Jay and Kay & Scratch Programming

Date:  Jul 17, 2016

Yesterday, Kay Kay has come to me and asked me to “beta test” his latest game programming using Scratch 2.0.  He has been working on this, and the art work as well as the logic for a week (about 30 minutes to 1-hour for a few days).

Oh ya.  He is only 7-years old ya.  I didn’t learn programming until I am 20 years old.  Hahahaha I think it is pretty good for him to come up with this game.  He felt very proud of it.

It all started a month ago when I sent Kay Kay to “Saturday Kids” to learn Scratch.  Check out their website www.saturdaykids.com

I was an engineer by training.  So, it is common that you want your kid to become an engineer.  And nowadays the kids are lucky, and they have a lot of opportunities to learn new things.

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It is an amazing feeling for me, the daddy to see the son, Kay Kay learning how to program at such a young age.  hahaha

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A lot of my friends asked me, “Are you sure Kay Kay can cope with it?”

Some are puzzled why I sent kids to programming at such a young age?

Well, first, let’s talk about what they like to do when there is no home work.

They like to play games.  So, instead of letting them play games all the time, why not introduce them to “programming” and let them design their own games.

Kids at this age has lots of imaginations, and with their explosive creativity, I am very sure there are things that they can come up with.  So, the evil plan is, instead of spending so much time playing iPad games, let them expose to design their own games.  At least they spent time thinking how to improve their game, and they spent time doing programming which is more towards educations.  The government will support this ya, as they wanted to build a “smart nation”.

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So, the key idea is to let them learn to use technology to create, invent and delight.

That is indeed a good tag line.

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They learned how to make friends in the class.  They sharing ideas.  And they have lots of fun!

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I did not manage to sent Jay Jay because, he just came back from his Hangzhou school trip.

But Kay Kay came home and teach Jay Jay what he learned from class.  So, Jay Jay already grasp the idea of how to program the Scratch.  In fact, he learned it thru the Dummies series of “Scratch for Kids” book.

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Jay Jay has been spending his weekend in Lego Robotics (@ Wonderswork at Liang Court) for almost 4 years.  So, he is not unfamiliar with such programming interface.

So, within a few days, he come up with the “Pong” game.

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By study his own from the “Scratch for Kids” dummies book… He learned how to change the sprites.  Learn how to add game scores.  etc etc.

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The first version is a very crude, simple pong game.  But we have so much fun with it.  Because it is written by Jay Jay.

Check out the after improvement version.  He added few starts in the game, so that the ball will bounce randomly at different direction when the ball touches it.  And it is cool!

It is the 2nd last day of the 5 days course.  So, Kay Kay is busy working on his project to show the parents on the last day.

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Jay Jay keep learning on his own while Kay Kay went to a proper class to learn how to program.

Just in case you are wondering what is the computer he is using.  That is his own portable computer that he build using the Kano Kit.  It is a Raspberry Pi with a cool LCD screen.

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This is the last day of the 5-day courses.

Kay Kay is about to present his project to me.  hahahaha

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Please forgive his messy hand writings.

So, he has been working on this for the past 2 days.  Let’s see what he come up with.

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He demo how to play his game.

It is a water saving program.  You will see the dog and the cat is chatting.  What do you do when you see the tap is left open in the park.  So, you press Left arrow key to turn anti-clockwise to close the tap.  Each time you press the Left arrow key, the water drop will shrink.  Until the water tap is turned off.  If you press the Right arrow key, to turn clockwise, the water drop will become bigger.  And you are wasting water.

It is a short animation with a small fun game.  Perfect for a 7 years old kid.

And he has to present it.  So, he is learning how to present this project.

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Because the kids likes the Scratch programming so much.

So, I asked the instructor there to see if I can enrolled Jay Jay in.  And guess what, I show them the pong game and the “Flappy Bats” program Jay Jay written.  They said they allowed Jay to attend the Advanced class.

So, I end up enrol both of them into the Scratch Programming class @ Saturday Kids for the following week.  As you can see how happy they are.. hahahaha  Jay will be attending the Advanced class while Kay Kay attend the intermediate class.

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And this is what he learned on day 1 of the Advanced class.

My jaws drop.  I had never expected Scratch can do this sort of gaming.

It actually make use of the camera and then, use the human in the video to control the ball by bouncing it with your hand or head.  That is pretty cool!

So on that day itself, Jay show me what he did.  He installed a row of sharp pins at the bottom.  If your basketball touch those pins (when you failed to bounce it with your hands or head) it will pops the ball.  hahaha that is cool…

And then, he added in the bouncing stars.  Cool!

Kay Kay works on his own projects too.

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Let’s take a look how mommy playing this game.

It is a platformer game.

This is Jay Jay’s platform game.  Basically, you need to jump to avoid the spiky road block.  Cool!

Kay Kay’s butterfly game.  Using that green board to keep the butterfly flying.  And amazing when they explain how it works to you.  I like!

Jay Jay improved the difficulties of the game.  By adding spikes every where.  hahaha

Oh ya.. because we have to go vacation on Friday, so, we have to skip the last day course which is the prevention day.  So, both Jay and Kay has to present their work on the 4th day.

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OK, let’t take a good look at Kay Kay’s presentation skills ya.  You need to know how to present and sell your program too.  hahahaha

Not bad at all!

Let’s see how is Jay Jay doing.  Due to the shorter time frame to prepare the presentation.  Jay Jay choose to improve his existing game to add in “Shields”.  So by adding shields or force field in to the game, makes the player have longer life.  Until the shields is worn off, then, the player dies.  Hahahaha Cool platform game.  hahaha

I think Jay Jay also did very well presenting the game – his project.  And since the game is sharable on the Scratch website, Kay Kay is beta testing the game too.  And wow, he later change a bit of codes on the fly and added in the “Jet Packs”  hahahaha… cool!

And Kay Kay completed the Intermediate Scratch Programming course in 4 days (suppose to be 5 days).

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Jay Jay demonstrates how to play his platform game – project.  A very cool music too.

This is what Jay Jay programmed two months before by learning himself using the dummies series, Scratch for Kids.  It is Flappy Bats, a flappy bird clones.  hahaha

He had so much fun with it.

And Jay Jay also completed the Advanced Scratch Programming.

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Conclusions:

  1.  Kids at young age can be exposed to computer programming.
  2. Thru learning how to program their own game idea, they learned how to do computer programming.
  3. By learning how to program, they are actually learning how to solve day to day problem.
  4. Learning how to program is a day to day thing.  The more you program the more better you are.
  5. In this class, they also learned how to present.  And by learning how to present, it helps to build up your presentation skills which is pretty much needed in school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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