Coding

Teaching Coding in Primary Schools Unplugged

In an age where technology is omnipresent, equipping the younger generation with coding skills has become increasingly important. Teaching coding in primary schools is a growing trend, and it doesn’t always require computers. This might sound contradictory—how can you learn coding without a
computer? The answer lies in “unplugged” activities that teach computational thinking and the basics of algorithms without relying on technology.
Unplugged coding activities are particularly beneficial in primary education for several reasons. They emphasize problem-solving and logical thinking skills that are fundamental to computer programming but do so in a manner that is accessible and engaging for young learners. Through games, puzzles, and hands-on activities, students can grasp the conceptual underpinnings of coding without the added complexity of syntax and programming languages.
One popular unplugged activity involves using a simple set of instructions to navigate a maze. Students give each other directional commands to follow a path or sequence actions to achieve an objective. This provides a basic understanding of algorithms—a set of instructions designed to perform a specific task.
Another activity uses story sequences where students must arrange pictures or sentences into a logical order, mirroring the sequencing required in programming. They learn that order matters and that a clear sequence of events is necessary to achieve the desired outcome.
Pattern recognition is another key aspect of computational thinking introduced through unplugged coding activities. Identifying and predicting patterns are important skills when learning about loops—an essential concept where certain code sequences are repeated.
By replacing screens with tangible experiences, teachers can foster collaboration among students and ensure that learning is not limited to those with access to devices at home. Unplugged coding helps demystify computer science by stripping away the potentially intimidating technical aspects and focusing solely on the core principles.
Additionally, by starting unplugged, educators avoid the pitfall of children passively receiving information from a screen. Instead, these activities promote active learning through doing, discussing, and teaching others—dynamics essential for deep learning.
Integrating unplugged coding into primary school curricula prepares students for future digital literacy regardless of their socioeconomic background. It broadens access to foundational computer science concepts, ensuring every child has the opportunity to cultivate these crucial 21st-century skills from an early age.
In conclusion, teaching coding unplugged in primary schools has demonstrable benefits: it introduces children to computational thinking without requiring expensive hardware; it encourages effective collaboration; it promotes inclusivity; and it prepares students for a future that will surely be even more entwined with technology than our present day. By starting young and starting simply, we give children tools to not just navigate but also shape the digital world ahead.

 

Fun Activities to Teach Coding in Elementary School

In the age of technology, coding has become a vital skill not only for adults but also for children. Introducing coding in elementary school can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! With the right activities, children can learn the basics of coding and develop problem-solving skills while having a blast. Here are some fun activities to teach coding to young students:

1. Coding with Robots: Robotics kits designed for kids, like Bee-Bots or Ozobots, offer an engaging way for students to learn programming. Kids can give these robots simple commands to navigate mazes or complete tasks.

2. Scratch Programming: Scratch is a visual programming language that lets children create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. Its drag-and-drop interface is perfect for elementary-aged students.

3. Unplugged Activities: Even without computers, you can teach the principles of coding through games and puzzles like ‘Coding Simon Says’ or ‘Algorithm Treasure Hunts’ that introduce concepts like sequencing and logic.

4. Game-Based Learning Platforms: Websites like Code.org offer ‘Hour of Code’ activities where students play games to learn programming concepts. These platforms often feature familiar characters from Minecraft or Angry Birds to keep students engaged.

5. Make Your Own Video Game: Tools like Kodu Game Lab are designed for children to build their own video games in a 3D world by using simple visual programming.

6. Interactive Storybooks: Digital storybooks such as those provided by Cubetto combine storytelling with coding challenges, encouraging kids to solve problems as they follow along with the narrative.

7. Online Coding Challenges: For more advanced students, platforms like Tynker provide challenges and projects that allow them to delve deeper into coding and even explore languages like Python.

By incorporating these activities into the curriculum, teachers can make learning code accessible and enjoyable for their students, setting them up for success in a digital future.

13 Current Coding Apps for Kids 2019 3

In today’s digital age, coding has become a significant skill for children to learn. With the increase in demand for computer science expertise, numerous apps have been developed to make coding more accessible and enjoyable for kids. Here are thirteen current coding apps that stand out in 2019:

1.ScratchJr – An introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games.

2.Tynker – Offers self-paced online courses for children to learn coding at home, as well as an engaging programming curriculum for schools.

3.Code.org – A variety of fun and interactive lessons that cover the basics of coding, often featuring popular characters from movies and games to engage kids.

