Girls rate Code Combat

I introduced a class of year nine girls to Code Combat today, and asked them to review it for me.  Is it good?  Is it too hard/too easy?  Is it for boys only?

The students have already had some experience of Scratch, Gamemaker, Alice and the like, but this was their first exposure to Code Combat- a game in which you learn python programming by solving puzzles, all set in a child-friendly fantasy world.  I first reviewed it last month.  #CodeCombat #CodingInSchool



I asked the girls to send me a review. Here is what they said:
It was okay, the navigation steps could have been more precise.
Better if the coding would be shorter ( too complicated) overall an pretty decent game.
Personally, I don’t not like this game as I find it boring. I do not like typing as it wastes time, I would much rather click on arrows and I would find myself enjoying it that little bit more. However, the graphics and quality of the game was very impressive!
I generally enjoyed the game and even if I didn’t understand certain parts I quickly caught up! #CombatCode4Lyfe ;)
I enjoyed the game because it wasn’t too hard, but some parts were a bit confusing. The game is a bit weird but it’s quite fun. #combatcode4lyfe
I think the game is a good and practical game which is educational for learning coding. However, I think it is quite boring and the prizes are awful!
It was average but could do with more different themes e.g. a wonderland, a farm or a school and the character could do more interesting.
I thought this game was very good and once you start to play it, you feel as if you have to finish all the levels!
I thought it was a really fun game! It gets interesting once you get into the game! I reckon its worth a try!
Really fun, not much of a challenge, banterous, fun once you get into the swing of things, very addictive
Good, entertaining, could be more challenging but I like it as it is. Slightly addictive, fun and easy to follow.
Better than coding a game. This lesson has been better that what we have been doing all year. It’s an ok game?! I enjoyed what I played but I wouldn’t play it again unless we could play it instead of coding in our ICT lessons. J ~combatcode
I think that the Code Combat game is really enjoyable, at times it can get a bit repetitive, but overall a brilliant game.
I enjoy this game but I find it a bit tedious because there is loads of typing and it’s quite hard. But as a summary I think it will appeal well to younger people as it is cartoony and interesting!! #COMBATCODE4LYFE JJJ
It was quite boring but would be quite good for learning how to code. Maybe have different levels not just a castle.
I found the game ok but sometimes I did not understand it
I thought it was alright, a bit annoying though.
The games was ok but I kept dying which was annoying as I lost all my lives a lot.
Alright…I guess…bit annoying & repetitive but was ‘banterous’  Fun once you get into it, great time kill though… J

A few things I noticed as the girls worked through the levels:


  • Moving from drag-and-drop programming languages to languages where you type full commands was a culture shock to many girls.
  • Many students ignored the features of the game such as claiming rewards for completing puzzles, or the tutorial help features.  One student chose to type her code out three times rather than learn how to perform iteration, and wasn't bothered about missing out on the bonus points for not doing so.


  • The girls categorically denied that the game was for boys only.

The average rating for Code Combat by the girls was 3.2 stars out of 5. 

Launch alert

We are getting ready to go to space!

Click the image to launch.

At 12:00 noon (UK time) on Friday the 1st May, we will launch Proxima, the first web-based, hypothetical, light-speed space voyage.  Proxima will travel through the solar system at 300,000,000 m/s visiting the orbits of every planet in the solar system before altering course and making a bee-line for Proxima Centauri.

Even at the speed of light, the voyage will take over four years.

Project Proxima is a teaching tool and time capsule, designed to help explain the vastness of interstellar space.  You can follow Proxima using the hashtag #ProjectProxima, or the Twitter profile @proximaspace.

Over the following four years follow Proxima as it crosses the Oort Cloud and clears the Heliopause, then join the celebration as we finally reach the Sun's nearest neighbour.

"The stars, my destination" - Alfred Bester.


Project Proxima - from Leeds to Proxima Centauri

Photos of my travels #003

#Malham Cove and Janet's Foss in #Yorkshire (God's country) from the 18th April 2015.

The Buck Inn. One of two good pubs in Malham (don't expect much in the way of vegetarian food here though, go round the corner to the Lister).

You don't see these much these days

Malham Cove.
Anyone else see this, or is it just me?


It's a challenge.

Near the top.

Steps up to Malham Cove.

