Introducing Coding

Introduction 

*Note: at the end of this web page/blog post, there is a step-by-step guide for teachers who may be overwhelmed by teaching coding.

Students learn to code:

I recommend starting with the easier lesson first, as it sets students up for success when starting the more difficult lesson. I normally just do these two courses as an introduction, before using other coding programs/technologies such as Scratch or Spheros.

Lesson 1 (easier): https://studio.code.org/s/course1/stage/4/puzzle/1

Lesson 2 (more difficult): https://studio.code.org/hoc/1

More detailed lesson sequence, for teachers who want to use more than two lessons:
I have put these in order (easier to harder) based on my own judgement.  Note: programs all start in a similar way, starting with revision.

Lesson 1: https://studio.code.org/s/course1/stage/4/puzzle/1

Lesson 2: https://studio.code.org/s/courseb-2018/stage/13/puzzle/2

Lesson 3: https://studio.code.org/hoc/1 

Lesson 4: https://studio.code.org/s/coursec-2018/stage/2/puzzle/1

Lesson 5: https://studio.code.org/s/coursed-2018/stage/2/puzzle/1

Lesson 6: https://studio.code.org/s/coursed-2018/stage/2/puzzle/1

Lesson 7: https://studio.code.org/s/coursee-2018/stage/2/puzzle/2

What is ‘good’ code? 

My experience is some students want to write lots of code, so they will create the longest path possible to solve a problem, such as in the code.org lessons above. I have found it useful to have a discussion about Santiago Gonalez’s opinion regarding what ‘good’ code is.

Santiago Gonzalez describes ‘beautiful’ or ‘good’ code as clear and concise.

 

What’s next? Combine STEM and coding. 

Provide lessons to develop students’ discipline knowledge in Science, Maths and Technology (coding or other technology skills), so they have the skills and knowledge needed to solve a problem.

Students then apply their knowledge in a STEM lesson using the engineering design process:

engineering process

The following two technologies (Scratch and Spheros) are good for further developing coding skills which can be used in a STEM context.

Option 1: Scratch https://scratch.mit.edu/

Scratch Educators’ Guide , with supporting resource scratch activity cards

Tutorials (for students and/or teachers): https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/editor/?tutorial=all

Scratch resources for teachers: https://scratch.mit.edu/educators/

Starting Scratch

Ask IT school support staff member to download the following program on all student computers, so students can save their creations. It is free to download from this website: https://scratch.mit.edu/download

Scratch Lesson 1: ‘Getting Started’ Scratch tutorial: 

Look at the tutorial on the interactive whiteboard as a class first, students can then attempt the tutorial independently.

  1. Click on the Scratch desktop icon.

scratch-desktop-for-mac-logo-icon

2. Click on ‘Tutorials’ on the top left corner

scratch 1

3. Click on ‘getting started’.

scratch 2

4. Follow the instructions in the tutorial.

Scratch Lesson 4 and more… Choose a different tutorial to help students develop skills

Look at the tutorial on the interactive whiteboard as a class first, students can then attempt the tutorial independently.

Scratch/STEM Assessment:
Use the engineering design process to create a digital product using Scratch.

Possible Assessment Criteria

  • Product meets the students’ purpose (eg. communicate, entertain, educate)
  • Creative, original product
  • Range of coding skills demonstrated
  • Use of clear and concise code

Option 2: Spheros

Click here for lesson ideas and resources for a unit on coding Spheros.

If your school doesn’t have Spheros, they can be borrowed (free) from this lending library in Australia: https://csermoocs.adelaide.edu.au/library/ . It took me at least 6 months on the waiting list.

*There are other technologies that support students to develop coding skills, however I recommend the above technologies.

 

Unplugged Coding Lessons

The lessons introduce students concepts such as binary numbers and algorithms, without needing access to a computer.

https://csunplugged.org/en/topics/

More STEM resources

How to get started with STEM

Inspirational ‘real-world’ STEM examples 

Examples of STEM units using the Engineering Design Process 

STEM unit plan example: 

Unit examples and engineering design process:

Technology lending library (Australia): https://csermoocs.adelaide.edu.au/library/

Live animal hire and biology science kits in Adelaide: https://www.nature.sa.edu.au/

 

Overwhelmed? Here is an easy step-by-step guide to teach computer coding: 

These steps are a simplified version of the information on this blog post.

Lesson 1
Show introduction video

Open this website: https://studio.code.org/s/course1/stage/4/puzzle/1. Do the first 2 puzzles together as a class on the interactive whiteboard.
Give students the same website, which they can do independently on a computer.

Lesson 2
Show video

Discuss what ‘good’ code is. Santiago Gonzalez describes ‘beautiful’ or ‘good’ code as clear and concise.

Open this website https://studio.code.org/hoc/1 on the interactive whiteboard and do the first two puzzles as a class. Give students the same website and they can do the puzzles independently on their own computer.

Lesson 3: Scratch Getting Started Tutorial

Before lesson: Ask IT school support person to download the following program on all student computers, so students can save their creations. It is free to download from this website: https://scratch.mit.edu/download

Go through the following steps on the interactive whiteboard as a class, then students can do so independently:

  1. Click on the Scratch desktop icon.

scratch-desktop-for-mac-logo-icon

2. Click on ‘Tutorials’ on the top left corner

scratch 1

3. Click on ‘getting started’.

scratch 2

4. Follow the instructions in the tutorial.

Lesson 4 and more… Choose a different tutorial to help students develop skills

Look at the tutorial on the interactive whiteboard as a class first, students can then attempt the tutorial independently.

Assessment:
What is the purpose of Scratch creations? (Possible answers: entertain, teach, communicate)

What need or problem can you address through creating your own, original Scratch creation? What product will you make? (game, story, animation)

In a given time frame, students use their coding skills to create a digital product.

Assessment Criteria

  • Creation/product meets the students’ purpose
  • Creative, original product
  • Range of coding skills demonstrated
  • Use of clear and concise code
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s