Laser lights speckled the packed gymnasium at Richmond Elementary School while synthesized computer music played in the background for the Coding Quest Arcade.
Grade 4 and 5 students from across School District 61 lined the tables with poster boards and laptops to show off computer games they had spent the past two months coding into fruition.
Students could design their games any way they liked using a program called “Scratch,” resulting in a variety of different playing styles, themes, and controls.
One group of students programmed a game where solving math problems would get you music notes so you could bring back music and save the world. Another group created a maze where you had to avoid hitting the walls, while other students tried to bring back a “retro” game.
“All my classmates kept saying ‘You know, bottle flipping is dead,’” said Andrew Makela, grade 5 student at View Royal Elementary School. “I told them ‘yeah, but not for long!’”
|Andrew Makela, grade 5, (left) and Brendan Campbell, grade 4 at View Royal Elementary School, show off their video game ” The Ultimate Bottle Flip” at the Coding Quest Arcade. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS|
Makela and his friend Brendan Campbell, grade 4, designed a game called “The Ultimate Bottle Flip” that lets you pick your brand of a pop bottle (accompanied by a pair of sunglasses) and perfect flipping it to land upright.
Pheifer Pemborton and his friend Kieran Smith, both grade 5 students at Rogers Elementary School, made a game called “Slimy Adventures: Lab Edition,” a platform-based game where you try to avoid dangerous chemicals.
Pemborton said his favourite part was learning the code, and Smith said his favourite was designing the backdrops.
“Probably the hardest part was making the platforms,” Smith said. “We made it all from scratch—pun intended!”
Patti Ross is a grade 5 teacher at Rogers Elementary School, and said she was happy her students were learning the program because it also taught them a lot of life skills.
“It’s a great experience, there’s a lot of teamwork that goes into it, problem solving, and working through challenges, ” Ross said. “Sometimes there games don’t work so they have to ask each other for help.”
When asked why learning code was important, students had several reasons.
“Because then you can make fun games, and you can make people happy, and you can make yourself happy by making them,” said Destiny Peltier, grade 5 student at Rogers.
“Maybe like engineering, if you were making computers you’d need to learn code,” said grade 5 Rogers student Marin O’Regan. When asked if she wanted to be a computer engineer, O’Regan shrugged. “Maybe!”