Rocks!

The pavement (that's 'sidewalk' if you are American).

I love this photo.

Dinosaur bones (sort of).

Dry stone walls and sheep.

Jantet's Foss (poor Janet, couldn't spell 'waterfall')

From Janet's Foss on a sunny spring day.

Nom nom nom

D'aw!

Create your own solar system

Project Proxima, the hypothetical voyage from Leeds to Proxima Centauri, launches in two weeks today, so we will celebrate with some more space-related posts.

Here we look at solar system simulators.  

As you might expect from PhET, this simulator is pretty good.  You can choose from a number of preset conditions including binary stars with planets, slingshots, ellipses etc.  Plenty of fun can be had by changing the mass, position and velocity of the preset conditions, or just play God and make your own.

The 'Slingshot' chosen from one of many presets.

Solar System Builder
A nice and simple solar system simulator.  Create planet trajectories by clicking and dragging.  Feel the need to hurl Jupiter at the inner solar system to see what happens - no problem!

Pick up Jupiter and hurl it at the inner solar system.


Planet Families
Planet Families from the Space Science Institute is a sandbox universe for you to simply drop your planets in an watch it go.  Planetary collisions are accompanied by satisfactory sound effects.

Drag, drop then watch them crash and burn.  Good stuff.


Solar System Builder - Building the Known Universe
This Solar System Builder from The National geographic is as good as they come.  One nice feature is the ability to set the camera to follow any one of your solar system objects.

Fully customised planet construction.

Solar System Maker
The solar system maker mrnussbaum.com is suitable for children aged 8 to 11.  It does not quite have the same sophistication with regards to its Physics, however fun can be had by designing and printing your own solar system.

Create new planets to your own design and given them a name.

Solar System builder in Scratch
Here is a solar system simulator built using the excellent MIT Scratch.
Solar systems built in Scratch

I hope you enjoyed these solar system simulators.  If you did, then you might like to follow Project Proxima:

From Leeds to Proxima Centauri

Project Proxima is a hypothetical voyage to our nearest stellar neighbour - Proxima Centauri.  The spacecraft, Proxima, can travel at the speed of light and is set to launch in 16 days (on the 1st May 2015).  #ProjectProxima #Science #Space

Followers can track the progress of Proxima's four year voyage on the website and through Proxima's Twitter page @proximaspace.  You can sign-up to become a registered follower to get your name on the website, and receive news via email.

Proxima will travel at the speed of light from Earth to Proxima Centauri taking it on a path that first visits the inner solar system and the sun. It will then continue through the solar system until it is far beyond the outer reaches of the Oort Cloud, the depths of interstellar space and then finally, in four years time, it will reach Proxima Centauri (in 2019).

100,000 stars

Today's countdown to the Project Proxima launch introduces 100,000 Stars, an interactive visualization of the stellar neigbourhood created for the Chrome browser. It shows the real location of over 100,000 nearby stars. Zooming in reveals 87 major named stars and our solar system and Oort cloud.  Zooming out reveals an artist's rendition of the whole galaxy.

Launch 100,000 stars now.

The closest stars to the Sun.  Drag, zoom and explore this 3D simulation.

So much to explore.

Our stellar neighbourhood.

An artist's rendition of the galaxy.  Rotate through 3 degrees of freedom.

Some of the 87 named closest stars.  Clicking zooms in to beautiful close-up detail.


From Leeds to Proxima Centauri

Project Proxima is a hypothetical voyage to our nearest stellar neighbour - Proxima Centauri.  The spacecraft, Proxima, can travel at the speed of light and is set to launch in 16 days (on the 1st May 2015).  #ProjectProxima #Science #Space

Followers can track the progress of Proxima's four year voyage on the website and through Proxima's Twitter page @proximaspace.  You can sign-up to become a registered follower to get your name on the website, and receive news via email.

Proxima will travel at the speed of light from Earth to Proxima Centauri taking it on a path that first visits the inner solar system and the sun. It will then continue through the solar system until it is far beyond the outer reaches of the Oort Cloud, the depths of interstellar space and then finally, in four years time, it will reach Proxima Centauri (in 2019).

