Coolest Projects North America: a guide for parents

Across North America and beyond, preparations are underway for this year’s inaugural Californian edition of the Coolest Projects showcase!

Coolest Projects North America takes place this Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 10am to 4pm PST at Discovery Cube Orange County in Santa Ana.

If you still need tickets for siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or friends, get them for free now, before the big day itself! More than 1000 people are expected to attend this innovation-filled event.

And over 100 young people will be showcasing projects that they have created at their local CoderDojo, Code Club, Raspberry Jams, and other groups: useful apps, personalised websites, interactive games, impressive hardware builds, and much more.

 

Top tips

Before the event:

  • Dress Ninjas in light layers of clothing: cool kids are happy kids.
  • It’s a good idea to bring some colouring books, colouring pens, sticker books, etc. to occupy younger Ninjas and their siblings during the judging phase.
  • Bring drinks and snacks for kids to dip into during the day. Santa Ana can get warm so having bottles of cool water to hand is awesome.
  • Make sure the participants you’re accompanying bring an offline version or video of their project in action to show judges, just in case something goes wrong at the very last minute.

During the event:

  • If your kids aren’t already involved in a coding club, let them get a taster of CoderDojo and Code Club at the hands-on activity stations running throughout the day.
  • Encourage your kids to look at and learn about other projects being showcased on the day.
  • Share your experiences of the day using #CoolestProjects on Twitter.
  • Oh, and don’t forget yourself! Check out the stands, listen to the talks, or even bring a book so you can sit back and relax while your child has a ball at this awesome event!

Making your way to Discovery Cube

Discovery Cube is located at the intersection of Main Street and the 5 freeway in the city of Santa Ana. Find directions to the venue, alternate transport options, and parking information on the venue’s Directions & Parking page.

 

Knowing a breakdown of the day, what to expect and what to bring is extremely helpful, especially if you plan on bringing younger siblings or extended family.

Timeline

8:00–10:00am Arriving at the venue & project set-up

Make your way into the venue through the green gate located just to the right of the Discovery entrance from the parking lot. The registration desks are open to Ninjas from 8:00am (until 9:30am). All project presenters (youths under 18) need to have a parent/guardian with them when registering. Once that’s done, Ninjas head to their reserved tables to set up their projects.

 

Check that the participants you’re accompanying also have their offline project versions (or a video of the project in action) ready to show judges. There will be a power outlet at their table as well as a specific WiFi network, but it’s always good to have a back-up plan, just in case!

9:45 Opening ceremony

By now your child has their project set up, so you can attend the opening ceremony to hear from Giustina Mizzoni, the Executive Director of the CoderDojo Foundation.

Doors will open to the public from 10:00am.

10:00am–1:00pm Project judging & lunch

The judges walk throughout the exhibition and ask Ninjas about their projects. As there are more than a hundred young people participating, the judging process can take some time. Ninjas should be at their stand for this duration.

 

To occupy younger children and their siblings during this phase, it’s useful to have some colouring books, colouring pens, sticker books, comics, or small games. And most importantly: there are hands-on Code Club and CoderDojo workshops running throughout the day for young people who aren’t presenting a project, or whose project has been judged already.

The Coolest Projects team will provide youth participants with a lunch at their project tables at 12:30. Last May, I also brought a bag with water and snacks for my kids to dip into throughout the day.

 

After 1pm, the judges will be deciding which projects should be highlighted in each category. This is the perfect opportunity for everyone in your party to check out the fun demonstrations and talks on the main stage!

1:00pm Greg Foot: Deep Ocean Lab

From 1pm, Ninjas can take it easy! Greg Foot, an amazing science presenter with tens of millions of YouTube views and multiple TV series on the BBC, takes you into his ‘Deep Ocean Lab’. Discover the deep sea with Greg as he shows you the high-tech submersibles that took him down an incredible 1000ft the ocean! You also get a chance to meet creatures he brought back from his adventures!

1:30–2:00pm David Garrett: Broadcom Engineer

David Garrett has been designing, coding, and building technology since he got his hands on a Commodore 128 computer as a child. He turned the love of coding into a career in engineering and is an Associate Technical Director & Distinguished Engineer at Broadcom.

David shares his personal stories and experiences of learning to create with code, and his inspiring advice for the young people taking part in the showcase.

3:00–4:00pm Awards ceremony

After Ninjas are called to take seats around the main stage, Greg Foot will lead everyone through a ceremony filled with plenty of fun, music, and games! As part of this, awards are presented to the Ninjas chosen by the judges for the most remarkable projects: they get to come on stage to receive their award and have their photo taken to remember this wonderful moment for a long, long time.

4:00pm Event closes

After an awesome day of making new friends and developing confidence in their tech abilities, the Ninjas will leave the event full of inspiration and ambition to start on their next project idea! Remember other exhibitions in the Discovery Cube will still be open until 5pm, so even after Coolest Projects you will have time to enjoy the rest of the science center and museum!

 

We are delighted to have the Broadcom Foundation, Canakit, and Blizzard Entertainment as the event sponsors — many thanks to them for their support.