Summer may be over and fall classes underway, but we wanted to take a minute to reflect on the fun we had at Camp Coding Space this past summer and the incredible campers who joined us each week.
We also loved the shout-outs!
In addition to our online camp, we were thrilled to return to our Brooklyn location for one week of in-person camp in July. Campers participated in STEM activities, outdoor fun, and of course, lots of coding! Some of our favorite activities included Feats of Balance, where campers engineered structures out of cups and popsicle sticks to suspend as many blocks as possible over empty space, and Cypher Wheels, where campers created secret codes for encrypting and decrypting messages.
And let’s not forget about the return of The Coding Space Cup! Whether online or in person, our campers worked hard to earn points for their teams and cheered each other on regardless of the winner. In the end, whether it was Team Liskov or Team Dijkstra with the trophy, our campers were proud of all that they accomplished — and so were we!
Thanks to all of our kids, families, and counselors who joined us over the summer. We can’t wait to see you next year!
Latinx workers remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. At The Coding Space, as our program grows, we hope to increase awareness of these inequities and use our scholarship program, teacher-training program, and other tools at our disposal to bolster the immense talent of the Latinx community and champion their voices that are so important to advancing our field.
In honor of Hispanic History Month, we’re celebrating a handful of the fearless Hispanic individuals who have impacted STEM fields far and wide. Whether they contributed to the development of medicine, made strides in mathematics, or expanded the study of space exploration, we honor the wide ranging accomplishments of these game-changing Hispanic American champions.
Hispanic Heritage Month is a great opportunity to learn more about the history and diverse cultures while supporting Hispanic-owned businesses and upliftingHispanic voices in other industries and spaces.
“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” —Socrates
We often talk about our use of the Socratic method at The Coding Space. Why? Because it is integral to what we believe about learning: that it’s most effective when students are given space and time to forge their own connections. Our teachers are not pitchers of knowledge filling the cups of our students. Instead, our teachers act as stand-ins for the inner critical voice that we want our students to develop and eventually use to solve problems on their own.
We do this by helping students see problems from new angles, inviting them to look more closely, and asking questions about their work so they can learn to do the same. It’s not about how we as teachers believe they should solve a problem; it’s about how they think they should solve it -- and what they learn as they experiment with their own ideas. By not dispensing easy answers, we are encouraging them to practice critical thinking, teaching them how to synthesize information, and holding space for them to make deeper and more personalized connections than they would if we fed them solutions.
New students are sometimes confused by this methodology. Because of the traditional education system to which many have become accustomed, students often come to us with no conception of self-driven learning. They are so used to depending entirely on their teachers that they don’t understand their own innate resourcefulness. Our primary objective in using the Socratic method is to teach the very opposite, proving to students that they contain valuable wisdom and intuition about the world and have what it takes to devise their own solutions.
Below is an example of how this might play out in our classrooms, as a student tries to make a ghost hide and show every two seconds in our classic Untutorial, Ghostbusters:
Step 2: Make the ghost hide & show every 2 seconds
Student: “I have no clue what to do.”
Teacher: “Can you re-read the step for me? Are there any words that stand out?”
Student: “Show, hide, 2 seconds”
Teacher: “Do you see any blocks that would make it show or hide?”
Student: [Student looks through blocks] “Okay, I got it to hide, but how do I make it come back?”
Teacher: “What do you mean by ‘come back’?
Student: “Make it show.”
Teacher: “Do you see a block that would make it show?”
Student: “Okay, I found it. But it’s happening too fast.”
Teacher: “What’s happening too fast?”
Student: “It’s not showing for long enough.”
Student: “How would you make it show longer?”
Student: “Wait 2 seconds?”
Teacher: “Yes! Can you find a block that does that?”
The magic of Socratic is that, in the above example, the teacher has actually told the student nothing. By asking questions and modeling a thought process, the student came to the solution all on their own. Once they learn they have this power, the sky’s the limit.
We strongly believe in this method and all of our teachers go through an intensive training process to ensure we are inspiring all of our students. Learn more about our teaching philosophy or contact us to learn more about our classes so that your child can grow and learn with us!
Dear Coding Space Family,
We are so thrilled to welcome you back in person this fall! With locations opening back up in New York on the Upper East Side (we’ve moved!), Park Slope, and Long Island and a new location in Westchester, we can’t wait to see new and old faces and code together once again. With experience running an in-person test class over the summer, we are confident in our COVID-19 safety measures to ensure the safety of our teachers and students as we reopen.
