Fall kick off - Space Man!

Southwest Coder Dojo

Southwest Coder Dojo is a member of Coder Dojo International, an organization of free, volunteer-led coding clubs. We were founded to provide introductory coding experiences for youth and teens (ages 11-18). Our volunteer mentors are software developers and software industry professionals from the Twin Cities.

Register with Hennepin County Library to attend our Dojo events. Tickets are free, but seats are limited. No experience in programming required. Remember to bring your laptop!

September 15

We had a great opener for the Southwest Coder Dojo. This year we started off by agreeing to create a simple game called Spaceman (formerly known as Hangman). We'll build the game in a Google Spreadsheet and along the way learn some great lessons about computer science. (Requires a Google account.)

Did you know that spreadsheets are a great way to learn programming?  They allow you to store data, change data, learn about functions, program your own functions and learn programming concepts. Modern online spreadsheets can even be ramped up to full web applications.

What We Covered

This session we did the following:
  • Looked at the resource page on our website for free computer lessons
  • Opened a spreadsheet and entered some data
  • Learned how to add two numbers together
  • Learned how to add two cells together, then how to add 1,000 cells
  • Used a couple of simple functions (SUM and RANDBETWEEN)
  • Wrote our first custom spreadsheet function(!). Everyone in the class wrote some simple JavaScript.
  • Saw what happened when you try to add a letter to a number using SUM (doesn't work!)
  • Saw what happened when you add a letter to a number in your custom function (works, sorta!)

What's Next

Next time, we'll agree on how many guesses a person gets. We'll draw a simple Spaceman using Excel cells and we'll make him appear and disappear as the number of wrong guesses gets higher and higher.  I look forward to seeing you all at our next meeting.  Register today for the October 13th session.