4.Kodable – Focused on children in the early stages of learning, it provides easy-to-understand lessons on programming concepts geared towards 4-10-year-olds.

5.Lightbot – A puzzle game based app that uses game mechanics applied to coding challenges to help children improve their problem-solving skills

6.Hopscotch – Allows kids to make games, stories, and animations which helps them learn the fundamentals of programming through a visual interface.

7.Code Combat – Uses a game-based approach to teach Python and JavaScript. As players progress through the levels, they write real code to control their characters.

8.Blockly – Google’s refinement of Scratch uses blocks that link together to make code easier to understand for beginners.

9.Daisy the Dinosaur – A basic drag-and-drop coding app designed specifically for young learners, with an animated character that keeps them interested.

10.Swift Playgrounds – Apple’s educational app that teaches Swift programming language in a fun and interactive way, with no previous coding knowledge required.

11.CodeMonkey – Aimed at middle school children, this app uses a coffee-script based curriculum where students write code to control an on-screen monkey.

12.Cargo-Bot – This game teaches kids how to program a robot to move cargo by creating simple instruction sequences using logic and foresight.

13.Bitsbox – Provides monthly projects that teach gradeschoolers how to build apps with real code which can then be played on real devices.

These apps not only make coding more approachable but also ensure that learning this valuable 21st-century skill is fun-filled and memorable for kids.

Holiday Code Cracker: Middle Years – Whole Class Holiday Game

As the holiday season approaches, teachers often look for interactive and educational games to engage students in a fun way. The “Holiday Code Cracker” game is tailored for middle-year students and designed to keep the entire class involved. This game challenges students’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills while infusing a festive spirit into the classroom.

The premise of the game is simple yet captivating: the class is presented with a series of puzzles, riddles, and codes that lead them on a quest to unveil a final holiday mystery. Each correct answer brings them closer to solving the ultimate holiday riddle. The Holiday Code Cracker can easily be adapted to any classroom size and can be modified to include educational content appropriate for the age group.

To set up the game, follow these steps:

1. Prep the Codes and Riddles: Create a list of age-appropriate riddles, puzzles, and codes that tie into various holiday themes. Ensure they are challenging but solvable with some thought and teamwork.

2. Arrange Your Classroom: Set up stations around the room or have one central location where students can gather to receive new clues after solving each puzzle.

3. Group Dynamics: Divide the class into smaller teams to promote collaboration. Teams will solve puzzles together and share their answers with you before moving on to the next challenge.

4. The Final Riddle: Once all preliminary puzzles are solved, present teams with a final riddle that unveils a hidden message or reveals a ‘treasure’ such as a holiday story, treat, or class reward.

5. Celebrate Together: After cracking all codes and riddles, bring everyone together to celebrate their success and discuss what they learned from the activity.

Not only does Holiday Code Cracker promote team-building skills and peer interaction, but it also allows students to practice literacy and numeracy skills in an engaging context. Seasonal decorations can enhance the atmosphere, making this game an anticipated annual tradition.

So why not turn your classroom into an adventure-filled wonderland this holiday season with the Holiday Code Cracker? It’s an excellent way for students to learn through play, celebrate accomplishments as a class, and ring in the festive season with cheer and laughter!

13 Current Coding Apps for Kids (2019)

The digital era has seen a proliferation of coding apps tailored for kids, steering them towards the fascinating world of technology and development. We’re in 2019, and coding isn’t just for computer whizzes anymore; it’s becoming an essential skill that can provide a competitive advantage for future careers. The following are 13 current coding apps designed with children in mind:

1. ScratchJr: An introductory programming language, ScratchJr allows younger children to create their own interactive stories and games by snapping together graphical programming blocks.

2. Tynker: Tynker offers self-paced online courses for children to learn coding at home, as well as an engaging programming curriculum for schools.

3. Code.org: Highly recognized due to the Hour of Code, Code.org features a variety of fun and interactive games that teach students the basic concepts of computer science.

4. Hopscotch: Aimed at kids aged 10 to 16, Hopscotch is a mobile app that lets kids program their own games and stories by dragging and dropping blocks.

5. Kodable: Starting with the very basics, Kodable progresses to cover topics like JavaScript and game design, suitable for kids from kindergarten through fifth grade.

6. Lightbot: Using puzzle gameplay, Lightbot playfully introduces learners to the concepts of algorithms, loops, and instruction sequencing without typing or text.

