Space Cadet – Astro Coding

Week 4, I can’t believe how fast it’s going, and to be honest, this week was the one I was most nervous about, to the point I completed the weeks tasks in case Elsa needed more input from me to help her.

I needn’t have worried, of course, children these days are so competent on computers aren’t they?

As normal, the girls watched the Space Shed video at the beginning of the week 🙂 these are a source of amusement, they just find Jon, so funny, with his biscuits and tea.


This week instead of being separated into Maths, English and Science, it was all Science and Computing.

Mission 4 Part 1

What is HTML and CSS?

Firstly, Elsa looked at the relevant cards relating to HTML and CSS and then looked at the differences.  She concluded that HTMLputs bits on the page like headers, lists, paragraphs, pictures and links‘ and CSSmakes it look prettier by changing the font, colour, size, position, putting borders on it, and adding background colours‘.

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Next we had to print out a safe webpage (we did our Space Weather page) and she had to decide which parts of it were HTML and which parts of it were CSS.

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Mission 4 Part 2

How can I write with HTML and CSS?

Elsa realised that there are certain codes used to add the various different types of HTML and they all needed < > around them and that to add CSS it needed { } around it.  She wrote it down, but really couldn’t wait to do the next part.


Mission 4 Part 3

How can I build a webpage for Tim Peake and edit it?

We created a CodePen account as suggested and were given the HTML and CSS to use to create Tim a webpage.  CodePen is great as you can see your edits as you make them which makes little people extremely happy.  First you see a boring black header, then after a bit of CSS you see an orange header in the middle of a blue bordered background.  🙂

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Tim’s Completed Webpage using HTML and CSS

Tim's webpage

After completing Tim’s webpage, Elsa decided that she would like to create an All About Me (her) page, which she thoroughly enjoyed doing as well as she could make it totally girly. 🙂

About Me

Elsa has worked really hard at this task and really enjoyed it.  She has completed it and been awarded with her badge.




Coding with Dad on the Dragon 32

In 1983, when I was around 10 years old, my father bought our family a Dragon 32 computer. These were the days when computers had ‘Made in England’ stamped on the bottom and became affordable enough and small enough to have in the home.

home school computer lesson ukWe are talking the era of the early ZX Spectrum, Atari 2600, that kind of thing. At that time, nobody outside of the military or science establishment (people like Sir Tim Berners-Lee) would have known what the internet was. In fact, it was probably still called ‘Interconnected Network’ or something.

These were real computers, where you had to write programs to get them to do anything, or at least buy a cassette tape that might have had a program or two on.

My parents were not well-off by any means, at the time I seem to recall it cost maybe £300 or so – based on averages wages at the time I would have said that is an equivalent spend of maybe £1200 today. A fair wedge for any working parent.

Cutting a long story very short, this computer was my companion throughout much of my childhood and is both the foundation of and trigger for my career in IT. Today I own and operate a small IT support business and I personally spend time writing software for my own and other businesses.

Home School Computing Lesson Dragon 32With my Home School hat on, the first point I want to make here is that I learned about computers in spite of the state school system and not as a result of it. Now we are home-schooling our children I find it very telling that the foundation of my career is based upon an investment that happened by my parents in our home and is most certainly not something that happened as a result of attending any school.

Another interesting fact is that, until I attended college, I was completely self-taught when it came to using and programming computers. Schools had neither the time, expertise nor the equipment necessary to teach me the skills I would eventually need to have a career in IT. This is more of an observation than a criticism, but over thirty years later I am reasonably sure this has changed very little.

And so, it is for these reasons, I fired up that 30 year old computer this week and started teaching my eldest little girl to program BASIC on the Dragon 32. I have to say she loved it, and so did I!