Battleship Challenge

Ok, so we have done a few games and puzzles in Scratch. How about creating a game  we have not done before from the ground up – outlining it, designing it, prototyping it and then making it work?

Ever played Battleships a two player game where each opponent guesses the location of the other player’s ships? When you have hit all your opponent’s ships or your opponent has hit yours the game ends. There are different size ships and there’s sound effects to boot!



Its a simple game, surely we can do it in Scratch right!  – well lets think it through….

  • Its a two player game, and each player has a board
  • You have to guess where the players pieces are – you can’t see your opponents pieces and your opponent can’t see yours
  • You have to keep track of your moves and the score

So here’s some food for thought:

  • It’s a big game to put together, you won’t be able to do it in one session
  • you probably won’t be able to do it on your own – so how about doing it in a group?
  • What are the difficult bits to this?
  • How will I model the game?
  • What approach will best fit the requirements of the game
  • How will I see if my approach will work?

Lets see if we can work this up over the  next few weeks, maybe there’s a few groups that need to work together here to come to the final solution – including the Mentors!

Scratch workshop in Dun Laoghaire pop up shop

We had two short Scratch workshops on Sunday 8th September in the pop up shop near the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire, kindly facilitated by Cian and Stephen of

It was a great opportunity for us to let some of the people on our long waitlist have a taste of the CoderDojo experience, and we were able to accommodate nearly 40 kids on the day.

Francis, Andrew, and our new mentor Rebecca worked with all the attendees during the two sessions and everyone really enjoyed it.  Thanks to all who helped and also to those who came along, at least those who made it have got a little start to Scratch and will hopefully carry on while they are waiting to get a place in CoderDojo.

A few pics from the day (click to enlarge):

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Coolest Projects had some really cool stuff!

The Coolest Projects event took place in DCU on the afternoon of Saturday 31 August, and there was, again, amazing talent on display.

Bill Liao opened the event to a packed house



I really enjoyed wandering around talking to the great young coders, who had come from as far away as Armagh, about their fascinating projects.  Their talent is really awesome to behold.  For example, I talked to Niamh Scanlon (whose project was entitled “Inspire”; she was truly inspiring!), who at age 11 is mentoring in DCU!  To give you an idea of the sort of stuff on display, I’m showing photos of some of them below:


Game of Cups by Tadhg White was great fun, you had to guess which cup the ball was under by tapping the cup, which would then rise up to reveal whether you had guessed right or not!  Beside Tadhg was his sister, Keelin was demonstrating her fantastic project “Tune Recorder”.



Aidan Molloy, who previously displayed at the Coolest Projects, was back again this year with “Taken World”, an online multiplayer strategy game, which he says has taken him a few hours a day for the best part of a year to develop.



Catrina Carrigan was at the Coolest Projects last year, demoing her music project.  Her music website is now to be used in UK education.  This year, the incredibly talented Catrina was back with her app for Beaumont Hospital.



The CoderDojo DCU website was being displayed by Joel Rajesh, who is all of 12 years old and only started CoderDojo in June.  Additionally, Joel had a fun driving game on show.


You may have seen Will Goodbody’s report on RTE from the Coolest Projects.  Here he is interviewing Adam Barry about his app “Pickup Lines”.  Although Will is on his knees, he is still taller than Adam!



Mitchell Dey’s “Robot Arm” project was getting a lot of attention.  He says he spent about 2 to 3 weeks learning Python in order to develop his project.


Joshua Murray had 3 “Retrogames” on display, all built in Scratch – he borrowed his brother’s and his mum’s laptops to display everything on.  Joshua is a member of DCU CoderDojo and is currently looking for Transition Year work experience.  If anyone can help, please get in touch with him at


Ten year old Ryan Sheridan, also of DCU CoderDojo, was showing off his project “Skate Parks in Dublin” which shows details and photos of various skate parks, and also includes a video of Ryan himself demonstrating his skateboarding skills.  Ryan has been working with HTML and CSS and is pictured here with his little brother.


There was a room where groups of coders could try out different things:


I didn’t understand any of it, but they all seemed to be having a great time!

Eugene of Hello World Foundation was busy with his camera, and when I find out where he has uploaded his pictures I’ll add a link.



I hope these pictures have given you a flavour of the day, and I look forward to seeing several of our Dun Laoghaire coders attending next year’s Coolest Projects, which I think are going to be moved forward to June, so start coding now!

Sandra Maguire

Organiser, CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire


Dun Laoghaire at the Dail Dojo

We had a total blast at the Dáil Dojo on Wednesday 3rd July, with the 5 attendees from Dun Laoghaire being Philip Doyle, Eric & Luke Kilmartin, Lily-Ann Cunningham and Sinead O’Carroll.  Our newest mentor, Rebekah Clarke was kind enough to volunteer to come along, and she was both impressed and impressive!  For me, it was an absolute privilege to be there; I keep being blown away by what these fantastic young people are producing.

