For Hacktoberfest 2019 I updated the Code4Kids Level 1 Camp source files. We learned quite a bit from our second go-around with this camp. Some of the projects were dropped because they were too complicated, so I replaced them with much more straightforward projects.
I also dropped the concept of badges. I thought the students would be more motivated if I “game-ified” the camp and celebrated their progress like a game awarding experience points. We never needed the badges to increase motivation, however, as all the students were engaged throughout the entire week of the camp! Since we’re so tangible throughout the camp, I think the students were able to see and celebrate their progress without resorting to game-ification.
The multi-day cardboard maze project was a big hit! Instead of just drawing a maze and watching the robot follow it, this year we had the students build their own maze with cardboard pieces. As we learned new skills, we returned to the maze to try them out. For example, we first drew lines inside the maze to see if the robot could make it out. Then we added color codes to help the robot know which way to turn when it was confused. Then we programmed the robot with visual code blocks to get through the maze. It provided an iterative learning experience that helped them transfer knowledge across domains. Big hit! And many thanks to Roberta for cutting four hundred pieces of cardboard to make it happen!