Saturday 21st October 2017

Image result for robot good morningGood morning everyone!

Mega Rock Paper Scissors

Did everyone get their multiplayer Rock, Paper, Scissors game built at our last session?

If not, can you go to the following link and do this first – Multiplayer Rock Paper Scissors

Once you have completed this task, we are going to download the game to the Microbits and play a mega version of Rock, Paper, Scissors.


In this game, the Microbits use radio signals to create a network. A network is a set of connected devices. These can be connected using radio signals, wifi, ethernet or Bluetooth. Networks enable devices to communicate with each other to complete tasks. Can you suggest a few examples where networks are useful?

Image result for networks in home


Networks can also cause security issues. If one device gets hacked or gets a virus, it can use the network to spread it. We are going to demonstrate this using the Microbits.

Download the following project to your Microbit: Infection Project


How fast are your reflexes? Build this Reaction game and find out! Reaction Project


Saturday 7th October

Good morning everyone!

Introduction to Variables

Today we are going to learn about a very important part of a computer program: variables.

Computer programs process information. Some of the information that is input, stored, and used in a computer program has a value that is constant, meaning it does not change
throughout the course of the program. An example of a constant in maths is pi because it has one value that never changes. Other pieces of information have values that
vary or change during the running of a program. Programmers create variables
to hold the value of information that may change. In a game program, a variable may be created to hold the score of the game.
Variables hold a specific type of information. The micro:bit’s variables can keep track of
numbers, strings, booleans, and sprites. The first time you use a variable, its type is assigned to match whatever it is holding. From that point forward, you can only change the value of that variable to another value of that same type.
  • A number variable could hold numerical data such as the year, the temperature, or your age
  • A string variable holds a string of alphanumeric characters such as a person’s name, a password, or the day of the week.
  • A boolean variable has only two values: true or false. You might have certain things that happen only when the variable called gameOver is false, for example.
  • A sprite is a special variable that represents a single dot on the screen and holds two separate values for the row and column the dot is currently in.

Image result for rock paper scissors

Activity 1 – Manual Score Keeping

Now we are going to play a few games of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Everyone should get into groups of 3 and have two players play the game and one should keep score. After a few rounds, swap who the score keeper is. Do this until everyone has had a turn at being the score keeper.

Now lets look at your score sheets. Can you identify what things on your sheet are constants and what are variables?

Activity 2 – Build Your Own Score Keeper

We can now begin to code using variables. The instructions for this are found here: Score Keeper game

Activity 3 – Build Your Own Rock, Paper, Scissors game

The tutorial to build your own Rock, Paper, Scissors game is here: Rock, Paper, Scissors Tutorial

Bonus Activity

Can you build a multiplayer version of Rock, Paper, Scissors?


Saturday 23rd September 2017

Image result for welcome computerGood morning everyone!

It’s great to see all our ninjas again and welcome to our new ninjas!

We have some fun activities lined up for the next few weeks which we are looking forward to.

Our main focus over the next term is to make use of our BBC Microbits which we received at the end of last year.

For those of you who have never used one of these before, you can find out more here

Before we begin, we are going to learn about functions.

Functions are the basis of all computers. A computer cannot think for itself – it can only follow the instructions given by a programmer. The instructions given are called function. Together, a group of functions make a computer program. The computer then knows what to do when a user tells it something. When the user gives the computer something, this is called an input. The computer does something to this input and then returns the answer which is called an output.

This is just like Function Machines which you may have covered in your maths classes. We are going to play a game now which shows how function machines works. Everyone should find a partner and collect a pen and some sticky notes from the front of the room.

Player 1 – write a number on a sticky note and give it to Player 2.

Player 2 – a sum using this number. (e.g. add 1, subtract 2, divide by 2, multiple by 3) and write the answer on the back of the sticky note. Give this back to Player 1.

Player 1 – can you guess the sum Player 2 used to get this answer?

Try this a few times then swap places and Player 2 has to guess the sum.

Related imageSo how does this relate to computing? Remember when we discussed inputs, functions and outputs? The number that Player 1 wrote down was an input. The sum that was done on the number was a Function. The answer that Player 2 wrote down was an output. This is how computers work too. Player 1 was the user giving information to the computer. Player 2 was the computer who carried out a function and returned an output to the user.

Now we will look at how this translates to a microbit.

An anatomy diagram of the BBC micro:bit

The diagram above shows all the different parts of a Microbit.