As the Dáil AV room isn’t big enough to take all 50 coders, their parents and the mentors, we gathered in 17 Molesworth Street (the Freemasons’ Hall) from 1pm, with pizza being delivered courtesy of UPC at 2 pm.  CoderDojo t-shirts were also distributed, which is a nice keepsake from the day.  We were divided into 2 groups, Dun Laoghaire being in the second one.  The first group presented in the Dáil at 3.30 pm and the second at 4.15 pm.  Five attendees from each group were sought to present a project on the big screen in the Dáil AV room and Philip Doyle did Dun Laoghaire proud, presenting his Scratch-based Dr Who game as if he’d been public speaking since birth!

I took several photos during the afternoon, so rather than a whole load of text, I’ll tell the story in photos – hope you enjoy!.

(Click any photo to enlarge)

It was a lovely big room, there were even beanbags to sit on, and of course CoderDojo founder James Whelton was there :


Eugene McDonough (Hello World Foundation) was one of the main organisers along with Giustina (also Hello World Foundation) [Lindsay, I don’t seem to have a photo of you from today, please send me one to add in!] :


As everyone arrived, they set themselves up and got coding with no fuss (if you zoom in you can see Eric’s sticky label, all the Dun Laoghaire people will be familiar with my sticky name badges!) :


The girl in this picture here is Catrina Carrigan of CoderDojo DCU, who has developed a music website which is to be used in computing education in the UK! :


The beanbags can be seen here, with the Minister, Ciaran Cannon, talking to James Whelton in the background.  Also in the pic, towards the left, is Noel King of CoderDojo DCU.  Noel is the man behind the Coolest Project Awards. :


Lily-Ann and Sinead got settled in very quickly, and devised a really entertaining Harry Potter project (maybe you’ll show it off at one of our sessions in IADT girls?) :


Here are the pizzas just before the hordes got at them :


And a couple of minutes later! :


The location being what it was, there was some interesting furniture around.  Here’s “Queen” Mary-Anne on her “throne”, alongside her young nephew John, who visited for a short while and seemed especially pleased to be handed pizza! :


Philip Doyle of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire gives his dad, Phil, a run through of his project 😉  :


The Kilmartin lads work away, with mum Marie keeping a watchful eye :


As you can see, the place was humming, Eric & Luke Kilmartin towards the front of this photo :


Here’s the Dun Laoghaire coding contingent (Lily-Ann has the Harry Potter project showing on her laptop) :


Rebekah and myself are also in this photo with the Dun Laoghaire coders :


Here’s Sinead and Lily-Ann outside the Dáil :


Philip Doyle with his dad Phil :


Eric & Luke Kilmartin with mum Marie :


James Whelton & Ciaran Cannon have a little chat with the audience while Eugene sets up the next presenter :


I was delighted that my very good friend and CoderDojo supporter Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, who spoke at our launch night in January, was able to come along.  Here she is with Philip Doyle just before his turn :


Philip makes his presentation (Philip, maybe you might let us put the code for your game up here?!) with not a trace of nerves, totally wowing the audience with his Dalek game based on Dr Who.  (As for me, I’m almost welling up with pride!  I mean, how many 13 year olds get to present their computer project in Dáil Eireann?!) :


I insinuate myself into a position to get into a photo with Philip Doyle and Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD :



There’s a group shot taken of us outside – which Alan of CoderDojo DCU is going to send on to me (if anyone reading this has some other photos they would like added, please feel free to pass them on!) :



So back across the road to pick up our bits and pieces, and James Whelton hangs out on the beanbags with some of the gang :



And before we leave, I make sure to get a photo of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire hero, Philip Doyle, with CoderDojo founder James Whelton (and overhear James telling Philip he thought his game was really cool!) :


I don’t think the day could have finished on a higher note!


As I said at the beginning, a total blast of a day, enjoyed by everyone.  And thank you for reading this far –

I hope you enjoyed my recounting of the story of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire at #DailDojo 😉

Sandra Maguire, founder of CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire (based at IADT)


Kinect2Scratch comes to CoderDojo Dun Laoghaire

Stephen Howell, Computing lecturer with the Institute of Technology in Tallaght visited us on Wednesday 29 May to show how the Microsoft Kinect can be programmed with Scratch.  [Photos below].  It was a fascinating evening for everyone, including parents!

Kinect2Scratch was developed by Stephen Howell. It is available at

To get an idea of what Stephen does, have a look at any of these videos:

Kinect2Scratch at GAME : THE FUTURE OF PLAY

Scratch and Kinect

Stephen Howell — Teaching kids to program using Scratch and the Kinect

Here are a few photos from the evening, as you can see, it was very “hands on”!

