Coding competition open to young students

Bermuda’s young tech enthusiasts are being invited to compete in the island’s first National Coding Competition.

Darren Burchall, Head of ICT and Computer Sciences at Bermuda High School, is organising the competition which is open to all schoolchildren interested in coding.

The competition involves writing either an interactive video game, a website for a club or group, or an algorithm for a trip to the Ag Show.

All students, including those with little or no experience but an interest, are invited to a check-in and guidance session at BHS on November 25.

Participants must register for the competition by November 24 when they will be given competition forms to fill in.

There are three categories — Primary School, Middle School and Secondary School.

Primary students will use Scratch to create a game with at least four programmed sprites (moving elements), a score, and two or more changes of backdrops.

One of the backgrounds must be the “Game Over” screen and there must be guidelines for the game.

Middle school students will need to use HTML to create a website for a local sports club, church, school or community group.

The site must show “good use of house style”, have efficient navigation and include at least three pages.

It should also show evidence of using a table to lay out the pages, with CSS and JavaScript as an option to enhance the site.

Secondary students will use Python to create an algorithm for a scenario involving a school trip to the Ag Show.

For every ten students who sign up to the trip there would have to be a teacher and a minimum of 12 people signed up.

The algorithm must be able to take input from students and teachers, and produce a list of the names of children as well as the total cost of the trip and how much each student must pay.

Mr Burchall told The Royal Gazette: “This is a part of our plan and a promise to bridge the gap between public and private schools. We all know coding is a vital skill that enhances children’s computational thinking, creativity, collaboration and perseverance.

“The intention is to spark interest in children who haven’t started coding yet and to also give those who have already started to code an out to exhibit their skills on a national level.

“We have already had correspondence from England, China and Brazil, and we are expecting at least four international entries”.

Mr Burchall hopes the Bermuda competition will grow much bigger in the future and attract more entries from overseas coding students and enthusiasts.

All work for this year’s inaugural contest must be submitted online using Scratch and platforms and students will be required to create online accounts.

Students under 13 will need parents or teachers to create their accounts, but all work must be created by students only.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at BHS on December 11.