A guide to teaching Computing Science has been created by Computing At School Scotland and SICSA. It is a resource which outlines experiences and outcomes, benchmarks and significant aspects of learning that should be covered from early to second level. It can be printed and is available as a pdf here: http://teachcs.scot/
Fourteen teams from Midlothian’s mi:SPACE project came to Newbattle Community High School to participate in Midlothian’s VEX Challenge.
The Midlothian Challenge required teams to control and program robots that they had designed in school to carry out a series of tasks. All of our schools showed fantastic skill and team work when taking part in each challenge. Pupils worked together to problem solve, write computer code and perfect their robot design throughout the event.
Bonnyrigg PS won the programming challenge, Saint Luke’s won the controller challenge and Newtongrange won the design challenge.
The children also enjoyed experimenting with our new 360 degree RICOH THETA camera. The team photos can be viewed below.
Well done to all of those involved!
Stdavidsprimary #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
@neetongrangeps #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Testing out our new camera at our Midlothian VEX challenge competition day ? #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
@sacredheart_ps #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
@stratheskps #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
@mayfieldps #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
@stmarysrcps #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
@loanheadps #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
@standrewstweets #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
@stobhillps #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
@bonnyriggps #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Pupils were challenged at Moorfoot PS to create a code using MacroLab app which would show a sphero tracing a pentagon on the ground. For this activity, pupils had to work collaboratively to calculate the angles needed for the code. This is how they got on…
Drawing a pentagon with a sphero from Midlothian LTT on Vimeo.
Thanks to Nadia Kettles from Edinburgh’s Digital Learning Team, I have recently discovered free maths apps which are excellent. I will provide a screenshot below. Definitely worth a look.
Lots of teachers have been asking for lists of apps which can be used in the classroom that I have found useful. This is a tricky task as the app store is constantly adding more and more great apps that can be used across the school. Below I am going to provide a screenshot of the apps I use when teaching coding lessons. Below the screenshot I will provide a brief summary of each. The best news is….they are all free!
Swift – Swift Playgrounds is a new Apple app which teaches you to write Swift code in a fun, interactive way. It is heavily text based so your pupils would have to be able to read the instructions. It also comes with nice explanations about coding. I would recommend this app at the end of primary school into secondary and more so for pupils who have had experience with computer coding.
Tickle/Tynker – Both of these apps connect all of your devices together so you can code and program multiple devices from one iPad. By devices I am referring to Sphero, Dash and Dot, Drones and so on. It is very similar to Scratch which is block based coding.
Lightbot Hour: This app challenges pupils to program the Lightbot to light up all the blue squares. It allows children to problem solve and practice loops and sequences.
Bee-Bot – I have used this app with Primary 1 onwards to teach maths and programming. It is exactly the same as a real Beebot device. Stars are awarded based on the number of attempts needed to program the Beebot which children like.
Fix The Factory – This app is a puzzle game from Lego Mindstorms. It involves coding a humanoid robot to walk, rotate, grab, shoot and put misplaced battery packs at the NOGO factory back in their right place.
Pyonkee – Children can use visual blocks (similar to Scratch) to create original games, animations and stories on their own as well as using computational thinking skills and logic. I have used this after using Scratch.
Code School – I have used this more at Second Level to look closely at html coding but the app has been recently updated and now allows you to view screencasts on Ruby, Java Script, Python etc. This is a great resource for pupils ready for more challenge.
Run Marco – I recently found this app. It involves pupils coding Marco or Sophia through a series of levels. It is designed for 6 year olds and up and is block based visual coding.
Kodable – Children LOVE this one. A lovely furry ball that needs to collect coins. The children have to code the ball using directions and colour blocks. Lower primary and up!
Scratch Jr – Popular app used by schools to introduce coding. I have used this in Primary 1 to 7 to introduce coding. You can increase the level of challenge to extend coding skills. Teacher’s have noted that this is a great tool for literacy and IDL work.
Daisy the Dino – Very similar to Scratch except it is a dinosaur called Daisy instead.
Hopscotch – Great app to design and program games. There are excellent tutorial videos which you can play in the bottom corner of your screen as you are coding on your project. Children in my class last year created a surfer riding on waves made out of blue emojis!
Cargo-Bot – Harder than it looks. I struggle with the harder levels of this but some children in my class managed to get it. Great for computational thinking skills.
Sphero Education have created STEM challenges which can be completed by using Sphero. There are many ideas from schools across the world on Twitter and Pinterest but here are a few lesson plans available from their website which could be useful.
Challenge Documents: STEM1-2keb1cn
Bridge Building Challenge
Challenge Documents: STEM2-22jakud
Hydro Hypothesis Challenge
Challenge Documents: STEM3-1s5ympp
Maze Mayhem Challenge
Challenge Documents: STEM4-15g3uf4