U2: Algorithms & Programming

I set up a Coding Club for year 2 & 3 Students. I found mixing the ages was successful for two reasons. Firstly they met and had the opportunity to talk to kids in other year levels. Secondly when we had problems and kids needed to do debug in Scratch Jr the kids really worked step by step with each other. This really helped them to understand the need to tell the computer exactly what you want, as it can not think for itself.  I modelled a few ideas, finished products then asked them to design a three screen picture story. Each page needed to have an object moving, talking ( speech bubble or recorded own voice) and a repeated animation.  The first session was very slow but as we moved through the weeks, kids bounced ideas of each other and problem solved. We would then share their creations on the Starboard for all to see giving feedback using three stars and an wish.  Three positive feedbacks on what children liked about the project and one child would give a suggestions I wish it could do this/change colour/use a real voice. Projects developed quickly. Scratch Jr is easy for young children to use and create something in a short time.

I have also used Bee Bots/Blue Bots for a Coding Club. I used a large piece of shade cloth and drew a maze on it. I had to come up with an idea for the entire twelve kids to be active. I had twelve starting points and foam donuts I could move.  Each child chose their starting point and then I placed the donuts around the maze.  Children then had time to program their Bee Bot/Blue Bot. The first child to reach a donut could keep it and the game continued.  This really made them home in on programming the devices exactly. It also showed me who needed support to understand the need to tell the device each step.

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