Buttons are used for Inputs. The user presses these to tell the computer something. This could be a command to switch on or switch off. It could tell it to make a sound, do some maths or some other function. There are many ways a user can send an input to a computer. For example: a keyboard, a mouse, a touchpad or a microphone.

LED lights are used for Outputs. The Microbit could return a message using the LEDs by blinking, or displaying an image. There are many ways a computer can send an output to a user. For example: a monitor, speakers or lights.

Our microbits are connected to buzzers which are also types of output devices. More input devices and output devices can be connected using the 3 input/output rings shown on the left.

The Microbit carries out functions using the processor shown in the diagram. A processor is the brain of a computer and programs are carried out using this.

So how do we program a Microbit?

There are a number of different ways using different programming languages. We are going to being by using the Make Code website. If you have used Scratch before, this will seem fairly familiar to you. Our first task is to take a look around the website. Go to

Now we are going to build a Happy Face, Sad Face program which will show how we can use inputs and outputs. Click here to view the tutorial

Image result for fidget cubeIn our next activity we are going to code our own Fidget Cubes. A fidget cube is a little cube with something different that you can manipulate on each surface. You can pull, press, and play with it. A microbit can also be used as a fidget cube. Start a new project and code your microbit to do something when:

Button A is pressed

Button B is pressed

Buttons A and B are pressed together

The Microbit is shaken


Image result for thats all folks That’s it from us for today. We hoped you had fun learning about Microbits. We look forward to seeing you at our next session on Saturday 6th October.

The Team at Derry CoderDojo




Summer Coding Activities

Hi everyone!

Hope you are enjoying your summer holidays!

If you’re looking for something fun to do why not try building a game in Scratch based on a summer theme? It could be beach themed or carnival themed.

Or how about building a website showing off your favourite summer time hobbies?

When you’re done, you can share it with us and we can add it to our Projects page on the website.

Looking forward to seeing all your awesome projects!

From all the team at Derry CoderDojo

Saturday 17th June 2017 #RoboNinjas

Good morning everyone and welcome to our final session (altogether now…awwwwwwk!)

Today we are going to have lots of fun with our end of term topic which is #RoboNinjas.



Some of the activities planned for today are:

  1. Coji – our emoji powered robot needs some help to get around the obstacle course – can you help him?
  2. Solar power robots – We have two very cool solar powered robots with us today. Some assembly required though!
  3. Guess who’s back? – EVIE! The EV3 LEGO Mindstorm is making a return. She looks a little different though – she’s all prebuilt but needs a few changes made to her code. Ask Adam for more details!

For anyone who prefers traditional coding, we have plenty of robot themed coding games too!

  1. Lightbot – Can you help the robot get to the end of the maze by giving him directions?
  2. Garden Robot – Help the robot water his plants the correct amount before they die!
  3. Bits and Bricks – Can you help Bit save the LEGO Kingdom from the evil Terravirus?
  4. Bitsbox – Make you own app. (Not all robot themed but there’s a dancing one in there!)

For something a bit harder, check out these RoboBlockly tutorials:

  1. Coding Introduction
  2. Math Addition
  3. Robotics
  4. Algebra

Done with robots?

  1. Wonder Woman– This is an awesome game by Made With Code! Code Diana’s fight sequences from the movie
  2. Made With Code – Lots of fun block based games covering everything from fashion design to dancing yetis.
  3. Hour of Code – Dozens of coding activies from Minecraft, The Sims, Disney and many more covering all sorts of coding projects.

A few words before you go…

Image result for congratulations robotTo all our ninjas – you have done awesomely this year at CoderDojo. Everyone has come on so well since their first session and we are so proud of all of you!

We hope that you keep up coding at home and will be posting some activities online over the summer months for you to try.


Image result for thank you robotTo all the parents – thank you for all your support this year. We appreciate the effort put in during the sessions, supporting the kids in their coding and contributions to our fundraising campaigns. Without the support of parents, our dojo would not be able to continue so we are very grateful.

To our mentors – where would we be without you? Thank you to everyone who has attended any of our sessions this year, helped out at external events or assisting in the organisation of the dojo behind the scenes. We hope to see as many of you as possible again in September! For those who are off into the world of employment, we wish all the very best. For those continuing their studies, keep up the great work and if you ever need any help or support from ex-students, just give us a shout!

That’s all from us for 2016/2017. We hope to see you again after the Summer. We plan to resume again with the university term at the end of September but will announce details closer to the time. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to get the latest updates, or sign up to our email newsletter.

Again, thank you all very much!

Natasha and Adam

Saturday 3rd June 2017

Good morning everyone! Well it’s almost the end of term so after today we will have only one more session! We will be planning something really fun so stay tuned for more details on that. 

