with searching and filters, you can use the community showcase for inspiration, or use it as a reference for a particular aspect of Python that you need help with. All uploads to the community showcase are checked and approved by the teacher and by the Python in Pieces team before being made live.

We spoke to a couple of our developers who all created games within our showcase as to why they made the games , which will hopefully inspire your own students!

Christmas Slider Game

I really wanted to make a puzzle game. The principles of most puzzle games are straightforward, which means that you can often write them using less code than you'd expect, but they are challenging to play as well.

With Christmas approaching, I was able to get inspiration from Christmas cards and I decided on a sliding puzzle game because although they can be so frustrating to play you get a reward at the end when the scene is revealed!

I think this game is a good example of how a few short well-designed functions can make a compelling user experience.

Christmas slider.png
Space invaders game.png

Space Invaders Game

When we started making Python in Pieces, we used Space Invaders as a benchmark. We said that once people can make Space Invaders using it, we'll know that we're getting close to what we want to achieve.

In design mode, Space Invaders includes just a few images on the screen, and just like if you were making a real game, these are positioned and made dynamic using the code.

It uses cloning, collision detection and timers - all quite advanced features - but it's less than 40 lines of code and I think it's really playable.

To celebrate Computer Science Education Week and the launch of our Community Showcase within our award-winning platform Python in Pieces, we’re inviting you and your school to take part in our first Python in Pieces Coding competition.

Launching on 1st December and running until 15th January, the Python in Pieces coding competition makes for a great activity for Computer Science Education Week (7th – 11th December) or as a  project for the Christmas break. Find out more and how to enter here.