Because all students, sites, and volunteers are different, each Code Ignite program will take on a unique character. However, there are a few key tenets that guide our program. These ideas emphasize a positive, growth-focused approach toward problem solving that will help students succeed in learning to code, as well as in other academic and non-academic settings. 

1. When you're stuck, use problem-solving strategies

  • Use what you know. Think about what you already know - can you use this information figure out the answer.

  • Thoughtful trial and error. If you try something that doesn’t work, that’s okay! Use the information you learned from your error to craft a new attempt at a solution. However, make sure that you are not just guessing or using random blocks – problem-solving is about thinking, not guessing.

  • Consult your resources. Contrary to popular belief, computer programming is a collaborative activity. The classroom is full of other students and Code Ignite volunteers who can help. If you’ve given your best effort at solving the problem on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

2.  Take on a growth mindset

Especially when you're first learning a new skill, it's easy to become frustrated when you can’t solve a challenging problem. However, struggling through problems is an important part of the learning process. Even the best computer programmers can get stuck for hours on a difficult problem. Don't be afraid to talk with your peers and teachers about what specific challenges you are facing, and recognize that these speedbumps are what will ultimately make you a better programmer.

3. Fun comes first.

At the end of the day, we aren’t here to build fancy apps or prepare for a test: our primary goal is to have fun with computer science and explore the many career opportunities that the field affords. As long as you're trying your best and exhibiting a positive attitude, you're doing just fine.