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Scratch Session Material

Hi Everybody, here’s some of the material we used on the 17th, in Group 1 were doing Parallelism and Events and this coming week we hope to get started on the Pong Game, in Group 2 we were looking at debugging and I hope you managed to get started on the Maze Game which we should get well into this week. Hopefully we can show some of the results to each other by the end of the session. Don’t forget to upload your projects to the Scratch site (coderdojodl/welcome1)

For Group 1

CoderDojoDL_Scratch Session 3-Parallelism-Events

ScratchCardsAll-v1.4-PDF – useful cards and instructions about Scratch


For Group 2



Scratch Guide – Shark Attack Game

Just a note that we would like to finish up a little early so we can discuss what to cover in the next five week slot and maybe we can have a think about what we could do for the coolest projects competition just annouced by CoderDojo!

See you Wednesday!





DojoCon2013 at Slane Castle

Here’s a few words and a selection of photos from a really fantastic day in Slane Castle.

They’re a bit random, as I was so fascinated by the place I had to take some photos that there weren’t any people in!  It was slightly weird to be discussing technology in a place constructed in the 1700s – wonder what the people around then would have made of it all.  The day was filled with positivity, enthusiasm and creativity and I think will have a very beneficial effect on the future of CoderDojo.

Some of the many people of note were:

Una Fox (@unafox) – Una, originally from Louth, and now VP in Walt Disney Company Corporate Technology group, who was MC

James Whelton (@jwhelton) – Well, if I have to tell you who James is, maybe you need to go off and do a bit of research!!!

Jerry Kennelly (@jerrykennelly) – Inspirational Keynote speaker; founder and CEO of and co-founder of Endeavour, Young Entrepreneur Programme and Junior Entrepreneur Programme, formerly CEO of Stockbyte, Ireland’s Net Visionary 2011; you may have seen him on RTE’s “Local Heroes”.  He talked about the importance of volunteering; the need to be not just consumers, but creators; and that we are in the Golden Era of ICT globally. He said “Innovation comes from small dynamic teams”.

Bill Liao (@liaonet) – As with James, if you don’t know who Bill is, maybe you need to get on the internet more often 😉

Kimberly Bryant (@6gems) – Kimberly was utterly inspirational in telling her story about founding BlackGirlsCode to meet the needs of young women of colour who are under represented in the field of technology, and received a well-deserved standing ovation.

Lord Henry Mountcharles has always been a cool guy (how many Lords invite the best rock bands in the world to play in his garden?!), so CoderDojo is a very appropriate cause for him to support.  He entertained us all with a potted history of Slane Castle, and gave Una Fox a birthday/thank you present of a bottle of Slane Castle whiskey.

The sun was shining as we arrived and had coffee in the reception hall:

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Bill Liao arrives; Una Fox kicks off in the Gothic Ballroom beside a painting of an ancestor of Lord Henry:

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James Whelton welcomes everybody; Rebecca Garcia (@geekgirlweb) presenting at the “Girls Initiative” Running a Dojo talk:

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Karen O’Connell (@karenboconnell) presenting at the “Girls Initiative” Running a Dojo talk; and Liam Friel of @CoderDojoBray giving really useful information on the first six months of running a Dojo:

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Una Fox interviews Bill Liao, then we break for lunch and see this wonderful chandelier as we ascend the stairs (some Del and Rodney jokes were to be heard!):

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Another magnificent chandelier (imagine cleaning that!!)


And a couple of views out of the window:

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Back down to the reception hall:


The rain has arrived by now, but it’s still a great view (Hey, wouldn’t this be a great place for a rock concert?!):


And here’s an indoor view of the Gothic Ballroom with its magnificent ceiling:



Panel discussion took place on “Sustaining and Growing CoderDojo Worldwide” with Rebecca Garcia, Dennis Donohoe, Shara Karasic, Michelle Graham and Martine Tempels – moderated by Paul McClean:

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Then back into group sessions again, Lindsay is the one standing (sorry the picture is soft, he moved!), and you might recognise James in the picture on the right!:

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Bill Liao makes a point during Cameron McEfee of GitHub’s talk “Better Together”; Deardriu Lally is sitting alongside; then we’re back in the Gothic Ballroom for Lord Henry Mountcharles to say a few words, which he does, in his own inimitable way (bearing in mind the fire in 1991, I better not say anything about bringing the house down!)


Now we have the pleasure of hearing Kimberly Bryant speaking about Black Girls Code, and she has an amazing story to tell; Slane Castle hasn’t been so quiet all day, everyone is listening to every word.


And, for posterity, here is Francis Reid, Liam Friel and myself!