STEAM | 25 August 2015Coding For Kids: Make a Buzzer Game Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you think about it, computers are pretty mind-blowing. With one click of your mouse or one tap of your keyboard, you can make a million things happen on the screen in front of you. You can watch a movie, buy a book, solve a math problem, conquer a video game dragon, find the name of the 28th US President… the possibilities are instant and endless! So how is this possible? The answer is simple: coding. Coding is all about giving instructions to a digital device, using a language it understands, so that it does exactly what you want it to. We hardly ever see computer code, but it’s always there working behind the scenes to get the job done. As the digital world continues to advance and grow in new directions, coding for kids is likely to become a common part of education. Code is a language unto itself – as descriptive as French or Italian – but it’s not as complicated as it might seem, especially if you have the right tools. How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons is the newest addition to Walter Foster Jr.’s Super Skills series (remember when we learned how to film moving shots in How to Make a Movie in 10 Easy Lessons? Check out the previous post!). Like the other books in the series, this easy-to-follow guidebook provides clear and entertaining instructions for using Scratch software, creating your own computer game, and even designing your own website. The best part is that no prior experience is necessary to follow along! How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons is your behind-the-scenes pass into the magical world of computers, and gives you all the tools necessary to go beyond playing, searching, and watching, and into creating and conducting. Just as Beverly Cleary once said, “If you don’t see the book you want on the shelves, write it.” If you can’t find the video game you want to play, code it! Get started by following the lesson for making a Buzzer Game in the excerpt below. You’ll be making a program using Scratch, which you can use for free by joining at scratch.mit.edu. Just make sure to check with your parents before offering any personal information on the Internet! MAKING THE BUZZER GAME Excerpted from How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons You might have seen the buzzer game at a fair, where you need a steady hand to guide a loop along a wiggly wire without touching it. Our first game in this chapter uses a similar idea. Guide an arrow around the screen, but don’t touch the color red. All our programs so far have done the same thing each time we’ve run them. The pictures we’ve drawn were the same each time we clicked the green flag, except for some random positions. For this game, we need Scratch to do different things for us when we press keys to control our sprite, and we need it to sound the buzzer if we touch the forbidden color too. Each time the game runs, it can be played differently, with some players going in odd directions and some players touching the red more than others. The program needs to decide where and when to move the sprite and when to sound the buzzer. The block you use for making decisions is the if…then block (see above right). The idea of this block might seem strange at first, but humans think like this too. Imagine the sentence “If it’s raining, then put on your coat.” The “it’s raining” part is like the diamond-shaped part of the if…then block, and the “put your coat on” part would go inside the bracket. Author: Sean McManus Format: Spiral, 64 Pages ISBN: 9781633220508 Age Range: 8 to 12 Publisher: Walter Foster Jr. Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.