Both our third and fourth grade students are in the thick of using Code Studio to learn about coding concepts such as sequences, events, variables and loops. Code Studio uses a game-based environment to teach coding and often uses popular games that are already familiar to our Lower School students. By engaging our students in games that teach coding concepts, we are increasing their level of attention and motivation to learn coding as well as deepen their understanding of how to program. Our students often work together in pair programming to solve the puzzles in the game, with particular emphasis on creating efficient and elegant programs.
Our third graders have been playing “Angry Birds” in Code Studio to familiarize themselves with Blockly, a block-based programming language that is similar to other coding apps such as Scratch, Scratch Jr. and Hopscotch. Block-based programming allows students to learn about coding concepts without having to worry about syntax, one of the major frustrations of learning most text-based coding languages.
Our fourth graders have been programming with Blockly within the context of another popular game called “Plants vs. Zombies”. Our students have learned to use the “Repeat” and “Repeat Until” loops, nested loops, as well as creating artwork by giving the computer more specific instructions using their understanding of pixels, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and angles in geometry.
In addition, our fourth grade students have been learning about prominent figures in computer history. So far, we have looked at the lives and contributions of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack (Apple Computers), Lady Ada Lovelace (first person to write a computer program), and Alan Turing (Universal Machine (digital computer) and cracking the Enigma code during WWII). Our study will continue with Hedy Lamarr (invented the technology used for wireless communications) and Grace Murray Hopper (coined the term “debugging”).