Showing posts with label teaching programming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teaching programming. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pi Day Programming Lessons

Tynker is a service that offers programming lessons for elementary school and middle school students. I published a full overview of the service a couple of days ago. You can read that overview here. For Pi Day Tynker is offering a free lesson plan in which students practice their programming skills by making art based on Pi.

Tynker's Pi Day lesson plan has students use Tynker's block programming interface (available to use in your web browser or on Tynker's iPad app) to create art and animations featuring the digits of Pi.

Applications for Education
Tynker's Pi Day lesson plan includes nine pages of step-by-step directions. Despite those detailed directions, if you have never done any programming with your students, I wouldn't make the Pi Day project your first attempt at programming with students. But if you and your students are already familiar with Tynker then the Pi Day lesson could be a fun one for you to use.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Introducing Programming to Elementary School Students

Earlier this week a reader emailed me with the following question:

How would you introduce / start coding with a Grade 2 and 3 class? Snap or Scratch?

My suggestion was to start with ScratchJr then move into Scratch. ScratchJr is available to use on iPads, on Android tablets, and on Chromebooks. ScratchJr uses the same drag and drop programming principles used in Scratch. On Scratch Jr students can program multimedia stories and games. Using ScratchJr is a great way for young students to learn the basic programming concepts that will allow them to later take advantage of all of the capabilities of Scratch.

Applications for Education
ScratchJr offers a series of nine progressively more challenging learning activities that you can do with your students. ScratchJr also provides a curriculum for using programming to reinforce literary and math standards.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Daisy the Dinosaur - A Visual Intro to Programming

Daisy the Dinosaur is a free iPad app designed to introduce young students to  some programming basics. The app asks students to create commands for Daisy the Dinosaur to carry out. There is a free play mode in which students can make Daisy do whatever they want. But to get started you might want to have students work through the beginner challenges mode.

Daisy the Dinosaur reminded me a bit of Google's Blockly demos in that students have to enter commands in the correct sequence in order to make Daisy complete tasks correctly.

Applications for Education
I learned about Daisy the Dinosaur from Terri Eichholz who wrote about using it with her nine year old daughter. I agree with Terri's assessment that Daisy the Dinosaur could be used with students as young as Kindergarten age. For older students Terri recommended another app, but you'll have to read her post to find out about that one (yes, that's a blatant tease for another person's awesome blog).

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Google Blockly - A Visual Programming Language

Thanks to Tweets by Doug Peterson and Jen Deyenberg, this morning I learned about a visual programming tool called Google Blockly. Google Blockly is a graphical tool for designing and testing simple web applications.

Google Blockly's interface reminds me a lot of the MIT App Inventor which is based on code originally released by Google. Google Blockly, like the MIT App Inventor, uses jigsaw pieces containing commands that you can snap together to create an application. The blocks can be dragged, dropped, and rearranged as many times as you like. Google has three working demonstrations of Blockly that you can try right now. There are not any instructions that go along with the demonstrations. One thing that I quickly figured out is that in the demonstrations you need to click on "maze," "control," and "logic" in order to find the jigsaw pieces that you need.
My incomplete maze on Google Blockly. 

Applications for Education
Google Blockly could be a good tool for students to use to play with logic commands in a relatively easy to understand environment. Blockly doesn't require any typing, just clicking, dragging, and dropping with a mouse or on a touch screen.

Blockly is not nearly as robust as something like Scratch or LOGO, but it could be a good introduction to using if-then logic to develop and solve problems.

If you're ambitious and you have the skills, you can grab the open source Blockly code and create your own demonstrations to use with students. Or better yet, have students use the code to develop demonstrations for each other.