Saturday 16th December 2017 – #LetItCode

LetItCodeGood morning everyone and welcome to our final session of this term!

We have lots of fun activities planned for this morning!

Micro:Bit Tree

Image result for christmas tree

The moment we have all been waiting for – the great Micro:Bit tree switch-on! Well done on all your great work on this kids – it was tough but we got there eventually!

Image result for hour of codeHour of Code

Computer Science Education Week took place recently so to celebrate we will be working on some Hour of Code activities. There are loads to choose from and some of them feature your favourite characters from Minecraft, Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Barbie, The Amazing World of Gumball and many more. The full range of activities is available here:

Party Time!

Image result for rudolphNow that we have completed our Hour of Code, it’s time to get this party started! We have some party games lined up such as Pin The Nose On Rudolph and Pass The Parcel. We also have digital versions of party games on our Scratch page so you can play on your PC –

If you’d like to continue with your coding, why not try another Hour of Code activity or make your own party game in Scratch or on a MicroBit.

We also have our Festive Photo Booth so that you can take a Christmas Selfie. Don’t forget to tag us on Twitter and Facebook if you post them online!


As the term ends, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support this year. Without the support of our parents, mentors and most importantly our ninjas, we would not be able to run our dojo. We hope you have enjoyed our sessions this year and look forward to resuming at the end of January (dates to be confirmed and will be announced on social media and by email) We wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Image result for merry christmas


Tech Toys

Looking for some techy toys this Christmas? Then check out our top Christmas gifts!

BBC Micro:Bit

We have been using these over the past few weeks in our dojo and they are awesome. Coding can be done either using a block-based approach (similar to Scratch) or for more advanced users JavaScript or Python. With two programmable buttons and an LED matrix screen as well as the ability to add additional components such as battery packs, buzzers and much more, there are endless possibilities for these little gadgets.

Price: Starts from around £15 for the Micro:Bit by itself but kits with additional components are also available.

Where to buy: Available at Maplin, Kitronik, Pimoroni, The Pi Hut, Tech Will Save Us

Image result for bbc microbit


Another of the favourites at Derry CoderDojo. Coji is an app-controlled robot which you program using emojis. An excellent introduction to coding and perfect for kids from age 4 and up. An Apple or Android tablet is required to control Coji. We use an Amazon Fire Tablet 7 for ours.

Price: £40

Where To Buy: Amazon (currently £29.99 for Prime users), Argos, Toys R Us

Image result for coji

Coder MIP

Coder MIP is a more advanced robot than Coji made by the same manufacturer WowWee. Coder MIP is programmed using a block-based system similar to Scratch and  Micro:Bit Make Code. As well as being programmable, MIP can be controlled using gestures. A tablet is required for the programming aspect of this toy.

Price: £60

Where To Buy: Smyths Toys

Image result for coder mip robot

MIO Robot

MIO Robot by The Science Museum is a build-your-own robot kit which doesn’t just teach programming skills but also electronics. This is great for kids aged 10 and up who like to take a hands-on approach to trying something new. There seems to be two different types of packaging but as far as we can see, they seem to be the same product.

Price: £30

Where TO Buy: Smyths Toys, Amazon UK, The Robot Shop

Mio The Robot Programmable Robot Toy (English)- Click to EnlargeImage result for mio robot







An Arduino is the perfect gadget for kids (and adults) who love to tinker with electronics. It is like a supercharged version of a BBC Micro:Bit. It is a mini computer which can be connected to virtually any electronic device to make some awesome projects. We’d recommend buying a starter kit which has a number of components with it in order to start your first project. After that, Maplin sells individual components when you have your own projects to build and know exactly what you need.

Price: Starter kit prices vary depending on contents but are approx. £65-£85

Where To Buy: RS Components, Maplin, Amazon UK

Image result for arduino

Raspberry Pi

A Raspberry Pi is similar to an Arduino but is a lot less focused on integrating it with other components. It can be connected to other devices to create an awesome project but is also great to useful for projects which are solely software based. There are plenty of online resources explaining what a Pi can be used for but some projects we have seen include creating your own retro games emulator, running Scratch applications or building a mini server. You’ll need a monitor, keyboard and mouse to connect to your Pi. Also some knowledge of coding in Python is useful for most projects.

