When the first lockdown started in March 2020 I wanted my Computing students to still be able to get some regular practice building up their skills and confidence with python programming, so I launched a series of weekly challenges that they could work through.

I took a break over the Summer but found that even with schools open for face to face teaching, I still wanted students to be able to compete against each other for prizes and grow in confidence with python programming. So in November I relaunched the live.withcode.uk weekly activities.

The challenges are aimed at my awesome Y10 Computer Science students but anyone from Y7 – Y11 who’s interested in python programming could use them. The idea is that each week there are 5 free activities that you can dip into:

  1. Live coding video on YouTube: students can watch a short (around 10 mins) video showing how a python program comes together. There’s some great research that shows live coding (inviting students into the thought processes as they see a program evolve from start to finish) can really help understanding and writing their own code.
  2. Code type race: students of any ability can type out the code from the video to grow in speed and accuracy so that programming becomes a less frustrating experience for them.
  3. Experimenting with code: students can view, edit, run and extend the code from the video on any device. The code itself has comments with challenges that students can work through.
  4. KPRIDE (Keywords, Predict, Run, Investigate, Debug, Extend): Dr Sue Sentance published some ground breaking research on a structured approach to teaching programming and KPRIDE builds on her PRIMM model with interactive activities that add an extra emphasis on code comprehension and debugging.
  5. Extension challenge: each week there’s a different game, puzzle or activity to work through that links to the code in the video

You can find all the resources here: live.withcode.uk

There are loads of great resources out there. I’m not claiming that mine are the best (by any stretch of the imagination!). But they’re free and I hope they’re helpful.

All the best and do get in touch if you have any feedback or suggestions.