We’re also very excited to continue our virtual program. Having offered online classes all year, we’re proud of the program we’ve created and its multitude of benefits. Utilizing Zoom’s multiple screen sharing feature, our online teachers have up-close access to every line our students code like never before. Paired with carefully designed hands-on-activities that promote social interaction and learning in new ways, our online classes truly offer a robust alternative to in-person, with the convenience of coding from home.
Additionally, we’re delighted to introduce Intermediate classes this fall. Since The Coding Space started, we’ve divided classes into Beginner and Advanced, knowing full-well that there is tremendous progress that happens in between. By offering an Intermediate option, we’ll be giving our parents deeper insight into where our students are in their coding journeys and teachers a closer view of the milestones our students have reached.
With new features added to our online learning platform, engaging hands-on activities, and captivating challenges to boot, we are more than ready to bring our students premium education, ignite their curiosity, and facilitate their joy in learning this school year.
Have a great rest of your summer, and we’ll see you in September!
At The Coding Space, every semester ends with a special event—Share Week! During Share Week, students showcase their hard work from the semester by testing each other’s projects, seeing each other’s progress, and celebrating their accomplishments.
By encouraging students to feel pride in what they’ve learned, what they’ve made, and what skills they’ve acquired, Share Week reinforces the essential lesson that learning is its own reward. Building grit is a key part of our pedagogy at The Coding Space, and nothing reinforces grit more than learning to take authentic pride in your efforts—regardless of external accolades. While awards, certificates, and praise can be great ways to encourage students, it’s even better to teach students to celebrate the internal reward of hard work itself.
No matter the platform or skill level, each project is as unique as the student who created it. See below for a few of the many examples of creativity and passion.
Wednesday Advanced: Tomato Squasher
Goal: Move the tomato cannon left and right with arrow keys and shoot down as many watermelons as you can in 30 seconds.
Friday Young Beginner: Animal Art
Goal: Use your mouse to draw with various animals and press different keys for cool effects
Monday Beginner GirlCode: Animal Piano
Goal: Click each dinosaur to make them play a custom beat
Last summer, The Coding Space built a learning management system to capture our students’ progress in our classes. While it tracks achievement, the purpose of My Coding Space isn’t to reinforce some false idea of linear progress; in our classes, each student embarks on an individual journey that has peaks and valleys and unfailingly unique rhythms. My Coding Space is designed to provide a full picture of where students are in those journeys so that we as teachers know where to guide them next and they, in turn, develop an appreciation for how far they’ve come.
Challenging, but Supported
My Coding Space is designed to challenge students to build their problem solving skills. The system contains a comprehensive library of Challenge Projects for students to choose from. We call these projects “Untutorials” because, while they help students break down complex projects into smaller steps, they don’t tell students exactly what to do.. Students must experiment, problem solve, and tinker as they devise their own solutions (and if they get stuck, our teachers are always there to provide guidance and help).
Independent, but Collaborative
When a student completes a step in an Untutorial, that step then becomes visible to our teachers, who can review the student’s work, approve the step, or send it back with feedback. The best part? Students don’t have to wait for feedback if they’re eager to keep working—they can simply move on while our teachers review! Once a student completes all steps of an Untutorial, they have the option to share their work to our community page so that other students can see what they’ve made.
Individualized, but Guided
Each student has a profile page in My Coding Space that displays their progress on each project, the scope of which might include Intro to Coding, Intro to Scratch, Scratch, WoofJS, and Web. As students complete projects, their profile provides helpful visuals of their progress through our curriculum, so we as teachers can best recommend next steps, communicate their achievements with parents, and allow them to pick up where they left off at the start of each semester with ease.
We’re thrilled to offer this added value to our classes and to continue expanding our program’s sophistication, breadth, and accessibility. Come back to our blog at the end of the summer to see what we’ve developed!
Not sure what we’re talking about? Let’s do a thought experiment.
Imagine the greatest computer scientists in history: Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, Grace Hopper, Barbara Liskov, John von Neumann. Then imagine a league of teams named after these computational maestros, each competing for glory in an elaborate system of points, power, puzzles, and prizes. Now imagine the teams are made up of our intrepid young campers faced with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve Coding Space Cup glory. To do so, they’ll need to write programs, solve problems, crack codes, win races, and overcome the toughest of mental challenges. If they do all of that, they might just have what it takes to honor their team name and cross the proverbial finish line with the final baton. Every Friday from June to August, the fate of our campers, computer science heroes, and humanity at large will rest on one question: Who has won The Coding Space Cup?