Some of you may have heard the surprise announcement that The CoderDojo Foundation has officially merged with The Raspberry Pi Foundation and Code Club. This is awesome news for us as it means that the Code Club learning resources are available to us again. (Previously they were restricted to official Code Clubs only) So we will be making use of these a lot more in sessions to come!

We got even more good news this week when we found out our MicroBits have been dispatched. We are looking forward to starting some cool projects with these in September. In the meantime we want you to do a mini research project.What would you do if you had a Micro Bit? We want you to find out a bit more about Micro Bits – (try searching on Google or having a nosy around the Micro Bit website) and then complete the following project page:

If you have finished this, you can continue the CoderDojo sushi cards from a few weeks ago or try the new Code Club lessons:

The CoderDojo sushi card links are below:

The first beginner tutorial is available here: Scratch Beginner Tutorial

For any of our ninjas who have done Scratch before and feel they are ready for something a bit more difficult: Scratch Intermediate Tutorial

For our expert Scratch programmers: Scratch Advanced Tutorial

Once you have completed your Sushi cards, let us know and we can award your Digital Badges!

Finally, many thanks to everyone who has supported our fundraising efforts recently, either through EventBrite, donations or buying our wristbands. You have been more than generous and it is much appreciated. For anyone who missed our last session, we still have wristbands left if you wish to buy one. They cost £1 each and all proceeds go directly into our insurance fund for next term. 
Thank you all. We look forward to seeing you at our next session!

Saturday 20th May 2017

Hi everyone.

Apologies that our last session had to be cancelled!Image result for fidget spinner


Since we’ve seen you all last, a new craze has gripped all schools. Yep, we’re talking about fidget spinners! So we’ve been working on designing our own digital fidget spinner in Scratch. You can check it out here: 

Today, we want all of you to create your own fidget spinner by following the tutorial here: Digital Fidget Spinner Tutorial

Product Design

For all the boys working on the product design project, I want to have the full project ready for publishing by the end of today’s session!

BBC Micro Bits

We are very happy to announce that we have been granted 10 BBC Micro Bits by The CoderDojo Foundation. Micro Bits are mini computers, similar to a Raspberry Pi, which are really fun to code with. They haven’t arrived yet but we are hoping that we receive them before the end of term. If not, they will be our main focus when we return in September.

In the meantime, we want to know: What would you do if you had a Micro Bit? We want all of our ninjas to do a mini research project – find out a bit more about Micro Bits – (try searching on Google or having a nosy around the Micro Bit website) and then complete the following project page:

Upcoming Events

After today, there will only be 2 more sessions before the end of term. These will take place on Saturday 3rd June and Saturday 17th June. We have not yet set a date for the resuming of sessions in September but it will probably be close to the end of the month when the university reopens.

In the meantime, we will be fundraising in order to cover our insurance costs for the new term. Due to the overwhelming success of our JustGiving campaign last year and finding a better deal than expected with a different broker, we have been able to set aside most of the money for next year’s insurance premium. We do have a bit to go though so to make up the remainder of the cost we will be fundraising at the next few sessions by selling Derry CoderDojo wristbands at a price of £1 each. We would appreciate your support in trying to meet our goal and ensure that we can continue to run as a voluntary service in the next school year.

Thank you!

Saturday 22nd April

Good morning everyone!

Hope everyone had a great Easter break!


Our beginners will be continuing with the CoderDojo Sushi cards for Scratch available here:

The first beginner tutorial is available here: Scratch Beginner Tutorial

For any of our ninjas who have done Scratch before and feel they are ready for something a bit more difficult: Scratch Intermediate Tutorial

For our expert Scratch programmers: Scratch Advanced Tutorial

Once you have completed your Sushi cards, let us know and we can award your Digital Badges!

Intermediate Ninjas

We have a few new tutorials for you guys to try out as well based on a number of different topics. Every topic will get you a badge too!

HTML – Learn how to build your first website

JavaScript – Learn how to add interactive features to a website

For any other topics our ninjas want to learn, we recommend Codecademy. There are loads of topics to choose from including Python, SQL and Website design. Check it out here: Codecademy courses

Product Design

Our ninjas who worked on designing their own enclosure did an awesome job and just need to put their design project together for publishing on our website.

