The NCSS Challenge is an online programming competition for high school students and teachers, brought to you by the University of Sydney, and part of the National Computer Science School. Unlike most other competitions they don’t assume the students already know how to program. Instead, students learn programming concepts over the five weeks of the competition. Each week, they release a set of notes and resources for learning aspects of programming, including: variables and data types; if statements; while and for loops; algorithms; file I/O; functions; code reading and debugging; and code style and comments. The number and pace of the covered concepts varies between the four streams of the Challenge – meaning there is a genuine challenge available regardless of the student’s prior experience.
Last year the Challenge had over 6,000 students participating and this year they are aiming to have over 10,000 involved. It’s a great way to promote and encourage coding over five weeks.
This year the Challenge includes a Newbies stream using Blockly instead of Python and suitable for primary school kids.
For all the details see the NCSS Challenge 2014 webpage.