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Coding over Donuts: We Can Code IT's Make your own Virtual Pet in Scratch workshop.

View the outcomes from our workshop, as well as our workbook, and sample project at

We told them, “You can take a break for donuts, now.” None of them stopped coding!

Our workshop was a great success! The girls learned a great deal in two short hours, and all of them successfully created their own working Virtual Pet game in Scratch!  We had many indicators of their success, including watching them successfully create pseudocode, implementing their scripts, remixing and adjusting the game to express themselves, and successfully debugging their code. Perhaps the biggest indicator of our success though was when they had 15 minutes of free time to either work on their programs, or grab donuts, none of them chose donuts over coding! At the end of the workshop, all of the girls were very excited to attend another Scratch workshop with us.

A total of 9 girls and one adult joined us for our first Create Your Own Virtual Pet workshop, held in Cleveland, Ohio on September 20th, 2014 from 10AM to noon.  We intentionally limited the number of registrations given that this was the first time we presented this workshop.

The girls ranged in ages from eight to twelve years old (mouse over pie chart for details). Along with them came several parents from a variety of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio suburbs, one of which participated, but all of whom listened in on the class.

None of the girls had previous experience in Scratch. Nearly half of them had been introduced to the concept of programming previously, in the form of an self-directed online tutorial they completed at school.

We provided the girls with our own Make Your Own Virtual Pet in Scratch Workbook,  computers, and 10 volunteers.  Our instructor, Mel McGee, was a role-model to our girls, having over 17 years of programming experience and a solid amount of experience teaching a variety of ages, from grade school through adult .

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Michelle Choi
Hi Mel,

Thanks for sharing this story and your resources from the workshop! I really like the workbook, especially the focus on debugging practices.

Mel McGee
You're very welcome, Michelle! I like to teach junior programmers how to learn to solve their own problems . . . debugging skills are a must. I believe that if kids are taught to debug well that they will be less frustrated with the process, and therefore more likely to continue programming.

FYI: We hold a minimum of one workshop per month for girls, and have gotten into the habit of reporting our outcomes and sharing! Our next workshop will be Oct. 18th, in Cleveland. Make Your Own Haunted House Adventure in Scratch

We'll share our workbook and outcomes here again.

We Can Code IT is a non-profit focusing on empowering girls and women in tech and engineering.
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Sandy Coleman
Love this project as an introdution.  I am running a Tinkering afterschool club and this is perfect, I will be creating virtual pets with my students tomorrow!  Thanks for sharing! 
Mel McGee
Wonderful, Sandy! Let us know how it turns out for you.