Price: standalone Raspberry Pi’s cost around £20 but starter kits start from around £50. If purchasing a standalone Raspberry Pi, we also recommend buying a Pi case to hold the PC in and protect it. These cost around £10

Where To Buy: Maplin, Kitronik, Pimoroni, The Pi Hut

Image result for raspberry Pi

Robot Arm Kit

Build your own controllable hydraulic robotic arm. Another toy for the makers out there who like to build things and work with electronics. Not a lot of programming involved with this toy but plenty of tinkering to be done!

Price: £30

Where To Buy: Argos, Smyths Toys, Maplin

Image result for robot arm kit


These robots by Meccano are fun interactive robots that you can program to walk, turn and smash through obstacles. There are 3 varieties to choose from and if you have more than one, they can interact with each other. Micronoids love music and dance along when they hear it!

Price: £20 – £30

Where To Buy:, Smyths Toys, Toys R Us

Image result for micronoid

Sphero Mini

Sphero Mini is a small programmable robotic ball which can be controlled to scoot about using the Sphero mobile app or can be programmed in a Scratch-like environment using Sphero Edu. They are available in a range of funky colours.

Price: £40 – £50

Where To Buy: IWOOT, Firebox

Image result for sphero mini sphero eduImage result for sphero mini sphero edu


(There are other programmable products in the Sphero range which have different programming capabilites. Sphero Sprk+ is very programmable whereas the Star Wars/Cars ranges are less programmable. So check them out on the website first to see if this is the product you are looking for. If you are looking for a product for a coder, stick to the ones compatible with the Sphero Edu app)

Anything From Tech Will Save Us

We couldn’t decide on what we liked most from this website so we’re just got to recommend the lot! Tech Will Save Us specialise in maker kits for kids to build their own projects. These range from synths to electronic play dough for circuit work, Micro:Bit projects, weather stations and so much more. The website is also regularly updated with fun projects to try with your kits.

Price: Varies

Where To Buy: Tech Will Save Us



Prices are a guide only and were correct at the time of writing this post.

We recommend shopping about to see the best price and also checking YouTube to see if there are any unboxing videos which review the products

We have restricted our list to include items which are around £20-£50 (although we have made some exceptions) but there are other robots, etc. which cost a lot more. Their exclusion from this list doesn’t mean that they aren’t also great toys. If you are considering these more expensive items, definitely do some research first and check out online reviews.

Saturday 2nd December 2017

Good morning everyone and welcome to part 2 of our Christmas project!

A quick note for parents

We had a very large email newsletter list (over 500 addresses!) and very few people reading them so we decided to clean out our list so that only people who wanted to hear from us would get our emails. We didn’t want to be spamming anyone! So if you previously signed up to our newsletter, you’ll need to resubscribe. You can do this here:

Secondly, we have launched our Annual Survey in order to get some feedback on our sessions this year, but particularly in the last term. We would much appreciate if you could take a few minutes to complete this at some stage before the next session. The survey is available here:

Micro:Bit Christmas Tree

Well done to everyone who got their Micro:Bits to light up at the same time during the last session. Now it’s over to the hard part – getting them all to play music at the same time!

So I know a lot of you got your Micro:Bit to play Jingle Bells but just couldn’t get it to play at the same time as your friend’s one. After a lot of headscratching, brainstorming and help from Elliot we found the cause and started working on a solution.


When a Micro:Bit started, it would immediately start to play Jingle Bells and send signals to other Micro:Bits. When another Micro:Bit started, it would receive the signals and also start to play Jingle Bells. When the third Micro:Bit started, it would also receive the signals and start the play Jingle Bells. The problem was that the Micro:Bits all received the signals at different times and when they did, they always started at the beginning of the song, even though any other connected Micro:Bit had already started and might be one the second or third line of the song.

Micro:Bit 1: STARTS    Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way! Oh what fun it is to…

Micro:Bit 2:                                  STARTS    Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way! Oh…

Micro:Bit 3:                                                                   STARTS    Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle



After some discussion we decided that we needed a conductor to make sure that all the Micro:Bits were playing the same part of the song at the same time.

Image result for bugs bunny conductor gif

What we have done is created two programs – one which will go on just one Micro:Bit and one which will go on the other 19.

The first program is the conductor. It controls what line of Jingle Bells should be currently played by broadcasting a signal to the other Micro:Bits what line it wants them to play.

The other program is for the other 19 Micro:Bits. This program waits for a signal from the conductor and plays the correct line of song based on the number it has received. This means that even if a Micro:Bit joins in late, it will join in at the same part of the song that the other Micro:Bits are playing.

