In Primary 3-7, learners at Saint Matthew’s Primary School discovered what an algorithm is. For this lesson I used resources from Barefoot Computing. After watching a short video and discussing algorithms we see everyday, learners followed my class algorithm to create a monster using a Whiteboard app. After the algorithm was complete, the learners shared their creations and discussed as a class why every monster was not the same. We discovered that when creating an algorithm, each step has to be clear and specific otherwise it wouldn’t work in they way we want it to.
I then introduced learners to a great resource, Hour of Code. This is a website that can be accessed at home or in school. Learners are not required to create accounts, unless it is necessary to keep an online record of work. Each tutorial available is designed for all ages in over 45 languages and contains teacher notes and resources.
Today, learners were instructed to use a self led tutorial, Minecraft Hour of Code to create algorithms which would allow them to design a game. This was very popular as many of the children play Minecraft at home and were interested in how games are created through block coding. Children who have English as their second language were also able to opt for their first language to work through each challenge independently. Each stage of the challenge had pre recorded videos of the creators of Minecraft explaining how games are made and how to complete the following challenge.
When I left the class, they were thoroughly engaged, remembered and understood what an algorithm is and were eager to test out new tutorials. A recent update is an Hour of Code for Moana, a recently released Disney film.
Next week between 5-11 of December, there is a global Hour of Code which learners can take part in. You can take part by visiting this link: Global Hour of Code .
No experience is needed and is recommended for ages 4 to 104.
As part of our Technology Experiences and Outcomes, all learners should have experience of “developing problem-solving strategies, navigation and co-ordination skills, as they play electronic games, remote control or programmable toys” TCH 0-09a/ TCH 1-09a.
Today at Saint Matthew’s Primary School, I delivered a lesson on giving instructions and positional language. Learners from Primary 1 to 3 discussed different places they can find instructions and what they are used for. They also played Simon Says to consolidate their understanding of the commands forward, backwards, right and left. From there, the children were asked to open the Beebot app and work through the game, programming the Beebot to move onto the flower.
The children had to use problem solving skills and collaborated with others to find the correct sequence of instructions to complete each level. At times this was tricky as they had to think about the direction the Beebot was facing and not the position they were in.
As groups worked on this independently and with teacher support. Small groups had a chance to give instructions to a physical robot, Dash. This was a great way to demonstrate to younger children the realistic outcomes of programming.
Join millions of teachers and pupils worldwide taking part in an Hour of Code between 5-11 December. As part of Computer Science Education Week, The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science.
Anyone can organise an Hour of Code event. No experience of coding is needed and is suitable for anyone between the ages of 4 to 104. For more information please click here
Today the LTT attended an exciting Apple Event in Edinburgh, ‘Everyone Can Code.’ Apple have created new apps which enable pupils from primary and secondary to learn how to code using ‘Swift’ language. This is a coding language Apple have created which is easy to use and is based on words we use in everyday language, making the experience simpler and pupil/teacher friendly.
The app ‘Swift Playgrounds’ is interactive, touch based, simple and fun to use and allows children to use text based code as well as developing skills across the curriculum. It comes with fantastic teacher resources which include 45 hours of lesson plans, accompanying film clips, keynotes, additional resources and online support. This will enable teachers with no prior coding experience to gain confidence and will also develop their understanding of coding alongside their pupils.
Best news of all – the apps and resources are free! All you need to get started is an iPad, the ‘Swift Playgrounds’ app and a class ready to get started on coding. For more information please visit Everyone Can Code
N.B. This resource is suited for Second Level and beyond
Meet Dash and Dot, robots that make learning to code fun. There are 5 free apps available from the apple store which provide learners the experience of simple to more technical programming. We now have a Dash and Dot available in our Loanbank. For extra information please contact the team.