Have you ever thought about creating a club that takes your interests in technology and turns them into fun activities you and your friends can all do together? If this sounds like you, then you are in the right place, because this blog will help you start a club for everyone to enjoy. Learn how to start a coding club at your middle or high school today!
Discover How to Start a Coding Club
Starting a coding club can be pretty easy if you choose to follow the guide below.
1. Figure Out the Club’s Goals
Figuring out the purpose of the club is important to keep members engaged and entice members to join. If you had a basketball club without playing games or making plays it would not be as fun, right? It is the same thing with a programming or STEM club! Here's how to plan out your goals:
Write your goals down
- Writing down multiple goals helps you to visualize what you would like to complete within your club.
- This is a great starting point to build off of and brainstorm.
- This will also remind you to stay motivated and follow through.
Create an action plan
- Deciding on the goals are easy, but putting them into action is the hardest part.
- An action plan should consist of the most important goals and the steps to follow it.
Action plan example (Creating a school website):
- Main Goal: Creating an updated school website.
- Secondary Goal: Make it become the official school website.
- Step 1: Plan the look and feel of of the website.
- Step 3: Plan the content of the website.
- Step 4: Program the website.Work on learning the basics of what mark up languages are needed.
- Step 5: Pitch it to the Principal.
- Be creative with the action plan.
- Studies have shown that writing your action plan using colored pencils or crayons activates your brain and cements the goals in your mind.
Create a timeline
- Creating a timeline helps to keep track of your progress.
- You should map your action plan to a timeline to keep track of milestones and deadlines.
- This timeline can be year long or semester long depending on how large the project is.
- Once you plan your timeline you can now take action.
- To keep things running smoothly make sure that every step taken leads to another step!
A good goal to start with would be to complete the Congressional App Challenge! This is a district-wide challenge that encourages middle and high school students to learn code(ran by the U.S. House of Representatives). An interesting and impactful goal will help sell your club to be approved!
Another interesting goal could be to have fun learning how to code, and designing your own project for social good. Meta’s Engineer for the Week (EFTW), designed by the Meta team for students ages 11-18, introduces learners to the power of STEM and provides a pathway for them to create real impact in their communities. The program includes 15 hours of fun learning and hands-on coding and game creation. Ask a club sponsor from your school to sign up as a facilitator, or get in touch with Create & Learn to join our live online EFTW classes.
Step 2: Plan When To Meet
Location: A meeting location is extremely important because you want to make sure it is accessible to everyone. Because this is a school based club you want to make sure you are meeting on school grounds. Not everyone will have access to the library by your house so you have to make sure that you do not stray far from the school(if at all). A great location for a club would be inside of a classroom or in the cafeteria.
Time: Because school is so busy you cant expect to be able to meet your club mates during school hours. You would have to choose dates and times when everyone is available. This will vary from club to club so ask around to the other members! Once you have plenty of members you can adjust the dates and times accordingly because availabilities may change.
3. Get School-Approval
High schools and middle schools require clubs to go through a vetting process before it becomes an official school-approved club. This process may vary from school to school, but it usually involves filling out a form or relaying information to teachers or administrators.
Once you know how to get your club approved make sure you push home your goals. It does not hurt to be proactive! To do this you can create a presentation, a letter, or just talking to them directly. Showing that your club has a plan or goal in mind, is organized, and is responsible will impact whether the club is approved or not.
4. Spread The Word
A club is no fun without members! Here are some ideas to get your club out there.
- Create posters and put them around your school. And make an eye-catching logo that can be used to promote your club. A helpful tutorial can be found here. If you are unsure where to start you can check out Create & Learn’s Graphic Design Class. This class uses Canva- a powerful and trendy graphic design platform with a simple interface (and creating an account is free)! You want to make sure your posters are interesting and colorful so graphic design would definitely be your best bet.
- Make a presentation about your club and ask to present or talk about it. You can present your ideas: At an after school program; at an Assembly; over the loud speaker; via a recording and request to post it on the school's website.
- Create official social media accounts(Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat).
- Host an official club event on school grounds to spread the word about your club. A perfect place to host this would to be at an open house. This way you can promote your club at the beginning of the school year. This would also bring in new members who have never went to your school before. You could also host a week long event at the school entrance before classes start. Here you can pass out flyers and spread the word about your club!
5. Activities Your Coding Club Can Do
Computer science is an extremely broad subject with many specialties and possible areas of focus. Before starting a project your club members might have to take certain courses on programming languages they do not know yet! Luckily there are some free coding class options available that can give them a bit of insight. Check these classes out as fun activities to do together:
- Python Intro: Python is a high-level coding language used by companies such as Netflix and Google, and it is also used for web development, game development, building apps, machine learning, and so much more. Studies have shown programming with Python to be one of the simplest and most popular coding languages when learning to code.
- Artificial Intelligence Intro: From R2-D2 in Star Wars to Transformers, artificial intelligence (AI) and robots have been fascinating for generations. Now AI is more pervasive than ever and is closer than ever to impacting many parts of our lives. With the latest developments in technology, AI and machine learning can now beat the highest ranking Go players, compose music, read medical images better than average doctors, and so much more.
- Intermediate Minecraft Modding Intro: Minecraft modding is an exciting and fun venture. This course is a great next step for people who have mastered Scratch and would like to continue to learn more advanced coding. Students will learn how to program games, stories, buildings, and anything else they want to make happen, and see it come alive in the Minecraft game.
- Advanced Scratch Intro: For club members who have no coding experience at all Scratch might be a good start. Studies have shown that middle school students who are new to coding do better by starting with blocked-based coding such as Scratch. This class introduces students to all of the key coding concepts, and prepares them for more advanced computer science courses.
Start a Coding Club Today
In this blog, you learned how to create a school-approved coding club! Up next, finalize your resume to land an after-school job.
If you want to get a jumpstart on programming check out our AP Computer Science Java class that will thoroughly prepare you for the AP CSA exams offered by College Board. If web building is more your speed check out our Build Your Web class that will introduce students to the inner workings of building web pages. All classes are led by an expert and designed by professionals from Google, MIT, and Stanford.
Written by Create & Learn instructor Gabrielle Cindric. Gabrielle is a Computer Science student by day and a STEM instructor by night. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games and hanging out with her poodle Bailey and cat Asphalt.