The Challenging Classroom!

Nicky Ringland
Aug 5, 2019 · 4 min read

The NCSS Challenge is here again, which means you and your students can join thousands of others learning to solve problems with code!

Image for post
Image for post
Yes. This is exactly how excited you should be feeling right now

Over five weeks, your students will be Challenged (see what we did there? 😉) to solve problems with code. They’ll learn how to do so by working through our interactive notes, and if they have questions or get stuck, they can ask our friendly tutors for help!

There are lots of different streams for students of all experience levels, from coding first-timer to old hat. You can read more about which stream is right for your students here, and find out how each stream aligns to the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum. Students can swap between streams, or do more than one!

Image for post
Image for post
We have 4 streams: Newbies, Beginners (Blockly and Python), Intermediate and Advanced.

1. Assign your students

Image for post
Image for post
Select students on your Teacher Dashboard.
Image for post
Image for post
Click the Assign drop down box and select the stream you want them to do.
Image for post
Image for post
When the student next logs in, they will see the assigned stream at the top of their Launchpad.

This might be a handy time to mention that there are two versions of the Beginners Challenge, one in Blockly (block-based coding) and one in regular Python, so your students can work on the same problems, but allow for a bit of flexibility in prior experience.

2. Check how your students are going!

Image for post
Image for post
See your students’ progress in different courses. Green indicates questions that have been solved before the deadline, orange is attempted but not solved yet and blue is questions solved after the deadline.

3. Stickybeak on their tutor chats

Image for post
Image for post
Conversation between a student and tutor. You and the tutor can see the code a student has written, how many attempts they have made and if they have completed the previous problems.

4. Check out the Teacher’s Notes

Image for post
Image for post
You can find the teacher notes at the top of any problem.

5. Have a go yourself!

Remember, you can use our friendly tutor army too! And they’ll even be more generous with the hints and explanations — but only if you ask them to be!

6. Challenge in the Classroom

In the Newbies and Beginners streams, questions are paired. That is, the same concept is covered in two back to back questions. Some teachers like solving the first question together as a class, then having students answer the second question independently, while also letting any eager beavers continue ahead, or work through a higher stream.

7. How to assess the NCSS Challenge?

Another option is to assign some questions as ‘group work’ — which would work particularly well this year, if you have students participating in the Beginners stream, towards the end of the Challenge, you could get students to work together to solve some of the earlier Intermediate questions which are a bit more complicated, even if they don’t involve more concepts!

Have a tip on how you run the NCSS Challenge in your classroom? Share it on Twitter with the hashtag #NCSSChallenge and tag @groklearning and @auscompacademy

Grok Learning

Articles about coding by the team at Grok Learning &…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store