Counting down to the NCSS Challenge – learn to code while competing

NCSS challengeIt’s only six weeks until the NCSS Challenge kicks off.

I have to admit to being an ardent fan of the Challenge. I love the way they don’t just test the students but really teach them programming on the way. I also, as with all of Grok’s efforts, appreciate the wit they put into their Challenge activities. One of the problems I see in teaching Python to kids is that it is so heavily text-based that it can be difficult to make engaging – it’s for that reason that we’re now looking at using javascript in our kids’ programming groups. Grok, however, does a great job of finding engaging, and often funny, projects for the kids to work on.

If you haven’t come across it before, the NCSS Challenge is a programming competition that’s been running for secondary school students in Australia for the last 9 years:

The Challenge is unlike any other programming competition. We’ll teach you how to program as we go along, rather than expecting you to be an expert already. If you’re a seasoned coder, we have something for you too – the problems range from relatively simple to mind-bendingly hard.

For 5 weeks starting on Monday 4th August, 2014 and running until Sunday 7th September, 2014, we will release a set of notes containing the information you will need to complete the week’s programming challenges.

This year, Grok are introducing a new stream of the NCSS Challenge using Blockly, a visual programming language similar to Scratch. This stream will be perfect for primary school students and as a first introduction to programming.

For all the details on the NCSS Challenge including how to sign up students and schools see their wesbite.

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