We’ve been working on these all week and haven’t quite got it right yet so we’re hoping you awesome coders will be able to help us figure it out!


First of all, here is a quick refresher of what functions are and why we use them:

As you all know, computer programs are a set of instructions that tell a computer what to do. Instructions can get very long and complicated. If we had to give instructions to each other the way we need to tell a computer,we would never get anything done!

For example, an instruction your mum might give you is “Please go to the shop and get a pint of milk for me.” That is probably all you would need to know. But if your mum was to tell a computer this she would have to say “Walk to the front door (and tell the computer where the door is) and walk to the shop (and give exact directions to the shop). Enter the shop (It needs to know how to open the door!) Get a pint of milk – it needs to know what is milk? Where will it find it? How will it pick it up? Go to the till (Where is the till?) Pay for the milk – how does it do this? etc. So you can see that very quickly computer programs can get very complicated. To deal with this, we use functions.

We create a function called GoToTheShop and code it with all the instructions needed for the computer to go to the shop. We can also create a function called GetMilk which has the instructions for finding the milk, PayForItems which has the instructions for how to pay and ComeHome which has the instructions for finding your house again.

This makes it simpler because now we can say to the computer – GoToTheShop, GetMilk, PayForItems, ComeHome.

This is much easier than listing out all the instructions individually every single time. We can also reuse the functions so maybe the next day our instructions could look like GoToTheShop, GetBread, PayForItems, ComeHome.” –


We use functions when we are going to to the same thing lots of times in the one program. In this program we have created a function called sendSignal. Now instead of having to create 4 new blocks every time we want to send a signal to the other Micro:Bits we just call the sendSignal function.


This on start block is similar to the one we have been using for our lights. It makes sure that all the Micro:Bits are communicating on the same channel.


This is our sendSignal function. Everytime sendSignal is called, it does the same thing. It sends “Start” to the other Micro:Bits then it adds one to the Bar counter variable. The Bar counter is used to say which line of the song should be played. It is sent to the other Micro:Bits and also to the LEDs of the Conductor so that we can watch what it is sending out.








This very long block of code is the Conductor following the song. It doesn’t make any sound itself, it just controls what part of the song the other Micro:Bits should be at and sends the signals by calling the sendSignal function.

Image result for conductor orchestra definition

****HANDY HINT ****

If you want to work on your next program without closing your Conductor program. Work on your next program in a different browser. e.g. Microsoft Edge or Chrome.


The program for the 19 musicians is a little bit more complicated.

First we need to make 14 functions – one for each line of the song. Start with line0 and create one for every number up to line13:


Our next step is to code each function with the notes for that line. Each function plays its own line of the song then calls the function for the next line.




We also need our on start block which tells the Micro:Bit what channel to operate on.


We have one more block to add now, and it’s a big one, but an easy one! This block tells the Micro:Bit what to do every time it receives a signal from the conductor.


In theory, this should all be working. (This is said a lot when we are coding!) It’s nearly there, but it’s just not quite in sync yet. Have you any ideas how we can get it together?

Get together in groups of 3-4 ninjas and put the conductor code on one Micro:Bit and the musician on the others. You might need to spread out across the room a bit to make sure other groups aren’t communicating with yours. Or you can change the Set group block to something other than 12 that only your group will use.


Christmas Tree

For a bonus activity today,  use TinkerCAD to design your own Micro:Bit Christmas Tree.

If you are under the age of 13, ask your parent/guardian to create an account on

Complete the short tutorials and get stuck into designing your tree.

Some things to consider:

  1. There are 20 Micro:Bits that need added to the tree
  2. How will the tree stand?
  3. How will the Micro:Bits be attached to the tree?
  4. Will there be other decorations on the tree?

You never know – we might use some of your ideas when building our tree!


Christmas Session

That’s all from us today. Our next session on Saturday 16th December will be our final session of the term. We will be celebrating Computer Science Education Week by hosting our annual #HourOfCode session. Some exciting tutorials have been launched by for this year’s activities! We can’t wait! We hope to see you there.






Saturday 17th November 2017

Hi everyone!

So let’s get the important business out of the way – The Great Pudsey Duck Race!

pudsey**DRUM ROLL**

1st Place – GOLDEN DUCK


3rd Place – DISCO DUCK

We held a few draws with friends and family and the employees of Fast Technologies and in total raised £90!

