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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Extension challenge: each week there’s a different game, puzzle or activity to work through that links to the code in the video
I am in awe of primary teachers who are managing to teach students in school and send out home learning videos and resources at the same time. Thank you and well done!
6 years ago I worked with some amazing primary teachers across York to come up with some resources for the introduction of Computing to the National Curriculum for England including some keyword posters to help with the weird and wonderful words used in the computing programme of study.
To help with remote learning, I’ve put together a load of free online activities that students can do on (almost) any device without needing to sign up or login. They’re all based around keywords and definitions linked to each part of the KS1 and KS2 Computing programme of study.
There are loads of other computing resources out there but I hope that these save someone some time and stress.
All of the activities are designed to work without needing to log in or sign up, but if you make a (free) teacher account then you can create competitions so you can track the score, accuracy and progress for each game. Go to https://tools.withcode.uk/keywords/user/ to create an account or manage your competitions.
Students don’t need to make accounts to take part in your competitions – they’ll be asked to enter their names and a code (which you decide when you make the competition). If you share this code with your students you can keep it private so that only your students can join in.
Students can’t see each other’s names – you’re the only one that can do that. Personal data is encrypted and stored in the UK to be GDPR compliant. You can find out more here or contact me if you have any questions.
Here’s a collection of free interactive python challenges for GCSE Computer Science. They’re designed to follow the Edexcel GCSE (first teaching 2020).
This page is a work in progress and I hope to add more activities over time. You’ll see progress bars for each topic. Click on these for interactive, self marking python challenges. As you complete each challenge, your score will update on the progress bars. You can enter your name and generate a certificate for each activity: