Emma Codes for Animals!
9-year-old Emma from Missouri loves animals–she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up and has based some of her games off of her beloved dog, Ginger. Her favorite subjects in school are art, reading and science; she feels that science is hands-on and intuitive. They also have time to code during “Maker Space,” which Emma loves! We were fortunate enough to chat with Emma and her mom, Megan, about Emma’s sources of inspiration and how she’s using coding to spread endangered animal awareness! Fun fact: Emma can recognize most dog breeds!
How did you get introduced to Tynker, and how long have you been coding? I’ve been coding since the 3rd grade, which is when we first used Tynker. In 4th grade, I found a couple Tynkerers that I’m really fond of!
How did you learn how to use Tynker when you were first starting out? I learned on my own. I would also look at other people’s projects, click the remix button, and then leave without actually touching anything: I would just look at the code.
How have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker? They’ve improved quite a bit. With Tynker, it’s very open, and you have a lot of choices of what to do and many combinations that you can make!
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? I was pretty happy. Kind of crazy to actually have people like your project. Another thing that’s really cool is that I started from scratch!
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? I like this one project I made a long time ago. It’s kind of fun to use; you make funny sound effects! It’s called Funny Sound Simulator 2000.
Where did you get the idea for “Ginger Dress-up”? I got the idea for “Ginger Dress-up” from a Wolf Dress-up project. I really like Ginger and I wanted her to be in one of my projects. I also like to draw, so it was fun trying to figure out how to draw something and how to fix it up so it could look pretty on her. I have 4 themes–“football,” “tennis,” “fancy,” and “winter”!
How do you get inspiration for your projects? Usually from other creators! And I like to communicate with other creators by putting up projects that talk to the creator.
Why do you like to code? I like to code because it’s a place where you can be creative. If you start from scratch, no project can be exactly the same. I also like coding because it’s fun to see what I can make!
Do you have a favorite code block? I really like the “add sound” code block and the “save” block! You can make all kinds of funny things with sound. You can add sound to funny stories, which is a way to communicate with the player. And say you were making a joke game, the game can interact with the player who’s playing it and make them laugh!
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? I usually check it. I sometimes show it to my little brother. He likes to play my projects; he asks me how to do things. I like to feel that he looks up to me and I like that I can help him learn how to code!
What are you planning to make next? I have a project that I’m in the middle of making. It’s “Get to Know Ginger.” There is a picture of Ginger and there are options below it. The first question that I ask is, What breed is Ginger? And there is a selection of answers. If you select the wrong answer, it tells you that you are incorrect. I’m thinking about different questions to ask about her.
What’s the best thing about Tynker? I like that in Tynker, you can really find out what other people are doing and you can show other people your stuff. You can communicate with others through your project and you can teach people things. Another project I published is called, “Help Tigers Now,” where there’s a tiger I drew on the screen and it will tell you why tigers are endangered and how you can help them. I said that users should copy this project so others will see it. I’ve been really passionate about endangered animals recently, and trying to save them. And tigers, I’ve just taken a liking to!
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? Coding also helps creativity, so that could help with being a vet. Say, you were at home or on break or something, and there’s an animal that’s really hurt that someone brings to you, you would have to find creative ways that you can help the animal, whether it’s sick or hurt.
Do you think other kids should try coding? Yes! I think that other kids should try coding because it can help expand your creativity. It can help people learn. Tynker is so open; you can do anything you want on it!
What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? I think I would say to visualize what you want to make and how you want to arrange the code blocks. I thought about making “Get to Know Ginger” for a while before I actually started it!
When we asked Emma’s mom, Megan, how she feels about what Emma is doing with code, she told us: “I think it’s wonderful; it’s a really great creative outlet for her. She has been coding on her school’s iPad, where she was first introduced to it. For a while I wasn’t aware that she was coding; I thought she was just playing a game. I was delighted to learn that it was much more educational and well-spent screen time!”
Megan supports Emma by giving her the time to code on her own and showing her excitement about Emma’s projects. “She’s very independent. She does a lot of the things on her own. I think a great way that I’m supportive of her is just sharing the joy of her creation! I think it’s helped her with focusing and helping her to stay on task. She has a very active mind, so honing on that focusing skill is a great thing!”
Megan also explained that learning to code helps Emma practice communicating with others using digital tools: “It’s a fun way for her to learn social interactions through media, since she’s too young to be doing social media platforms. She talks communicating with other coders.”
We want to thank Emma and Megan for taking the time to chat with us about Emma’s Tynker experience! We can’t wait to see what other projects this Featured Maker has in store. Happy coding!