1.5-hour Long Project for Middleschool-Aged Kids (Grades 6-8)

If you had 1.5 hours to teach 5 kids between the ages of 11 and 13 whom you've never met before and will never meet again with experience ranging from nothing to basic knowledge of objects, variables, loops and methods, what would you do? At each of the kids' disposal is a Microsoft Surface Pro with USB mouse, Windows 10, fast Internet, Chrome, Python 3 interpreter, PyCharm Educational Edition, Notepad++.


  • In the past, I've sat kids in front of PyCharm Educational Edition and had them work on its built-in tutorial. They were able to grasp it pretty well, but they got bored very quickly - somewhere between instantly and after 10 minutes, depending on age mostly. I've also tried coderacademy.org with similar results.

    I tried setting up a Propeller environment and that failed miserably. Too many kids, too many bugs/quirks/complications.

    I don't know what I can teach them that will keep all five interested at the same time.
  • In the Raspberry Pi world, there are a number of module on programming Mine craft with Python. If there's a Mine craft that could be run on the Surface, you could adapt those modules. Or trade those Surfaces in for Raspberry Pis!

    Check out he Learn section at raspberrypi.org

    Kids still like Minecraft, no??
  • Without the Minecraft environment setup on the tablets, we'd spend most of the time getting that ready. Same as when I tried to setup a propeller environment.

    I don't have access to the tablets to install anything before the kids arrive. Raspberry Pis we hopefully coming in 2016.
  • Setup the propeller environment on a USB stick ahead of time?
  • Setup the propeller environment on a USB stick ahead of time?

    That's a group at idea! I hadn't thought of that. I can't recall if the tablets have one or two USB porta
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