7. Blockly: A visual code editor that introduces block-based programming, Blockly includes puzzles that help learners understand coding fundamentals like variables and functions.

8. CodeSpark Academy: With its colorful and friendly design, this app teaches kids about computer science through interactive puzzles and games built around the ‘Foos’ characters.

9. Swift Playgrounds: An iPad app from Apple that teaches kids how to code in Swift through a fun and interactive interface filled with 3D experiences.

10. Cargo-Bot: A puzzle game where you teach a robot how to move boxes teaches problem-solving skills and basic programming concepts through gameplay.

11. CodeMonkey: It’s a game-based learning platform that teaches students (and also teachers) real programming languages through fun online games.

12. Robot Turtles: A tabletop board game turned app teaches young learners programming fundamentals by making them write programs with playing cards.

13. Daisy the Dinosaur: This free app lets children control a dinosaur with drag-and-drop commands aiming to teach the basics of logic flow in coding.

Sound Boxes (Elkonin Boxes) vs Word Shape Boxes

The journey of early literacy is filled with a plethora of techniques aimed at teaching children how to decode and spell words accurately. Two such methods are Sound Boxes (also known as Elkonin Boxes) and Word Shape Boxes, both employed to foster phonological awareness and orthographic skills in young readers. While they may appear similar at a glance, each has its unique applications and benefits within the classroom setting.

Sound boxes are a phonics tool used to break down words into their constituent sounds or phonemes. These boxes are usually drawn on a piece of paper or can be tangible containers where tokens or counters are placed by students for each sound they hear in a word. For instance, the word “cat” would be segmented into three separate sounds: /c/ /a/ /t/, with each sound correlating to a box. The visual representation through Elkonin boxes allows children to explicitly see the segmentation of individual sounds, facilitating an understanding of how letters combine to form words, which is essential for both reading and spelling.

The strength of sound boxes lies in their emphasis on phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words—which is critical for early literacy development. By breaking words into phonemes before matching these sounds to letters, children using Elkonin boxes learn the foundational skills necessary for decoding unfamiliar words and for accurate spelling.

On the other hand, Word Shape Boxes are based on the concept that every word creates a unique shape based on the ascenders and descenders of its letters. A word shape box exercise might involve having blank templates representing the overall shape of words, where students would write the target word trying to match its silhouette—tall boxes for letters like ‘l’ or ‘k’, short ones for ‘a’ or ‘e’, and descending boxes for ‘y’ or ‘p’. This helps children become familiar with the general form of words, which some educators propose can assist with word recognition and spelling by providing a visual cue that differentiates one word from another.

However, this approach has attracted criticism because it’s less reliant on phonemic awareness—a skill strongly correlated with successful reading acquisition—and may instead encourage more of a whole-word memorization technique. While word shape training could aid in quickly recalling sight words or establishing an initial sight vocabulary base for beginning readers, it may not comprehensively address the skills needed for decoding unknown words or aiding students who struggle with specific phonological deficits.

In conclusion, while Sound Boxes focus on cultivating an understanding of the auditory components of language through phonemic awareness activities, Word Shape Boxes lean more towards visual pattern recognition within written language acquisition. Sound Boxes are advantageous in systematically building decoding skills from the ground up by teaching letter-sound correspondence explicitly. Word Shape Boxes might offer an additional quick-recall strategy for common words but may need to be implemented alongside other methods that emphasize phonemic awareness. The choice between these two methodologies ultimately depends on the learning objectives set by educators and the specific literacy needs of their students.

Why You Don’t Need to Know “How” to Get Kids Coding

In today’s digital age, coding has become an invaluable skill for people of all ages to learn, and this includes children. There’s a burgeoning push to get kids involved in computer science and programming at a younger age, but many parents and educators hit a common roadblock – they don’t know how to code themselves. The good news is, you don’t need to be versed in the intricacies of software development to introduce kids to the concepts of coding.

The emphasis should not be on the “how” but rather on sparking interest and promoting understanding of the underlying principles. Many resources are designed with children in mind and are intended to make learning to code fun without needing any prior expertise from the adult facilitating the experience. Programs like Scratch, developed by MIT, use a visual interface that teaches coding concepts through the use of blocks rather than text. Kids can drag and drop these blocks to create their own games or animations, learning the logic of coding without writing a line of traditional code.

