Ethan Expresses His Ideas with Code!
Ethan is eleven years old and lives in Wisconsin! When he’s not at school, Ethan likes to attend Boy Scouts activities, hike, participate in taekwondo, and play with his family’s pets–two guinea pigs, two dogs, and a toad! He also really likes insects, especially beetles, and is thinking about being either an entomologist or a game designer when he grows up. His likes science, math, and social studies; he enjoys learning about the world! We had the chance to chat with Ethan and his dad, Larry, to learn more about why Ethan loves to code!
How did you learn how to use Tynker when you were first starting out? I didn’t really use any tutorials; I just learned on my own and eventually got it.
How have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker? When I started using it, I only knew how to do basic things. Took me about a month to learn how to move things and stuff. Pretty recently I’ve learned how to use variables; then it became pretty easy.
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? “BuildANDBlowUp MOBS!”
Where do you get the idea for your favorite projects? For “BuildANDBlowUpMOBS!”: It was kind of based off Minecraft, but I added a lot of creatures just based on my imagination. I had to make a physics game to see how it would work. The first time I built my first one, it was really basic; I only added in the blocks and the TNT. That got a lot of hits, so I tried it again, this time with different things. It was really popular too, so then I kept adding onto it. For “Beetle Arcade battle”: I like watching beetles battle with each other. I find it really interesting. I tried to recreate it a couple times. It was kind of hard, but then finally I got it.
“Beetle Arcade battle”
Why do you like to code? I like using my ideas. I get to put them down and actually see how they look.
Do you have a favorite code block? I like variables; they really help. But I also like messing with physics too.
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? I usually publish it. Sometimes if it takes too long to make, I’ll put it on the shelf and work on it when I have nothing to do. I have about ten of those right now, just sitting, because either I’ve gotten to a wall with them or got bored of working on them and want to try something new.
What are you planning to make next? I’m not sure—I was working a little bit on a speed runner game, but that’s about it. With a character running across the road and trying to avoid holes and stuff.
What’s the best thing about Tynker? I like that there’s not too many limits, like other coding platforms. It’s easy to get started.
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? Maybe helping me to get a grasp on what being a coder’s like, and helping me express my ideas.
Do you think other kids should try coding? Yeah, I think if they like expressing their ideas and being creative, they should try it.
What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? Even though it’s hard, I think that they should keep going, because in a few months they can really grasp it and it’ll be really fun. They should just keep going with it and keep on trying.
We were so excited to hear about Ethan’s projects and why he enjoys coding! Ethan’s dad, Larry, helped us understand how learning to code has helped his son grow in confidence and develop other key skills: “Coding can be a frustrating experience. Sometimes it appears what he’s trying to do is glitchy; it works one time and then not again. If you don’t have patience, you’re not going to have much luck coding. He’s learning how to deal with adversity, how to do workarounds. Patience and discipline–we could all probably use more of those two qualities.”
Learning how to code engages Ethan in the creative process, as Larry told us: “He’s learning how to mesh his creativity with the gears and the logic of the coding. There’s one goal, but two different avenues you need to get there: you need to have the creative vision, and just the basic mechanics, of how to realize that creative vision on the screen so you can share it with other people.”
We were happy to hear about how coding’s something that Ethan is truly passionate about, as Larry discussed: “I think the biggest thing it’s brought him is confidence in his own abilities. Ethan’s been on sports teams before, but they didn’t really get him fired up. But this, the coding, has opened his mind to something, has lit a fire in him, has lit a spark in him, that I didn’t see with any of his ball sport endeavors.”
Thanks, Larry and Ethan, for sharing with us how coding has been an expressive medium and a confidence-building tool for Ethan. Good luck with your future coding projects, Ethan, and we can’t wait to see how learning to code will continue to benefit you now and going forward!