The Challenge is a programming competition for secondary school students. It’s been running in Australia for the last nine years, and this year it’s open to everyone.
The Challenge is unlike any other programming competition in that it’s more about teaching and learning than competing: “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.” And that’s one of the great things about the Challenge, it offers something for everyone from absolute beginners through to experienced coders.
The other distinctive features of the challenge are the entertaining problems set by the organizers and the innovative way it marks student’s solutions as they progress – which means minimal teacher intervention is required. While the Challenge is based around the Python programming language, it’s at least as much about learning how to problem-solve and think programmatically as it is about learning Python. So even if, like me, you have some qualms about Python as a language for students, it’s absolutely worth pursuing the Challenge.
The Challenge runs for five weeks starting on Monday 3rd August 2015 . For all the details see the NCSS Challenge website.