Coding, minecraft

#minecraft code club – day 4 #compile #FTW

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I remember talking about it with friends. I didn’t want to teach kids to use Scratch. Scratch was ok, but I wanted to teach them how to code in Java. Even more, I wanted to teach them what it was to compile code and what a Compiler was. People thought that the content would not resonate with Grade 4’s. And that was the polite comment. 🙂

So here I was in the third Minecraft Code Club session but I dearly wanted to cover compilation. How to do best do it though?

What I did was start a discussion with the kids about how we read books, but computers read hex codes. I actually showed them some hex dumps. I know, I know – could be considered a punishment, but I kept it brief. In a few of those wonderful hex dumps, they had the additional column to the right that translates the hex codes into readable text to help the humans. Most of the kids got it that the two types of text could hold the same information.

And then drew the analogy that a Compiler was just a computer program that translates our code in words into the computers hex code. I know it is a vast oversimplification, but it resounded with most of them and I saw nodding heads. Feeling the opportunity, I then referred back to our first class where we talked about working with Minecraft Plugins was like giving a needle to the Minecraft program! Compiling a program is the action of giving that needle to the program. That is how we do it. Again a vast oversimplification, but probably appropriate for this level of knowledge.

I waited and watched – there still seemed to be acceptance of that could be right. Not wanting to push it any further we went on to the exercise of spawning an Enderdragon by modifying some code and compiling the code on my machine while they watched. The spawning of the Enderdragon is the ultimate way to drive a point home. After that was done I was able to sit back and let them have some time to play with the plugins and go on a couple of quests.

The moment

Then the moment came that was so rewarding. I got called over to the table as the kids were trying to spawn an Enderdragon.

“Mr Bunio, can you show us again how to give our Minecraft a needle so we can spawn an Enderdragon???”

“Yes, I most certainly can…”

About Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio has worked for Protegra for 14+ years because of the professionalism, people, and culture. Terry started as a software developer and found his technical calling in Data Architecture. Terry has helped to create Enterprise Operational Data Stores and Data Warehouses for the Financial and Insurance industries. Along the way Terry discovered that he enjoys helping to build teams, grow client trust and encourage individual career growth, completing project deliverables, and helping to guide solutions. It seems that some people like to call that Project Management. As a practical Data Modeller and Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Data Modelling and Agile. Terry considers himself a born again agilist as Agile implemented according to the Lean Principles has made him once again enjoy Software Development and believe in what can be accomplished. Terry is a fan of Agile implemented according to the Lean Principles, the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, Operational Data Stores, 4th Normal Form, and asking why

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