Featured Maker Sierra: Code-a-Thon Participant and Future YouTuber!
Our newest Featured Maker is Sierra, who participated in the Wild Minecraft Code-a-Thon! Sierra is twelve years old and loves to read—she’s currently reading the Red Queen fantasy series—and when she grows up, she wants to be a YouTuber or a writer! As a YouTuber, she would make reaction videos and play a lot of games for her viewers to see.
Some fun facts about Sierra are that she is a fun person and she speaks three languages: English, German, and Spanish! We had the opportunity to speak with Sierra and her dad, Brian, to learn more about Sierra’s participation in this year’s Code-a-Thon and why she enjoys coding!
What was your favorite Code-a-Thon project? My best one was the Desert Quiz, and I also enjoyed the Ocean Story. With the Ocean Story, basically I had it so it’s coded to talk to you. There’s music and there are creatures that when you tap on them they do a special thing. The whale floats up and it jumps and then goes back down and disappears. The turtle just goes down to the bottom, stays there for a second, moves straight up and disappears. And the manatee just makes a bunch of sounds and then moves to the side and disappears. Also when you tap anywhere else, it makes a water sound when you’re playing.
Why do you like to code? It gives me something to do. Free screen time! Also, I make a lot of games, like drawing games.
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? It’ll help me make Youtube videos better. Sometimes when I make videos I have a hard time piecing together things like the intro and the rest of it. I also have trouble editing. So if I figured out a little bit of coding I could maybe make an app that will help me do that.
Do you think other kids should try coding? It’s fun, but only if they want to.
What advice do you have for kids starting out with Tynker? It’s hard but it’s fun.
Brian, Sierra’s dad, thinks it’s valuable for Sierra to get exposure to a variety of computer science aspects, including hardware and programming: “We’re trying to make sure she gets a lot of different sides of it. She’s also got Kano’s coding wand, so she’s learning the motion sensor coding.”
Computational thinking is another key piece–one that Tynker helps foster: “She kind of hit on it when she was talking about making YouTube videos, the stringing thoughts together–this action leads to this action, which leads to this action. She’s seeing how things work and understanding how you can make them. At this level the way Tynker and Kano deliver it, kids don’t realize it, they think they’re just playing, making these simple, fun things.”
For Brian, the Wild Minecraft Code-a-Thon was a great way to keep Sierra intellectually engaged over the summer: “She was home for the summer, and I was trying to find something for her to do, that she could do on a daily basis, with the limited screen time that she has. And that was perfect.”
Learning to code has helped Sierra increase her confidence in her computer science abilities, as well: “Doing some of these things where they’re anonymous, like Tynker, or that coding camp when it was just girls doing it, that’s good for her, to help her confidence.”
Not only that, but her Minecraft-playing skills have also improved! “When she started seeing how it actually worked, doing it in Kano and in the Tynker app, and Mythicraft, I think her game-playing skills increased. I see what she’s doing now, and it’s really advanced. She wasn’t doing any of that before she started the coding.”
We’re proud of Sierra for participating in the Wild Minecraft Code-a-Thon this year! We can’t wait to see what she creates next in Tynker!