These are the sections you need to put together:

  1. Water bottle design – The design you created with all its feature labelled. Include a picture of your model
  2. Features of a good enclosure – Document your research into what features a good enclosure needs
  3. Needs vs Wants – The list you created together which categorised your features into things the enclosure definitely needs and what it doesn’t need but would be cool to have
  4. Final design – A labelled image of your final design


Please note there will be no session on Saturday 6th May.

The next session will take place on Saturday 20th May.

Saturday 8th April 2017


Hi everyone!

Welcome to our Easter session! We have plenty of fun activities planned for today.

If this is your first session or if you missed the last one, please check out our last blog post to get up to date on registering as a dojo member and earning digital badges.

As this is our Easter session, our Scratch game today is an Eggscellent Easter Egg Catch. The tutorial is available here: Scratch Tutorial

Coji the Robot is hosting his very own Egg Hunt! We have hidden some chocolate eggs around the room (Hint – follow the signs!) Each team will have 5 mins to see if they can control Coji to find the eggs. The team who finds the most eggs wins! No cheating! Coji has to go over to where the eggs are – you can’t bring the eggs to Coji!

For our intermediate/advanced ninjas – you can continue with your sushi card activities (Links in our previous blog post) or build a Springtime themed game or website.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Easter! We will see you at our next session on Saturday 22nd April.


Saturday 25th March 2017

Image result for good morning computer

Hi everyone!

Great to see everyone today.

Sorry Adam and I couldn’t make it to the last session but I hear you all got on great with Orla!

In light of some recent feedback, we are going to try a few new things at Derry CoderDojo. We appreciate all comments  from our ninjas, parents and mentors so feel free to have a chat with us during the session, add a comment to this post or contact us online if you have any suggestions.

  1. First of all, we will have a blog post, (just like this one) on our website for the beginning of each session. It will contain all new updates, information and the plan for that session. This will help ninjas who have maybe missed a session to keep up to date with what we’re up to and be a point of reference for parents also. We’ll try it out for a few weeks and if you feel it is helpful we will keep it up.
  2. Due to the fact we are part of the CoderDojo Foundation, we need to be moving towards using their Zen website a bit more. The first step in this is that we now need all ninjas (and mentors!) to be registered as members on it so that the CoderDojo Foundation has a record of numbers. You do not need to register on Zen every week, just the once. If you haven’t already, could all our ninjas take a few minutes now to register on Zen? Just click here and then select “Join Dojo” and follow the instructions. Our events management/tickets will remain on Eventbrite for the time-being, but we may eventually move to using Zen for this also.
  3. Now that you are all members on Zen, we can award you with Digital Badges for completing tasks! There are badges for all sorts of achievements – attendance, learning a new skill, volunteering, etc. The full list of currently available badges is available hereImage result for coderdojo digital badges

Well done everyone – you’ve just earned your first badge just by being here today! We’ll come around soon and award everyone with their badge

So on to earning more badges…

Beginner Ninjas

Welcome to all our new ninjas today! (And everyone who has been with us for a few weeks too!) All of our beginners will be working on Scratch today. We have some awesome new tutorials to work through which will lead on to working on your own projects.

The first beginner tutorial is available here: Scratch Beginner Tutorial

For any of our ninjas who have done Scratch before and feel they are ready for something a bit more difficult: Scratch Intermediate Tutorial

For our expert Scratch programmers: Scratch Advanced Tutorial


Intermediate Ninjas

We have a few new tutorials for you guys to try out as well based on a number of different topics. Every topic will get you a badge too!

HTML – Learn how to build your first website

JavaScript – Learn how to add interactive features to a website

Python – Learn how to program using this widely-used programming language


Product Design

The ninjas who are working on the product design project to design a PC enclosure will be continuing with creating a 3D model of their design and we will review its features and discuss the best way of manufacturing it.

BBC Micro:bit

BBC Microbit is a tiny computer which can be coded to do a lot of fun things.

You can use your BBC micro:bit for all sorts of cool creations, from robots to musical instruments – the possibilities are endless. The micro:bit is a handheld, fully programmable computer being given free to every Year 7 or equivalent child across the UK. It’s 70 times smaller and 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro computers used in schools in the early 1980s.
This little device has an awful lot of features, like 25 red LED lights that can flash messages. There are two programmable buttons that can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist. Your BBC micro:bit can detect motion and tell you which direction you’re heading in, and it can use a low energy Bluetooth connection to interact with other devices and the Internet – clever!
There’s more information available here:
There are endless projects to choose from. The video below shows our first project which is a Micropet which greets you, sleeps and gets scared if you shake it.
If you are interested in buying one there’s a list of retailers here:
We quite liked the bundle available on Tech Will Save Us’s website as it came with some additional hardware to extend your project beyond coding just software. e.g. Crocodile clips, a buzzer, sugru, copper tape
P.S. For a limited time if you use the code techwillsaveus10 you can save 10%