Now that we’ve let our imaginations run wild, we’ll come back down to earth and remember that The Coding Space Cup isn’t that serious. While not a tangible trophy, the title of Coding Space Cup winner is indeed real! Our campers (and counselors) had such a blast last year at our inaugural cup that we couldn’t wait to continue the tradition this year.
The rules are simple: Campers will be placed onto teams honoring the computer science greats. TCS Cup points will then be awarded to team members all week long in a plethora of categories. The team that accumulates the most points wins the cup! With so many chances to win points, campers will be inspired to apply themselves, test their limits, and collaborate for the betterment of their team.
Point earning opportunities include (but are not limited to): participating in warm-up activities like bringing their favorite book or showing a cool hidden talent; crushing physical activities like kickboxing or yoga; winning a scavenger hunt, juggling competition, or virtual relay race; posing as the most realistic movie scene or dominating a Shark Tank pitch; finishing a coding project that addresses a sustainable development goal or the weekly camp theme; and so much more! And that’s just the half of it. Campers will also have the chance to win discretionary points for being exceptionally awesome. Did they work through a frustrating moment and keep going? Did they help another camper? Were they extra focused, funny, or kind? Those are all point-worthy feats!
At the end of each week, we’ll celebrate the winners of The Coding Space Cup, and more importantly, the amazing achievements of every single one of our campers. Every year, we are blown away by how quickly and deeply our campers learn, how fun, funny, and kind they are, and oh how creative and smart. The purpose of The Coding Space Cup is not to choose a winner (although there will be one!) but to celebrate all of our campers’ accomplishments and inspire them to reach for the stars.
We can’t wait to see our campers in action this summer. Check out our camp options here. Three cheers for The Coding Space Cup and all our campers!
This past weekend marked the end of our third Code 4 Change challenge: Build a Better World. This event asked our coders to use their skills and creativity to imagine unique tech-based solutions to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. After a month of hard work, participants submitted their projects for judging and friends and family explored the projects and voted for their favorites. Finally, coders joined us online for a special live finale event where we revealed the winners and celebrated everyone’s hard work.
Here are the winning projects in all nine categories:
In the spirit of Code 4 Change, each winner received a $50 donation to one of the following philanthropic organizations:
If you missed the finale, you can still check out the recording here and the full list of winners below. To explore all the projects submitted, click here.
Please join us in giving all our participants a big round of applause for their hard work and creativity! We’ll see you next time.
Three cheers for our creative coders! Our C4C: Build a Better World participants have completed and submitted their programming projects, the votes have been cast, and the results have been tallied. Now, it's time to tune in for the finale event where we reveal the winners in these categories:
Oh, and did we mention there will be prizes? Each category winner will receive a donation of $50 to support a philanthropic organization embodying the spirit of Code 4 Change. Winners are invited to choose from these organizations:
All projects will be featured on the TCS website and winning projects will be showcased in a special blog.
Watch the finale! The finale will be streamed live across several platforms on Sunday, May 16th starting at 3pm EST. You can watch by clicking on the links below:
We hope you’ll join us in acknowledging and celebrating the hard work of all our students and their creativity in devising solutions to problems facing kids just like them. Their generosity of spirit sets an excellent example for us all!
In Scratch, beginner programmers and coding experts alike can create stories, animations, and games and in doing so, use code as a means of creative expression, idea generation, and exploration.
Scratch was created in 2003 by the MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten group as a new way to teach kids how to code. As the project was adapted and shared with students, it became clear that Scratch’s impact was even bigger than that. In a November 2012 TED Talk, Mitch Resnick who led the development of Scratch puts it this way: “As kids are creating projects, they’re learning to code; even more importantly, they’re coding to learn.”
Rather than struggling in math class without knowing how or why a variable might be applied, this child was motivated to learn and understand because he saw a reason to learn it in the first place.
In Scratch, kids intuitively travel across disciplines as they learn to apply physics to make their character jump realistically or use the Cartesian coordinate system to move their character through a maze. Like Resnick’s student, young coders are inspired to learn new skills because they are motivated to apply those lessons to bring their creative ideas to life. Seeing the product of their knowledge in playable games or interactive storylines is a huge motivator for students, and for good reason: there’s nothing quite like seeing someone enjoy something we’ve made to keep us learning, growing, and creating. Can you tell we love Scratch? That’s why we use it every day in our coding classes and start every beginner student on it.