Did you know that The Coding Space offers special assignments to students looking to take their coding skills to the next level? We asked John Bujalski, TCS New York Metro Program Manager, to give us the scoop on these cool opportunities.
Hi John! Thanks for chatting with us. Can you start by telling us what The Coding Space Weekly Challenges are and how they support TCS curriculum?
What can students expect from a challenge?
There are three challenges for each level of our curriculum: a small, medium, and big challenge. Each challenge is just a short sentence describing what the student should do, but they are intended to be the perfect starting point for students to learn and explore new concepts. Students can pick whichever challenge they think sounds most interesting or their teacher can select a challenge for them which is most appropriate for their growth as a coder.
It sounds like there is a challenge for every skill level. Can you tell us the difference between small, medium and big challenges?
The difference is about the length of time necessary to complete the challenge, not difficulty. A small challenge may be easy or tricky, but it will generally only take a student 5-15 minutes to solve. A medium challenge will typically take at least half of a class, if not a whole class, to complete. A big challenge is the jumping off point for a project which will span multiple classes.
What cool concepts might coders get to explore with challenges? Any favorites?
Challenges will allow coders to explore all sorts of cool concepts: boolean logic fundamentals, manipulating coordinate systems, optimal code organization, loops, arrays, sorting algorithms, recursion, using time and weather data in projects, integrations and APIs… just to name a few.
As for favorites, I don’t want to spoil any of the upcoming challenges, but I really like Week 2’s large challenge: Use the WoofJS pen to draw a starry sky on a solid color background. I’m excited to see some of the clever ways students accomplish that.
What happens when a student finishes a challenge?
Our teachers instill grit and a love of learning into our students, so completing a tricky challenge and learning from it is its own reward! But students who complete challenges can ring the gong (or virtual gong for our online classes), brag about their accomplishments, or show off the project they made to complete the challenge.
Who can tackle these challenges? Do you have to be a TCS student?
While the challenges are written specifically for our students to use within their TCS classes, they are available for anyone to try. Like most of our curriculum, the challenges are available publicly online for free—but the guidance of a TCS teacher in our classes is what really gets a child to push themselves to learn and build amazing projects.
Anything else we should know about this fun opportunity?
The Coding Space Weekly Challenges are one small part of our comprehensive approach to teaching TCS students not only computer science and coding, but also critical thinking, creativity, logic, and the grit necessary to take agency over their learning and pursue their passions—wherever they may lead.
Thanks for stopping by the blog, John!
To learn more about being challenged in coding classes with The Coding Space, check out our fall classes here.