Furthermore, it’s important for kids to understand that coding is ultimately about problem-solving and logical reasoning. These skills can be nurtured in many ways outside of traditional coding exercises. For example, puzzles and certain board games that require strategic planning can indirectly promote the cognitive abilities that are fundamental to programming.

Educators can also rely on storytelling as a technique to teach computational thinking. Crafting stories where problems need to be solved can lead children to think algorithmically without them even realizing it – they begin to see patterns, make predictions about outcomes, and understand cause and effect.

Additionally, numerous schools and organizations offer programs specifically for teaching children how to code with no expertise required from those leading them. These programs provide step-by-step curriculums that allow instructors or parents to guide children even if they themselves have never coded before.

Lastly, fostering an environment where experimentation is encouraged can be beneficial. Children should feel comfortable making mistakes as this is a natural part of learning how to code. An environment that celebrates creativity and experimentation will ultimately cultivate an interest in technology and innovation.

Summarily, while knowing how might seem like an essential part of getting kids into coding, it’s much more critical to focus on ‘why’ and ‘what’ – why learning code is useful for them, what they can create with it – and let the endless resources available today handle the ‘how’. By empowering kids with curiosity and access to user-friendly tools for learning code, we open up a world of possibility where their creations are limited only by their imagination.

Robotic Orb Coding Challenge Task Cards

The Robotic Orb Coding Challenge Task Cards are an innovative and interactive tool designed to introduce students and enthusiasts to the world of coding and robotics. Through a series of engaging challenges, these task cards help learners understand the core concepts of programming and problem-solving in a tangible and hands-on way.

The Robotic Orb in question is typically a spherical device that can be programmed to navigate obstacles, follow patterns, or change colors based on user input. The task cards guide users through progressively complex coding scenarios, encouraging them to think critically and systematically while having fun with robotics.

Each task card comes with a clearly stated objective, step-by-step instructions, and expected outcomes. They cover a range of topics from basic movement commands to advanced sensor integration. Users may start with simple tasks such as programming the Robotic Orb to move in a straight line before advancing to more challenging endeavors like creating algorithms for light-based sensor navigation.

One of the key benefits of the Robotic Orb Coding Challenge Task Cards is their adaptability to various skill levels. For beginners, these cards can demystify the principles of coding through hands-on interaction. Intermediate users can refine their skills by experimenting with more complex instructions and tasks. Advanced coders can use the cards as a launchpad for developing intricate programs that push the boundaries of what their Robotic Orbs can do.

Educators find these task cards immensely useful for classroom settings as they offer a structured approach to teaching coding. Students are not only learning computational thinking but also gaining skills in teamwork, communication, and persistence as they work through each challenge.

As educational tools continue to evolve with technology, Robotic Orb Coding Challenge Task Cards stand out for their ability to merge learning with play. By giving learners physical feedback through the robotic orb’s actions, they make abstract coding concepts concrete and approachable, paving the way for the next generation of innovators in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

15 Coding Robots For Kids That Teach Coding The Fun Way

In today’s technology-driven world, learning to code has become a necessary skill for children. Fortunately, there are a variety of coding robots available that can help make coding fun and engaging for kids. In this article, we’ll introduce you to 15 amazing coding robots that will turn programming into an entertaining and stimulating pastime for your children.

1. Sphero SPRK+: This ball-shaped robot is waterproof, scratch-resistant, and easily programmable through the Sphero Edu app. It teaches the basics of coding while kids have fun controlling its movements.

2. Ozobot Evo: This tiny robot is compatible with both screen-based and paper-based programming. Children can use color codes or blocks to program Evo’s movements, making it perfect for various age groups.

3. LEGO Mindstorms EV3: LEGO’s robotics kit combines the classic building experience with programming, allowing children to design and build their robots while learning code.

4. Dash Robot: This animated robot teaches kids how to code in a visual language called Blockly. Dash responds to voice commands and can dance, sing, and navigate through obstacles.

5. mBot: mBot uses Scratch 2.0 as its programming environment, making it easy for children familiar with Scratch to learn coding. It comes with several sensors and motors which help teach advanced concepts like object detection and line-following.

6. Makeblock Codey Rocky: Designed for children aged six and older, Codey Rocky combines hardware with software learning via Scratch 3.0 or Python. It teaches coding through fun games incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

7. Botley The Coding Robot: A screen-free option suitable for kids aged five years and older, Botley is an excellent introduction to basic programming concepts like loops, sequences, and conditionals.