Time until Launch:

Explore the solar system

As the countdown to the launch of Project Proxima, the hypothetical voyage to Proxima Centauri reaches 16 days and 20 hours, we celebrate with some links to useful solar system simulators.  #SolarSystem #ProjectProxima #space #science

Astro Tour from gunn.co.nz

Solar system tour from gunn.co.nz - explore the solar system with this fully customizable simulator.
Nine Planets solar System Tour

A beautifully imagined solar system simulator.  Click on a planet to get more information, or set the planets in motion.

Project Metis

Beautifully rendered planets come alive in this solar system simulation.

From Leeds to Proxima Centauri

Project Proxima is a hypothetical voyage to our nearest stellar neighbour - Proxima Centauri.  The spacecraft, Proxima, can travel at the speed of light and is set to launch in 16 days (on the 1st May 2015).

Our goal, the closest star, Proxima Centauri.


Followers can track the progress of Proxima's four year voyage on the website and through Proxima's Twitter page @proximaspace.  You can sign-up to become a registered follower to get your name on the website, and receive news via email.

Proxima will travel at the speed of light from Earth to Proxima Centauri taking it on a path that first visits the inner solar system and the sun. It will then continue through the solar system until it is far beyond the outer reaches of the Oort Cloud, the depths of interstellar space and then finally, in four years time, it will reach Proxima Centauri (in 2019).

Time until Launch:


Traversing the solar system at the Speed of Light

This video was the inspiration for the Project Proxima space mission.  As we count down to the launch of Proxima on the 1st May please enjoy this video which shows what it would look like if you could travel at the speed of light away from the Sun (ignoring special relativity, or course).


From Leeds to Proxima Centauri

Journey through the universe beyond the speed of light

As we count down to the launch of Project Proxima the hypothetical voyage to Proxima Centauri, introducing a series of space-related posts. First, a documentary about an imaginary trip through space.

Project Proxima - from Leeds to Proxima Centauri

#ProjectProxima

Countdown to Proxima Launch - from Leeds to Proxima Centauri

Photos of my travels #002

A stroll through Guisborough Woods in God's Country (North Yorkshire).

A relative of Mr Spoon.

High Cliff Nab from Guisborough, (just showing off the zoom on my Samsung)

Just one of many creatures out this afternoon.

What is it for?

Twiggy

A seat for hobbits.

A toadstool, I think...

High Cliff Nab again

Where to next?
#guisborough
#guisboroughWoods
#photosOfMyTravels

Introducing Project Proxima

Project Proxima is a hypothetical voyage to our nearest stellar neighbour - Proxima Centauri.  The spacecraft, Proxima, can travel at the speed of light and is set to launch in 21 days (on the 1st May 2015).
The Proxima Spacecraft @proximaspace ready for launch.

Proxima is a teaching tool, intended to help explain the vastness of interstellar space.

Followers can track the progress of Proxima's four year voyage on the website and through Proxima's Twitter page @proximaspace.  You can sign-up to become a registered follower to get your name on the website, and receive news via email.

Proxima will travel at the speed of light from Earth to Proxima Centauri taking it on a path that first visits the inner solar system and the sun. It will then continue through the solar system until it is far beyond the outer reaches of the Oort Cloud, the depths of interstellar space and then finally, in four years time, it will reach Proxima Centauri (in 2019).

Proxima is also a timecapsule. On the launch date, I will archive the current world news to help followers better understand the distance between our solar system and our nearest neighbour.

Proxima never stops! Once it reaches Proxima Centauri it will continue through the galaxy for as long as I can maintain this server.

Visit Project Proxima now!

Proxima will launch from Earth on the 1st May 2015, travelling at the speed of light it will visit the orbits of every planet in the solar system.  Track Proxima in real time to get information about its journey.  It will then embark on a four-year journey to Proxima Centauri.

The nearest stars to the sun.  After visiting every planet in the solar system on day one, Proxima will take several months to travel through the full extent of the Oort Cloud, before finally heading out to Proxima Centarui.

Photos of my travels #001

Darwen, in deepest, darkest Lancashire.

Our hopes and fishes?

Where you bin?  No, where you wheelie bin?  Rubbish!

Mossy Madness

Twiggy

Tweet

The scientific name for this is...hang on, I'll go an look it up...

Man cave

She's electric

Nothing lasts forever, not even proper English.

Mossy Mayhem

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