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Tonight at Tampa Bay Startup Week: The Star Wars / Iron Yard Hour of Code!

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Tonight, as part of Tampa Bay Startup Week, Anitra and I will be helping the people from the coding school The Iron Yard Tampa Bay with their Hour of Code event! It’s an hour-long training session where kids ages 8 – 12 and teens ages 13 – 17 can get a quick, fun introduction to coding with the help of Rey and BB-8 from The Force Awakens and Princess Leia and R2-D2 from the original trilogy.

Here’s a quick video intro to what the Star Wars Hour of Code’s all about, courtesy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ producer Kathleen Kennedy and Rachel Rose, lead engineer for Star Wars’ animation and creature development team…

The programming interface that Hour of Code participants use is delightfully simple and fun. They drag and drop “blocks”, which represent calls to functions, to move the droid characters like BB-8 and R2-D2 around, arrange them into sequences which function as programs, and then click the “Run” button to see if their code worked.

It starts off with the simple task of moving BB-8 towards a single piece of scrap metal:

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Click the screenshot to see it at full size.

…but about a dozen lessons later, you’re writing considerably more complex stuff that includes concepts like variables, branches, and loops, and changing droid characters:

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Click the screenshot to see it at full size.

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If you can make it to tonight’s Hour of Code…

The event takes place tonight at Tampa Bay WaVE, 500 East Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 300 at 6:30 p.m.

If you’d like to have your kid or teen participate in tonight’s event, go to Tampa Bay Startup Week’s event schedule and sign up for the appropriate event. You’ll need to bring a fully-charged laptop (and it’ll be a good idea to bring its power cord) or tablet with working wifi and browser in order to work on the code. It can run Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, or Android — as long as it’s got a relatively recent browser and can connect wireless to the internet, it’ll work for this class.

If you can’t make it to tonight’s Hour of Code…

…you can still code your way through the galaxy by visiting’s Star Wars site! star wars

Have fun, and may The Source be with you!