Star Wars For Hour Of Code
Monday, 16 November 2015

Code.org has again teamed up with Disney to create its new tutorial for the 2015 hour of Code. This time the theme, characters and soundtrack come from Star Wars - which should give it a wide appeal.

As with last year's choice of Frozen for its tutorial, Code.org is keen to appeal to girls, something that is immediately apparent in its display banner which depicts Rey and Princess Leia, along with R2-D2 and our new hero BB-8:

starwarshourofcodebanner

 

The latest videos added to the growing catalog of promotional videos is also shamelessly sexist featuring only women and girls, even though the message professed at the start by Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg is that boys and girls should have equal opportunity when it comes to programming.

 

 

A beta of Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code is already available in advance of Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13 when over 80,000 Hour of Code events are organized worldwide.

What is striking from this preview is the level and quality of help that is provided for kids and their teachers in the accompanying videos, also incidentally presented entirely by women.

In the introductory segment Kathleen Kennedy, producer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduces BB-8, the spherical droid that in the film, as in the game, is entirely software controlled. 

 

 

Then Rachel Rose, the Lead Engineer for the Animation Team explains how using a mix of drag and drop blocks (Blockly)  and JavaScript participants are going to build a star wars game.

 

swbegin

 

The first few tasks of the activity use blocks to guide BB-8 but the level then ramps up.

As Charita Carter explains:

Now that you've learned the basics of programming, we're going to back in time to build your own game, starring R2-D2 and C3PO. To make a game, we need to learn about something that game programmers use every day: they're called events. Events tell your program to listen or wait for when something happens and then when it does, it performs an action. Some examples of events are listening for a mouse click, an arrow button or a tap on the screen. Here we're going to make R2-D2 move up to deliver a message to a rebel pilot and then move down to the other rebel pilot.

By the end of the activity all participants should have a sense of having achieved something and have gained an insight into the power of code.

As reported previously, see The Hour Of Code Needs You, Code.org is asking for volunteers to help teachers who have requested technical help. However, teachers who opt to use the Star Wars tutorial can rest assured that this choice should enable them to cope unassisted - and they might even enjoy the experience of preparing for the lesson.

starwarshourofcodesq

 

More Information

Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code

Hour of Code

Volunteer for the Hour of Code

Related Articles

The Hour Of Code Needs You

A New Hour Of Code 

President Obama Experiences An Hour of Code 

Teaching Coding To The Next Generation

Teach Code In School - Before It's Too Late!

 

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Last Updated ( Monday, 16 November 2015 )