You could feel the excitement building as the Kennedy-Longfellow School students participated in an Hour of Code Marathon. This ran the week of December 5th to the 11th for the 2016 Computer Science Education Week and has continued with additional coding opportunities for our coders.
All KLO classes were invited to the Kennedy-Longfellow’s Makerspace to participate in this worldwide event. The event was planned and hosted by Kathy Malone, KLO Instructional Technology Specialist and Amanda Kilton, KLO Art Teacher. Special thanks should be given to KLO teachers Mark Antonelli, Sarah Moore, Emma Thacker, Lisa Rosenberg, and Bonnie Steyer that volunteered their prep time to assist with activities.
“What is Code? Simply put, code is a tool that lets you write your story with technology. If you can code, you can communicate your ideas with a computer or a program so they can be brought to life in bigger, brighter, and more creative ways.” *
Students were asked “What is coding?” Many students gave specific examples while others made connections that coding/programming was like speaking another language. This sparked excitement as many of our students speak more than one language and they were excited to learn a new language.
Centers were set up in the Makerspace with challenges for the students to code using many resources some of which were KiBos, BeeBots, Scratch, Scratch Jr., BlocksCAD, and MadeW/Code.
While programming the BeeBots and KiBo robots, students worked collaboratively in groups initially building simple lines of code and began to develop more complex lines of code when challenged to do so. Some KiBos were programmed to dance and move to greet another KiBo. BeeBots were programmed to move to certain numbers, shapes, and colors, as students were able to identify their challenge target and code the route that their BeeBot should take to move reach their goal.
Scratch Jr. is an iPad app. Scratch is an online coding community. These 21st Century Skills resources allow students to reason systematically, be creative thinkers, as well as, work collaboratively. Students were challenged in Scratch Jr., to program their character, also know as a “Sprite”, to dribble a basketball across their virtual court. Once they figured out how to do this many students extended their lines of code to have their character throw the ball into the basket and move back across the court. Programmers were also able to program lines of code that had “Sprites” racing across their iPad screens, some programmed them to dance, talk, and make other movements. In Scratch, many students wrote lines of code that had their “Sprite” move and play music. Some programmed more complex lines of code to create songs while others coded special effects for their interactive games.
BlocksCAD was a terrific web-based 3D CAD tool that incorporates math concepts and programming that can be printed on a 3D printer. Many KLO students utilized BlocksCAD to experiment and build 3D objects. Students began with a basic challenge to build a 3D snowman. Then moved on to build many other objects.
Students had lots of fun programming by using the website MADE w/ CODE to create their own personal emojis. They also used the Music Mixer area using objects also called “sound shapes” (pentagon, square, hexagon), generators called “sound rings” and variable to program their own unique Electronic, Country, Acapella, HipHop, Rock, or Pop song.
This collaborative event also included Grade 5 buddies working with their Junior Kindergarten buddy class to develop lines of code to program robots like BeeBots and KiBos. These pairs also developed programs in Scratch Jr.
We hope that the excitement sparked by this event will carry across into the classroom as we continue to integrate coding into learning opportunities.
* Made with Code | About. (n.d.). Retrieved January 04, 2017, from https://www.madewithcode.com/about/