Our winners were Lucas White, Michael McConnell and Gerry Reddin.

Thank you everyone for your support!

Countdown To Christmas

Believe it or not but it is only…

Image result for 37 sleeps until christmas

But even more importantly, there are only 3 more CoderDojo sessions of this term (including today).

So we are going to begin working on a Christmas themed project! How about we make our very own CoderDojo Christmas Tree decorated with Micro:Bits?

Activity 1

At the last session you were working with the LED lights on the Micro:Bits. One of the bonus activities was based on Fireflies and showed how to synchronise them together so that they all light up at the same time. We want everyone to work on this activity today to see if we can get all of our Micro:Bits working together.

The activity is available here:

Activity 2

Our second activity is all about sound. Can you make your Micro:Bit play a Christmas song?

Below is the code to create Jingle Bells:


Can you make your Micro:Bit play Jingle Bells using the code above?

Can you make the song go faster when you press A and slower when you press B?

(***HINT – Use the tempo block ***)

Activity 3

So now you can make your Micro:Bit light up and make sound – but can you make it do both together?

Open your Fireflies project and add your Jingle Bells code to it

Bonus Activity

Can you make your Micro:Bit synchronise it’s music with the other Micro:Bits?

That’s all from us for today. We look forward to seeing you at the next session!



Science Week at Carndonagh Library

Good evening everyone!

Welcome to this very special session taking place at Carndonagh Library to announce their newest venture – Carndonagh Coding Club!

This evening, whilst the parents find out more about coding from Natasha, the kids are going to work with Adam to create some very cool projects.

I’m sure you have all seen the Google Doodles. On special days, Google updates their logo on their homepage to celebrate a special occasion, highlight an important issue or remember a famous person.


Sometimes the doodles are images, but sometimes they are animations or games. Let’s see what awesome Doodles you can make.

Go to the following link and watch the introductory video:

The program we will be using to create these Doodles is called Scratch. It is a bit like LEGO as you put blocks together to make something. Although instead of making a building or character, you will be making a computer program.

You can open Scratch by clicking on the following link:

The project will already have the Google letters added to it. Watch the videos on the CS First website to find out how to animate your letters (

Have fun!

We hope you all enjoyed tonight’s session!

Thank you to Ursula and Carmel for inviting us to this very special occasion. We wish you all the best with your coding adventures!


Saturday 4th November 2017

Good morning everyone!

2017-11-02_1021We would like to begin this morning’s session by first thanking Mr. Niall McKeever of Airporter Ltd. for his kind generosity in sponsoring 10 microbits and accessories of buzzers and neopixel led lights for the microbits bits for use at Derry Coderdojo.

We greatly appreciate his help!


2017-11-02_1030.pngNext, as I’m sure you are all aware, Children In Need is just around the corner! To get into the spirit of things we are taking part in Pudsey’s duck race. We have a list of 20 very funky ducks who will be taking part in a BBC Duck Race on Friday 17 November. You can sponsor a duck for £2. On Friday 17 November at 1pm, the Children In Need Facebook page will broadcast the race.

The person with the winning duck will receive a prize of £10 and the remainder of the money raised will be donated to Children In Need. If you would like to take part, just let Orla know. She will have the sponsor sheet to choose your lucky duck and the donation box also.

Today’s activities are all about learning how to control the LEDs on the Micro:Bits. There are quite a few tasks here so don’t worry if you don’t get it finished, we can continue at the next session.



For our first activity today, we need to review what a grid is.

Grids are a type of diagram that can be used to represent the position of something. e.g. on a map.

A coordinate grid is the layout of a group of parallel horizontal and vertical lines that cross each other at 90 degrees and the points at which they cross are called coordinate points.


scratchgridFor our ninjas who are used to working with Scratch, you will be familiar with their grid structure. The centre of your Stage is Scratch is at co-ordinate (0,0). The edges of the Stage are at -180 and 180 as shown in the diagram to the left.

The lines are known as the axis and are labelled X and Y. A useful way to remember this is “X is a cross and Y’s (wise) up”

Micro:Bit LEDs

As you know, our Microbits have a set of red lights on the front of them. These are called LEDs. We have already used these lights to show numbers, text and even some images, however today we are going to learn how to control each light individually.

