Michael Caldwell▸ U2: Algorithms & Programming


An activity I am going to try in my next 'STEM / CS' class. As a background; I am teaching them to use visual programming languages (year 6 group) so they can transition to using Arduino next semester (or later, if more appropriate). I think it could work with older groups, also. I am also going to try it with our transition group who are coming from year 6

Describe a set of instructions using voice to type technology for a character (to speed up getting the instructions on paper! But also, to make them think about and verbalise languages required for programming), separate the sentences into different instructions, create a flow chart (introduce using symbols), then figure out what functions would go with this algorithm (using Scratch, pencil code or preferred visual programming language), create in Scratch, check to see if it works. Pair programming would allow this to be even more efficient (or less, dependent upon your ability to work as a team!).

I always like to finish on a 'show us what's under the hood' activity where we all marvel at the code produced, the product and discuss possible improvements; my only rule is you must start the sentence with 'I see what you tried to do there, and I would try…' the AND is the most important part since BUT creates an automatic defensive response in most cases!

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