GirlDevelopIt at Wellesley Code Academy

I will be teaching a new session of the Wellesley Code Academy, generously supported by the Wellesley Free Library, starting in October.

We are welcoming Middle School aged students this time, teaching basic HTML and CSS development and the basics of the way the internet works. We’ll be using the GirlDevelopIt curriculum in our 4-session series.

Here are links to the curriculum:

Class 1 — Introduction to HTML

Class 2 — Introduction to CSS

Class 3 — HTML, beyond the basics

Class 4 — CSS, layouts and formatting



User Kuler to create a color scheme for your webpage. The hexdex values (like this: #CCCCCC) are available to copy at the bottom of each color swatch.

Cheat sheets:

Web Programming




Class 4 notes

THank you to everyone who attended the Wellesley Code Academy. I learned a lot and I hope you did as well. In this last class we finished our ‘space shooter’ game (there must be a better name!). Full source code is on github:—Class4

as well as on Dropbox.

Congratulations to Cameron Friedman for winning the Indie license!

Note, our upcoming CoronaSDK meet up will be at the Cambridge Innovation Center on next Tuesday at 6:30. Come meet Sebastian Perez, a young entrepreneur who at age 15 already has 100K+ downloads in the app store!

Here’s the information:

Again, thanks, and happy coding!

Class 3 notes

Everybody did a ton of typing tonight! It’s a slog, but I can see that you are all picking up the syntax and catching your mistakes much more quickly. I see improvement!

Tonight we covered:

Event Listeners


The game design document  (GDD – sample is in Class3 folder)

Tonight we worked on an alien shooter game. The goal was to get the title screen and play button to transition to the game loop. We should now have two spritesheets (ship and enemy). The ship is stationary, shoots bullets at aliens who descend from the top of the screen. Each bullet hit to an enemy increments your score. Next week we will complete the game with full game loop (thanks, Anthony, for the debugging work!!) – plus a boss alien and with the addition of three lives for the spaceship.

All code is in Dropbox under Class 3. Your codebase should be the same as the Class3/SpaceShooter_instructor version.

Homework: Get your personal version of SpaceShooter to compile! You should be able to shoot aliens and have your score increment.

Extra homework: Create a GDD for a game you’d like to create.

Upcoming events: the drawing for the free Indie license, and the CoronaSDK meet up on 8/7 at 6:30 pm at the Cambridge Innovation Center. Let me know if you would like to come to meet Sebastian Perez, a young developer who has struck gold in the App store. He will be leading a roundtable discussion on monetization of your apps.

Class 2 notes

hi, everyone, thanks again for making class despite the downpour! Sorry to hear about power outages and impressed that you all made it in.

The two projects we worked on tonight were a sample to show three bricks hitting a stack of cans, and an airplane project to show a shooting setup.

The code is up on Dropbox and here on github:

Every registered student should be able to access the WCA codebase via a Dropbox share. Let me know if you need access.

What we covered tonight:

1. Corona’s physics engine: You can make projectiles of various weights, mass, and with various gravity settings to make them interact in fun and realistic ways. Corona uses Box2D as its physics engine, a very good basis for making projectile-based games.

2. Extending our code: The Airplanes project is an extension of what we covered in class 1: we faded an image out as a splash screen, then start a game loop after a button is clicked. Move the airplane to actually start the shooting!

3. Code organization: The Bricks and Cans project gives a good example of how you might organize a project in terms of folder structure, as does Airplanes. Keep your files in order by organizing your assets!

4. Some new lua objects: working with functions, lua tables (EVERYTHING in lua is pretty much a table) such as local bricks = {}, and a fancy nested loop (for…do…end).


Explore some more of the sample code in CoronaSDK. Try to combine the scoring in the Sample Code of the Eggbreaker game with the Bricks/Cans project and see if you can make your bricks hitting the cans set a score (maybe one point is awarded per collision?). Work on your local copy of the code, please, in your personal Dropbox account.

Next week we will work on a sample running game, so will look at how to create sprite sheets.

See you next time!

Class 1 notes

Thanks to everyone who came to our first class. Although I didn’t cover everything that I wanted to, we covered a lot! We discussed:

  • what Corona is, what Lua is, and the toolsets you need
  • printing statements in your output terminal
  • commenting your code
  • local vs. global scoped variables
  • forward-referencing your variables
  • printing out a variable value
  • writing a function and calling it
  • in that function, we created a background for our app and changed its color
  • also in that function, we placed an image
  • we animated that image so it would fade
The biggest lesson we learned…type carefully! Lua is EXTREMELY sensitive to mistakes and case problems. Watch your output terminal for clues as to your mistakes.

The code that I intended to cover (we did about half of it) is here:

this includes main.lua (your usual working file), an image, and the presentation that I started with.

Your codebase will be saved on the WCA dropbox folders. I will give everyone access to their folders shortly.


- Repeat the series of installs on your home computer (CoronaSDK, Dropbox, and SublimeText2 or some other editor. If you want to use your own computer in future classes, that’s fine, bring it in.

- Look at the codebase in the above github repo, run it and try to figure out what’s going on. The next step for us after animating the image is to add an eventlistener and a button using the widget api. We’ll cover that next week.

- Look through the Sample Code folders that are included in your CoronaSDK download. What kind of games are you interested in creating?

- We’ll start putting together the first bits of our shoot-em-up game next week.

Questions? Feedback? Let me know! and see you next week!

happy coding,



Get ready, junior devs! This summer, in collaboration with the Wellesley Free Library, Ansca Mobile, and Boston’s Corona Ambassador, Jen Looper, the town of Wellesley will be host to a series of seminars to teach kids how to design and develop cross-platform games using Corona SDK. We are happy to be able to offer four 1.5 hour seminars on weekday afternoons at the Library, free of charge. Let’s learn together!

Four Wednesday evenings in July/August from 5-6:30 pm:
7/11, 7/18, 7/25, 8/1

View the syllabus from the menu link.

Students should be ages 13-18 and either living in or going to school in Wellesley, MA.
Students should be able to touch type (good keyboarding skills are important).
Ideally, students should commit to all four seminars.
Students should come with a great attitude.

We will potentially showcase our summer work at the Bocoup loft in Boston in August during a Corona Meetup.

We only have 12 seats available so sign up now!

If you’re interested in Wellesley Code Academy, please fill out this form and we will be in touch.
[contact-form] [contact-field label="Name" type="name" required="true" /] [contact-field label="Age" type="select" required="true" options="13,14,15,16,17,18" /] [contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="true" /] [contact-field label="Comment" type="textarea" required="true" /] [/contact-form]