Made with Code | Other Projects

#MadeWithCode is a movement dedicated to inspiring young women to get into coding. They have published a list of their top projects from other sites to help you take your code to the next level in new and exciting ways. From Soccer games in Scratch to LED bracelets with Sew Electric, there’s something for everyone here

Source: Made with Code | Other Projects

CodeCombat – Learn how to code by playing a game

Learn programming with a multiplayer live coding strategy game for beginners. Learn Python or JavaScript as you defeat ogres, solve mazes, and level up. Open source HTML5 game!

Some levels might ask you to sign up for a paid subscription, but just skip this and move on to the next one to continue playing in the free mode.

Join our clan and see how your CoderDojo friends are doing here:

Source: CodeCombat – Learn how to code by playing a game


This is a very useful tool for ninjas working on Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects as it enables you to code on any device via a browser

Source: Wyliodrin


Arduino is an open-source electronics platform. It can be used as an interface between software and hardware components to make fun interactive projects. To date, many projects have been made at Derry CoderDojo including a synthesizer, magic 8 ball and much more.

Don’t have a arduino board? No problem! 123D Circuits is a free online circuit simulator that allows you to create and code arduino projects.This is a very useful tool to test a project before you make it from physical parts.

CultureTECH - Raspberry Pi Demo at BT Young Scientist Tent

CultureTECH – Arduino Demo at BT Young Scientist Tent

The software for writing code to your Arduino board can be downloaded from here

Lego Mindstorms EV3

Our pet Lego Mindstorm is possibly the most loved in our dojo and is a perfect project for all ninjas to get stuck into, regardless of age or coding ability.

Lego Mindstorm EV3 is a customisable robot that can be built from Lego and the EV3 “brain”. The brain is programmable using the Lego software which works similar to Scratch. There is no coding knowledge needed, just an understanding of the logic of how the robot should behave.

If you’d like to give coding your own robot a go, download the software here and simulate your project. Once you have perfected it, bring it to the session and we will download it on to our EV3 and see how it works. There are also some great tutorials on the Lego website. If you need some inspiration, check out some of the videos on YouTube to see what other amazing projects have been developed. (Please note though, for some of the more ambitious projects, more than one EV3 brain is needed, and unfortunately we only have one, so bear this in mind when planning your project)

The Lego Digital Designer is a useful program for building virtual lego models.
A useful feature within the program is the selection of real lego kits. By selecting the EV3 ‘31313’ kit you can virtually build a robot that you could then build for real!

GameMaker: Studio

GameMaker: Studio is a tool we recommend for older ninjas and those who have tried games development previously.

There is no need to have extensive knowledge of coding languages (although if you do it helps!) to build you own game, whether it is a first person shooter for your PC or the latest puzzle craze

Click here to get started in Gamemaker: Studio!

There are also plenty of great tutorials and projects available to help you on the YoYo games website.


Lightbot is a fun game which teaches the logic of programming, without the need for code. It is a lot like Scratch but on a simpler level so is perfect for our very young ninjas and beginners to coding.

This free special edition CoderDojo version of the game takes approximately one hour to complete. It introduces a number of programming concepts such as if-statements and loops without the need to write any code. Click on the image below if you want to give it a go.



Codecademy is one of the top resources that we use at our sessions for many of the topics we teach, including HTML, JavaScript and Python.

We recommend that when you are using this site, sign up for an account and login each time so that you can keep track of how well you are doing and earn special badges as you progress through each section.

Javascript Tutorials

Codecademy present an interactive course on JavaScript in an interactive format and take you through the basics of JS programming for websites. This is perfect for beginners who have never learnt any coding languages.

Khan Academy Tutorials
These tutorials are a great resource for anyone who has completed their HTML website and want to tackle some advanced features such as animations or on-screen coding.


With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.

Click here to get started with Scratch!

For those who want to get creative anywhere, an offline version of Scratch can be downloaded here.

Resources and tutorials

There are plenty of resources and tutorials online to get you started with Scratch. We recommend following the ‘Getting Started with Scratch’ guide which can be downloaded from here. This will give you a good understanding of how Scratch works so you can learn to create your own projects!

Further examples of what you can make in Scratch can be downloaded from here

Our Scratch resources from the This Is Not A Game launch are available for free and can be downloaded here. Everything you need to create your own ocean inspired game is there.