8. Fisher-Price Code ‘n Learn Kinderbot: Designed for preschoolers, the Kinderbot allows kids to learn coding fundamentals through engaging play and fun challenges.

9. Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit: This wand-inspired coding kit is perfect for fans of the Harry Potter series. Kids can program their wand to cast spells using Kano’s visual programming language.

10. Robolink Rokit Smart: Rokit Smart is a versatile robot kit designed for children who enjoy building and customizing their robots. It can be programmed using Blockly or Arduino programming environments.

11. VEX IQ Robotics Construction Kit: This advanced robotics kit is designed for middle and high school students, and focuses on STEM learning through building and programming robots to complete various activities and challenges.

12. Cubetto: Ideal for young kids (3-6 years old), Cubetto is a wooden robot that offers screen-free hands-on programming experience using colorful blocks representing instructions like “move forward,” “turn left,” and “turn right.”

13. KIBO Robot Kit: KIBO is a screen-free coding robot suitable for kids aged four to seven years old. Children can program it by arranging wooden blocks that represent different programming commands.

14. Wonder Workshop Cue: This interactive robot teaches kids Blockly and JavaScript coding languages, encouraging creativity alongside the development of fundamental coding skills.

15. Artie 3000: Perfect for children who enjoy drawing, Artie 3000 combines art with coding as kids program it to create drawings and designs on paper.

In conclusion, these 15 coding robots make learning this essential skill enjoyable for children of all ages, ensuring they will be prepared for the future while having a blast exploring the world of coding and robotics!

20 Fantastic Morse Code Activities

Morse code, the language of dots and dashes, has a rich history and is a fascinating method of communication. Despite its age, it still holds a unique charm and offers a variety of educational and recreational activities. Here are 20 fantastic Morse code activities for enthusiasts of all ages!

1.Morse Code Necklace: Create a stunning necklace using beads or knots to represent the different characters in Morse code, showcasing your favorite word or phrase.

2.Flashlight Morse Code Tag: Gather your friends for an exciting game in the dark by communicating using flashlights to send Morse code messages.

3.Decode Secret Messages: Write secret messages to each other in Morse code and challenge one another to decode them.

4.DIY Telegraph Key: Build your very own telegraph key using simple materials like cardboard and metal, then use it to practice sending Morse code.

5.Online Morse Code Simulators: Learn Morse code using interactive websites or mobile apps that allow you to practice sending and receiving messages.

6.Historical Reenactment: Learn about the prominent historical moments where Morse code played a crucial role, such as during wars or maritime disasters.

7.Sound-based Coding: Practice listening to audio recordings of different Morse code messages and deciphering them without any visual aid.

8.Hiking Trail Messages: Leave hidden messages on hiking trails using rocks or small labelled flags in Morse code for fellow hikers to find and decode.

9.Artwork with Dots and Dashes: Create visually striking artwork using dots and dashes to represent various aspects of the code.

10.Creating Music with Morse Code: Compose original songs by converting words from your lyrics into sound clips with their corresponding Morse code rhythm.

11.Geocaching: Join the world of geocaching, which often involves solving puzzles in Morse code to find hidden treasures across the globe.

12.Scavenger Hunts: Host a scavenger hunt where participants must decipher Morse code clues to locate hidden objects.

13.Snail Mail and Postcards: Keep the tradition of sending mail alive by exchanging letters or postcards written in Morse code with friends or pen pals.

14.SOS Bracelets: Craft fashionable bracelets with an important message by using beads or knots to spell out “SOS” in Morse code.

15.Instant Messaging with Morse Code: Challenge your friends to download a Morse code keyboard for their mobile phones and communicate through this unique method.

16.Balloon Pop Message: Write a secret message in Morse code on small pieces of paper, put them inside balloons, and have fun popping the balloons to reveal the surprise!

17.Shortwave Radio Club: Join a shortwave radio enthusiasts club and establish friendships with other Morse code aficionados around the world.

18.Light Painting Photography: Use long exposure photography techniques to capture beautiful light painting images of you or your friends spelling out words through dots and dashes in the air.

19.Create Morse Code AppState table>

20.Virtual Escape Rooms: Participate in virtual escape rooms that involve using Morse code to solve puzzles and unlock doors before time runs out.

With these engaging activities, you can explore the world of Morse code while developing new skills, making memories, and connecting with like-minded individuals who share your passion for this fascinating mode of communication. Happy dashing!