Nigel and Jo Maloney▸ U2: Algorithms & Programming

Task 1: Visual Programming
"I've already tried using visual programming"

Option 2:
With F-2 in mind, I have taught a range of lessons using various visual programming tools. One in particular is using Beebots.

After teaching a number of lesson where students for to program the beebot in small groups around mats and tasks (some I made and some are univeral beebot mats) I found that some of them were having trouble debugging and setting their beebot back to the start when decomposing their code into smaller parts.

I set them a written task:
1. On grid paper, set a starting position.
2. Add obstacles (we used bear, spider, pond, rocks, trees) a bit like a map or obstacle course.
3. Colour a pathway/ route that you wish to take from start to finish.
4. In groups of 3, swap your path with one person in the group (make sure no one has their own work) and write or draw the algorithms/ code to match their pathway/ route.
5. Then swap again (not having own work) to check algorithm and debug if necessary.
6. Give work back to the original student.

We then followed with a discussion on who found bugs and how did you fix it and even shared students work. They amazed me because some of my more capable students coloured routes that consisted of making a decision to go left or right/ straight or turn one direction. They were fantastic!

In another lesson, we emulated these courses with our beebots and students made the obstacle cards to dodge around/ avoid with paper under the plastic mat while others just used unifix maths blocks to measure out the length the beebot moves in order to create the pathway for beebot to move and navigate the course.

It was so much fun! Unfortunately I do not have their work to post you an image. Feel free to ask any questions if you like!

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