When coding your Microbit, each light has its own name which is its co-ordinate. The diagram below shows the co-ordinates of every LED light on the Microbit.microbit leds

Activity 1 – Battleships

Before we do any coding today, we are going to play a game called Battleships. Find a partner to play in groups of 2.

Now each player has to draw a grid which has 5 rows and 5 columns. It should be labelled to look like the grid below:


Now you need to draw three battleships on your grid. Don’t let the other player see where they are!! Your 3 ships should be 3 different sizes – 1 should be only the size of 1 square, one should be 1 square wide and 2 squares long and the last one should be one square wide and 3 squares long. Your grid should now look something like this but with your ships in different places.


The next step is to actually play! Player 1 goes first and circles one of the squares on their grid. They call out the co-ordinate of this square.

For example if they drew on the first square, they would call out (0,0)


Player 2 now has to look at their grid at (0,0) and see if they have a ship in it. If they do, they call “HIT” and draw an X on it. Player 1 gets a point and can take another turn. If their square is blank, they call “MISS” and it is now their turn. If your ship is covered in X’s (1 x for your smallest ship, 2 for the middle one, 3 for the largest) your ship will sink and you must tell the other player. Once all your ships have been sunk, you are out of the game. The winner will be the other player.


Activity 2 – Controlling Micro:Bit LEDs

For our next activity, we are going to code the Micro:Bits to display different patterns by controlling each individual LED.

Go to the Micro:Bit coding website:

Create the following scripts:


Run your code and see what happens.

What happens if you change the value beside the pause block?

Now you know how to control the LEDs on your micro:bit!

Activity 3 – Random Pattern Generator

Now start a new project and add the following script to your code:


The first script (when A pressed) clears your lights and then randomly chooses 4 LEDs to switch on. The second script (when B pressed) code checks if an led (0,0) is on/off .

Try changing the second script to check a different coordinate or select a random LED instead.

Activity 4 – Code your own

Can you code your Micro:Bit to show the letters C when Button A  is pressed, O when Button B is pressed, D when A+B is pressed and E when the Micro:Bit is shaken?

Activity 5 – Screen savers

There are loads of different shapes you can make now that you can control LEDs individually. Why not try out some of these examples?





Try experimenting with some of the values to see how the patterns change.


As you all know, computer programs are a set of instructions that tell a computer what to do. Instructions can get very long and complicated. If we had to give instructions to each other the way we need to tell a computer,we would never get anything done!

For example, an instruction your mum might give you is “Please go to the shop and get a pint of milk for me.” That is probably all you would need to know. But if your mum was to tell a computer this she would have to say “Walk to the front door (and tell the computer where the door is) and walk to the shop (and give exact directions to the shop). Enter the shop (It needs to know how to open the door!) Get a pint of milk – it needs to know what is milk? Where will it find it? How will it pick it up? Go to the till (Where is the till?) Pay for the milk – how does it do this? etc. So you can see that very quickly computer programs can get very complicated. To deal with this, we use functions.

We create a function called GoToTheShop and code it with all the instructions needed for the computer to go to the shop. We can also create a function called GetMilk which has the instructions for finding the milk, PayForItems which has the instructions for how to pay and ComeHome which has the instructions for finding your house again.

This makes it simpler because now we can say to the computer – GoToTheShop, GetMilk, PayForItems, ComeHome.

This is much easier than listing out all the instructions individually every single time. We can also reuse the functions so maybe the next day our instructions could look like GoToTheShop, GetBread, PayForItems, ComeHome.

Activity 6 – Using Functions

In this activity, we are going to code our own functions.

The blocks needed for some of this activity can be found under Advanced and then choosing Make A Function

The scripts you will create are:


Bonus Activity 1

If you have completed the other activities, you can begin working on the Firefly project which can be found here:

Make sure you click on the link to find out more about fireflies first:

This activity uses the radio commands we learnt about during the last session.

Bonus Activity 2

In this activity you will code your own Micro:Bit doorbell. The instructions are available here:

Bonus Activity 3

In this activity you will create your own Microbit step-counter watch:


Only joking! As a rule, we do not give homework at CoderDojo. But if you wanted you could finish off the bonus activities or even check out the following websites for more coding ideas:

That’s all folks!

We hope you enjoyed today’s session and look forward to seeing you on Saturday 18th November.

Good luck to all the participants in our BBC Children In Need duck race! Prizes will be awarded at the next session.

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.